Tag Archives: Riverside

7(seven) and out. Bees keep flying as Blues and Eagles have wings clipped.

1 Oct

It was all about lucky number 7(seven) yesterday. Or not so lucky for some. Brentford finally laid that Middlesbrough hoodoo to rest, Birmingham City came oh-so close to being on the wrong end of a bracketing whilst as for Crystal Palace. Well… With Matthew Benham’s comments on Tuesday night about moaners still fresh in our ears, anybody not overly happy with the Bees may want to look towards Selhurst Park.

But we can only start at the Riverside where the Bees took a first ever Championship point off Middlesbrough after those well documented six, straight losses. Arguably, we could well have returned South with all three. Hats off to the 332 supporters who made the long shlep up to the Riverside. Oh to have had the opportunity to be amongst them. Instead, it was their social media updates, commentary and the Sky Sports scrolly thing for those all important goal scores.

What can you say? Wow. 2-2 and genuine disappointment not to have got the win seem to be the order of the day. Chris Mepham followed up his midweek appearance with a full 90 minutes alongside opening goal scorer Yoann Barbet. The common consensus was of another rock solid performance and a potential star in the making. If they’re good enough, they’re old enough (or whatever the phrase is). What could have been a baptism of fire has shown once more the talent pool bubbling away under the surface of the B-team. Get it wrong as we did against Norwich in the cup, and overloading a team with newbies can be a disaster. Do it right and we get a wonderful glimpse of the future.

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 08.48.22

A full league debut to remember for Chris

Twice Brentford took the lead. Twice Middlesbrough hauled it back to level things up. Ollie Watkins scored again, aswell as setting up the first. Yoann, Chris and captain (for the last quarter) Daniel Bentley were amongst those to later express their disappointment at not quite hanging on for the win. Perhaps, but just getting the psychological monkey of unbeatable Middlesbrough off the back can only be a wonderful thing. Putting in another performance that sees us creeping up the table with five points out of the last nine can only be a huge stride in the right direction for this season.

As ever, Sky Sports have the immediate highlights and you can catch them here. As ever, Mark Burridge will provide a much better flavour once the mid-day embargo is lifted.

Sadly, no comms but plenty of passion on pitch.

So great chances, great creation and more penalties denied. We certainly don’t get the run with the refs. Talking this morning to one terrace wag who had made the trip she noted, “I thought they looked better yesterday in terms of intention and actual likelihood to score. Rather than chances that aren’t chances.

The real challenge now is turning these performances into wins. There can’t be many amongst us who wouldn’t have taken five points if offered them at 2.59 last Saturday before we kicked off against Bolton. I would have. That win, followed by the draw with Derby and yesterday’s result all well and good. The one word of caution being that the Bees are very much the divisional draw specialists . Only Fulham and Bristol City (5) come close to our 6 from 11. Even looking further afield in the Football league we are still top of the draw table.

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 08.48.57

Yoann – thought we should have got more

Next up, International break. Hopefully a chance for Andreas, Sergi and Lasse to get back to fitness. A hope that the injury which saw Rico Henry leave the field of play early isn’t as bad as feared. Whilst Josh Clarke filled in ably at left back, Tom Field is now tied in at Bradford until Christmas. Could we be dipping back into that B-team once more?

And then, back to back home games. Visits from Millwall and Sunderland are, on paper, a chance for Brentford to further continue that climb up the table. Of locking down that Championship status for a fifth season. For all our improving form we are still just a point above Birmingham City who still reside in the basement zone. Turning form and performance into clear air will only be a good thing.

As for Birmingham, well we’ve had a bit more of an interest in them than normal on these pages in recent weeks. For obvious reasons. And yesterday saw their brave new world further hit the skids as Hull City put six goals past the hapless Blues defence. I won’t deny bristling with anticipation as, at 6-0 down, another goal was reported for the KC stadium. Sadly, it wasn’t the bracket busting 7(seven) for Hull but, instead, a proverbial consolation. But it does show what a difference GD could make with the Blues (-12) Burton (-17) and Bolton (-18) effectively another point behind the Bees (-2).

