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Sam, Scott and Sergi in a Field of dreams

1 May

Oh, where to begin? That was stunning. Saturday afternoon saw Brentford dispose of Fulham with what Sky Sports would later describe in their match report as “an emphatic 3-0 rout”. We had a special guest in the Bees Player commentary box  whilst Liverpool loanee Sergi Canos gave a big clue about his future.

Yet the scoreline and that narrative doesn’t even begin to tell half the story of a game played out in front of a 12,300 full house at Griffin Park.

Pre-match had seen Brentford fans in buoyant mood if not somewhat intrigued by head coach Dean Smith’s team selection. Robbed of Lasse Vibe, Jake Bidwell and Alan McCormack though injury, it really looked a patched up outfit. One held together by …gaffer tape, if you will?

Field? Who’s he? Is that a typo”, seemed to be the general consensus around the ground as we all wondered just who the new left back was. In fact (Tom) Field was no typo but a player plucked so deep from the development squad that he didn’t even feature on the back page of the match day programme.

But what a start! Well played that man. Despite the pressure of a first team debut Tom was magnificent. He looked composed, positive and it was he who instigated the first goal. With Fulham pressing he broke up the attack, turned it over and the ball eventually found itself to the demi-god that is Sam Saunders via Sergi Canos.

Sam made the finish look effortless. Moving through acres of space in the Fulham defence he timed it perfectly to run on to the Spaniard’s through ball and float a delightful first time lob over Bettinelli in the visitor’s goal.

Tom Field

Tom Field – a debut to remember

Just 5 or 7 (depending on how your watch is set…..) minutes on the clock and Brentford already a goal up. But if Griffin Park erupted for that one, it went bonkers just two minutes later as Scott Hogan doubled the lead after being put through by Kerschbaumer.

It wasn’t even ten past three and the Bees were already two up. This was just ludicrous. But it would get even better. That man Hogan, again, grabbing his second of the afternoon and Brentford’s third just before half-time. Direct from a corner. That’s not a typo either. A corner whipped in by hero of the hour Tom Field and volleyed home by Scott.

The crowd exploded. Peter Gilham lost it. In the best possible sense. “The scorer of Brentford’s third goal…Yoannnn Barbettttt !!!…. I think, ” and then after the briefest of pauses, “ No. It was Scott Hogan. Who cares !!!!

Bottles were launched at the celebrating striker. Fulham fans booed their own team. “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” was the cry. Three up at half time and surely this could only better.

Sadly for those wanting a fairy tale ending, head coach Dean Smith wisely opted to rest Hogan for the second half. Tom Field was also subbed early, leaving to a hero’s round of applause. Yet not as big as the one which Sam Saunders would eventually get.

Sam Saunders v Fulham (1)

View from the Braemar. Sam – a magnificent 7

The second period passed in somewhat of a blur. Sergi Canos had one nailed on shout for a penalty denied but, in the end, it was ‘only’ 3-0 when the referee called a halt to proceedings.

Brentford were simply magnificent . All of them. Andy Gogia, especially, impressed me whilst David Button pulled off a couple of great stops when the visitors eventually got through. Yet to overly single anybody out on this most wonderful of afternoons would be unfair.

Statistically speaking, Scott Hogan is going to present us with a conundrum at the season end. Even ‘official’ twitter were on form yesterday as they noted :

Scott Hogan recordAt this rate he’s averaging about 6 goals every 90 minutes of football. Now there’s reward for the faith Matthew Benham and Neil Greig’s medical team have shown. No pressure for next season 🙂

Brentford are 10th . We’re 14 points clear of a Fulham team against whom our record in the last two seasons reads.

Played: 4.  Won: 3.  Drawn: 1.  Lost: 0.  Goals For :11.  Goals Against: 4.  Points: 10.

Writing this on Sunday morning, I can’t wait for midday when the chance to watch the YouTube highlights presents itself. Mark Burridge was joined by Dave Morley and super fan Natalie Sawyer in the Bees Player commentary box where, I am in no doubt, things reached fever pitch.

Mark Burridge and Natalie Sawyer

Our commentator par-excellence was joined by Natalie.

As for Sergi Canos. Could we have seen his last game for the Bees? At least, at Griffin Park.