Will the Bees compete at this level for a fifth season? Could Birmingham avoid a slide into League One. Will Crystal Palace be joining us in the Championship next campaign? Should the Bees keep on heading up the table then we are likely to be joined by the Eagles. Despite a change of manager, yesterday’s 4-0 loss at Manchester United sees their Premier League record for the 2017/18 campaign read:

P7 W0 D0 L7 Goals For 0 Goals Against 17 GD -17.

A record of 0-0-7(seven) with no goals scored is the stuff of nightmares. And James Bond puns. Next up, a visit from Chelsea. Should the Eagles mange to make the net ripple, I can only assume it will be very much a Victor Tourjansky moment.

However bad Brentford fans think we may have it at times, there’s always somebody worse off.

And then some…

victor montage

And Palace have scored…. Victor Tourjansky does his thing

Nick Bruzon

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Hurt pride and injured team but no need to panic

16 Sep

Brentford fell to their fifth defeat against Middlesbrough in little over a calendar year, as a 3-1 reverse at the Riverside saw the Bees slip to fourth bottom in the table. On a night where injuries meant Marinus was unable to even field a full substitute’s bench (and those he did name included two goalkeepers) it was a result predicted by many but, actually, it was a game that sounded a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

Let’s be clear. I wasn’t amongst the 149 Brentford supporters who made that hellish journey on a Tuesday night. Middlesbrough is hard enough to get to from West London as it is, let alone for a game with a 7.45pm kick off that meant many of those who travelled only got in as the rest of us were starting to wake up.

Hats off to those who braved it. Twitter updates from the likes of Beesotted and BIAS very much helped supplement the dulcet tones of Billy Reeves on Beesplayer and the subsequent goal highlights on Sky Sports News.

Hats off to the hardy 149

Hats off to the hardy 149

From all these accounts it was an end-to-end game, with Brentford desperately unlucky not to make it 2-2. Lasse Vibe lifted a Marco Djuricin cross over the bar from yards out, immediately after Uruguayan international Christian Stuani had restored the home side’s lead. Likewise, Marinus used his post match interviews to note, “We created a lot of big chances”.

That said, all the possession in the world (according to the Beesplayer panel, Brentford are the divisional leaders for ball retention) and chances (4 on target per team) count for nothing if you can’t put them away. Ultimately, the only stat that really counts is balls in the back of the net and that’s where Middlesbrough, despite all our positivity, remained market leaders. As Marinus himself acknowledged, “the quality of their finishing was the difference.”

Injuries didn’t help, of course. The likes of Sam Saunders, Andy Gogia, James Tarkowski and Philipp Hofmann being added to the already lengthy sick list. Nobody on the bench had started a league game for the Bees before and, whilst the first XI that Marinus named gave a cracking account of themselves, there was nowhere else really to go when a change was needed.

No room for Marcos Tebar in the injured outfield side

No room for Marcos Tebar in the injured outfield side

It does beg the question of just how we have been so unfortunate on this front? Selling those key players was always a risk but moreso when those brought in to help replace them then get crocked. If this is nothing more than bad luck then I feel desperately sorry for Marinus. Every attempt to build a side seems to be spannered by factors outside of his, and our, control.

No excuses. You can’t deny a team who create, and take, their chances anything but the win so fairplay to Middlesbrough on that front. On the flipside, I’m not going to fall into the same panic mode that seems to be gripping many supporters just yet.

We’re only 6 games into the season and have already played the sides in 2nd, 3rd and 5th places. We’re a game behind the vast majority of our rivals, thanks to ‘pitchgate’ and now have a run of four home games out of the next five fixtures to try and consolidate.

We've already played several of the sides showing early form

We’ve already played several of the sides showing early form

Only when we reach the ten game point that (subject to postponements) comes at Derby in early October, will we have a true idea of what this season will bring. Who are the makeweights? Who is in with a chance of promotion? Who will be hoping for mid table security? Who is already plugging the likes of Scunthorpe United and Fleetwood Town into their tripometer for next year?

This campaign has a hell of a long way to run and, like last season, I’m predicting us to really get going come October/November time. The likes of Maxime Colin and Marco Djuricin are already looking like very decent acquisitions whilst the promise of Jota returning, and Josh McEachran starting, is one to look forward to.

Until then, roll on Saturday and Preston North End.

Nick Bruzon

Bees have nothing to lose and everything to gain at Middlesbrough

15 Sep

Brentford complete their mini-break away from West London, with the game against Middlesbrough following hot on the heels of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leeds United. But will it be a case of ‘Grim Up North’ or coming back home with some more positive news after last season’s footballing lesson at the hands of the Smoggies?

Brentford, of course, surprised most observers in reaching the Play-Offs last season. Those of us present saw a team punching well above their weight as household names and, so called, ‘big clubs’ were dispatched with all the ease of a supporter polishing off a balti pie i.e. easily. The Bees trounced the likes of Wolves, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United as we came dangerously close to emulating Bournemouth and reaching the Premiership.

But Middlesbrough were a different kettle of fish. Over four games, including the two-legged Play-Off semi, Brentford ended up on the wrong end of a 10-1 aggregate scoreline. Middlesbrough won all four games, including a 4-0 league victory at the Riverside that Mark Warburton would later say “wasn’t acceptable, especially after the break when we weren’t good enough”.

View from the terrace - Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

View from the terrace – Middlesbrough proved tough opponents last time out

For all that Warbs was a hero to many and did some wonderful things with his team, when it came to Middlesbrough we were most definitely second place. But can Marinus do any better?

Well, that was then and this is now. Whilst it is nice to recognise previous results when they go your way, they are nothing more than a statistical nicety used purely (and there’s nothing wrong with that) to remind the opposition of previous dominance.

But when it comes down to it, current form is the only thing of particular relevance. Whatever happened last season is done. Middlesbrough and Brentford find themselves both locked in the Championship hoping for another crack at promotion.

There wasn't much, beyond this, to smile about last season

There wasn’t much, beyond this, to smile about last season

Boro’ are in third place already, behind runaway leaders Brighton and Cardiff City (Hmmm. That’ll last). They’ve picked up 11 points from 6 games, including 3 wins. Interestingly, their solitary defeat was at home to Bristol City. That’ll be the same team Brentford recorded their first win of the season against, with the 4-1 hammering at Ashton Gate. Mind you, that was also our only win of the season as the other four games have seen two draws and two losses.

Nobody gives us a chance. Certainly, outside of TW8. But then that’s the way I like it. Even my online bookmaker (who I use purely for reference purposes), has the Bees as 9/2 to pick up all three points. It wasn’t going to be easy, let alone midweek when there’ll be only a handful of the super loyal present (at one point, it was touch and go as to whether a coach would even be running).

Full marks to them for making this most torturous of trips. Especially off the back of the weekend when we’d have been denied the luxury of being able to stay in the region. It’s been a while since the odds and situation have been so heavily stacked against us, yet the optimistic part of me thinks this could be the night. And simply because nobody gives us a prayer.

There’s nothing like home support, expecting a massacre, to get frustrated when it fails to materialise. And as we know, that can transmit to the players. I expect Marinus to have the defensive handbrake on full lock today and then look to catch Middlesbrough on the break.

Then again, that’s what most people expect. Could he shock us all and go for all out attack? Looking to create chances at Leeds United on Saturday certainly worked, even if we weren’t quite able to finish them all off.

Ultimately, I haven’t a clue. I’m just the numpty on the terrace but you can be sure I’ll be glued to Beesplayer this evening to follow all the action. It might not be pretty. It certainly won’t be easy. But after last season’s 4 defeats, could it be different?

At 7.45, we find out…..

Nick Bruzon

Leeds Untied as Brentford keep them at bay. Again

13 Sep

Happy with that? Brentford picked up another point at Leeds United in a game (1-1) they could, arguably, have emerged triumphant from. Mind you, whilst Marinus gave a post match interview with BBC Billy in which he praised the Bees and seemed disappointed by ‘only’ a draw, I’m sure Uwe Rösler would have felt the same. The former Brentford boss reflecting, “The last 25-30 minutes we battered them in a football sense and could have won the game.”