After the match he gave a strong hint that he’d be heading back to Liverpool, as he took to twitter where he thanked fans, saying:

Wow. That was incredible!! Last game for me in Griffin Park… Will always be in my heart. Thanks for everything. What a year has been for me…

Who knows what plans Dean and Matthew Benham have in regards to potential transfer targets over the summer, if any. Likewise, who knows where Jürgen Klopp sees the young Spaniard fitting in at Anfield. If he is deemed ready, of course.

Like Alex Pritchard before him, I think we’ve seen our time with Sergi but I’d love it if he was to return. That said, if his future is elsewhere then at least he has left us with this thought…

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Sergi nails it on Twitter

Sergi. I can’t top that.

If it really was your last game at Griffin Park then all we can say is: THANK YOU

Nick Bruzon

Bittersweet news for Alan Judge but how did we miss that?

15 Apr

How quickly have Brentford become accustomed to Championship life that a week without a Tuesday night fixture seems like a long one? Bristol City can’t visit soon enough as we’ll have had a whole 7(seven) days since that win at Ipswich Town.

It has been a week which has seen us with an awful lot to dwell on and no real news of any substance. Alan Judge is, of course, now out of hospital following surgery on the horrific injury he suffered at Portman Road – from where there has been pretty much radio silence despite the somewhat ‘controversial’ (that’s me being polite) comments made by Mick McCarthy after the game.

Maybe something has happened behind the scenes. Let’s hope so. The Judge himself has been putting a brave face on things in public, sharing that emotional message and then a follow up photograph when he left the hospital to return home.

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Alan shared this picture as he left hospital

Here’s hoping Alan has a quick recovery. Good wishes have been pouring in from supporters all week whilst it sounds as though he’s had a steady stream of visitors since the weekend. Amongst them, Dean Smith and many of the players.

Sam Saunders revealed on Twitter that he and Harlee Dean had been to check up on their team mate. Was there genuine regret at the fact that they’d “offered to bed wash him can’t believe he turned it down!“?  Dean, meanwhile, used his press conference yesterday to confirm he’d been to see the player at the weekend who was “obviously a bit down”.

An immediate reaction of the one described by Dean is only to be expected. It would be a sickening blow for anybody, let alone a player on such form and with the Euro’s beckoning.

Thinking about it though, the reaction to Sam’s suggestion is also to be expected. Certainly, if his bed wash technique is similar to his car wash technique…

Sam Saunders

Would you take a bed wash from this man?

On the plus side, if one can be taken from such a situation, there was positive news for Alan when his nomination for the Football League’s Championship player of the year award was announced yesterday. In a final 3 that also includes Fulham’s Ross McCormack and Andre Gray it is due reward for Alan’s wonderful season.

He’s the leading goal scorer for the Bees and has provided the  highest number of assists for any Championship club with  11.  Indeed, checking the stats yesterday he’s currently joint 7th overall goal scorer in the league with 14. Whilst one would expect him to slip down the ranks over the remaining weeks of a season that been brought to a premature end, it’s well worth marking that figure at this point to show just what a pivotal figure he has been for Brentford

Interestingly, Lasse Vibe’s recent hot streak has seen him storming up the blindside and he’s now only two behind the Judge in joint 12th place for the Championship’s overall top scorer. That puts him level with Jordan Rhodes at a fraction of the price. Let’s hope he can move clear against Bristol City on Saturday.

Prior to that game, don’t forget that Waterman’s Park hosts the Bees Fan Zone from midday. Featuring a whole host of free activities such as Urban Cage Soccer, Obstacle Challenge and FA Skills sessions (amongst others) there will also be visits from Buzz,Buzzette and some of the First Team Players.

This was a cracking event when it took place last season and sounds as though it will be similar this time around. Yet again, it showcases Brentford as a wonderful community club with a whole host of activities laid on for our younger fans. As ever, you can read more about the event on the club site.

And finally, issue 3 of Season Ticket holder news letter ‘The Buzz’ hit my email box yesterday. Containing the usual mix of recipes , interviews (Sergi Canos) and Dream XI (Lasse Vibe) it also has ‘Social Club’ – those social media highlights we may have missed.

Well, fair play to the club because I’d certainly missed this one. I’ve heard of ‘footballing royalty’ but this takes things to another next level…

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If ever the club were looking for a caption competition….