Uwe . Once a Bee, now at Leeds

Uwe . Once a Bee, now at Leeds

Well Uwe, you could have but you didn’t. And not for the first time. I saw an interesting stat on the BBC that noted Leeds United have only scored two goals against us in five matches, failing to win any of them in a run that stretches back to the 2009-10 season and League One.

Indeed, it is 7(seven) points out of a possible 9 in less than 12 months for the Bees, following our 2-0 win at Griffin Park in late September 2014 and the 1-0 triumph at Elland Road back in February. Not bad for a team that have been frequently referred to in the past, by certain elements of the opposition support, as some sort of tinpot outfit.

Our tinpot holds 11 points out of the last 15 against Leeds

Our tinpot holds 9 points out of the last 15 against Leeds

As ever, if you want the full match report then the BBC, Beesotted, the official site or Sky Sports (who also had first crack at the video highlights) are the places to go. Otherwise, the official site now has their own version up on YouTube. The ever wonderful Mark Burridge providing comms and excitement, with Mark Chapman the club’s deputy head of media and communications (rather than a shock transfer from 5live) on ‘sidekick’ duties.

Mark Burridge – could make paint drying sound exciting

What we do need to note here is that it’s the first time this season that Brentford have scored the opener rather than having to come from behind (as happened against Ipswich Town, Bristol City, Burnley and Reading).

Of course, this was no different to last season where we seemed to have a knack of conceding the first goal, rather than scoring it. The Bees had an identical record then before finally ending that hoodoo fifth time around, against Rotherham.

On Saturday, Marco Djuricin was the man to break the deadlock, scoring on his Brentford debut after great work and a delightful ball from Alan Judge. He almost made it two, denied only by the post after Lasse Vibe picked up a somewhat wayward clearance from Leeds ‘keeper Marco Silvestri. But it wasn’t just these two efforts.

After the somewhat lacklustre and shot shy performance on our previous away trip, to Burnley, this was a team who have remembered the way to goal. Even if they did only find it the once.

As for Leeds, their equaliser was one we have seen before. A clearance out from the goalkeeper combined with midfield faffery.

Debutant Ryan Woods, only on the pitch for two minutes, has taken full ownership, and had the finger pointed at him. Fair enough, it happens. That said, with a player bearing down on the new boy, was this really the best ball out to him from the goalkeeper? Or is the midfielder solely responsible?

Ryan Woods holds up his hands

Ryan Woods holds up his hands

I hate to sound critical. David Button is an absolutely a fantastic ‘keeper and I wouldn’t swap him for anybody in the division. Indeed, at just 26 could the national side still beckon? It’s just a tad frustrating given it’s not as though we haven’t been caught like this several times before.

This is small complaint though. And as has been noted, Leeds were only the width of a post away from similar at the other end. Instead, what I really take from this game is a goal conceded by an unfortunate mistake rather than players going awol or huge holes being carved through our defence. Likewise, a much more positive performance in front of the opposition goal.

Next for the Bees are a few days together up North before heading over to Middlesbrough for Tuesday night’s game at the Riverside. Nobody said Championship life would get any easier second time around. I’m just loving the fact we have the chance to really test ourselves.

Marinus has his new look squad together and learning more about themselves on – and off – the pitch. Fingers crossed we can pick up against Middlesbrough from where we left off here.

Nick Bruzon

Congratulations Middlesbrough as Bees bow out

15 May

Brentford bowed out of the play offs on Friday evening as a 3-0 win for Middlesbrough gave them a 5-1 aggregate victory. And before we go any further it is only right and proper to offer them congratulations on both their season so far and a blistering performance at the Riverside. Likewise, we should probably offer the very best of luck to whoever emerges triumphant from Saturday’s game between Norwich City and Ipswich Town. If Middlesbrough play like they did then we are in for one hell of a final on Monday week.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Fighting talk or over confidence in Play Off race?

14 May

How long has this week taken? It seems almost an age since Brentford went head to head with Middlesbrough in the first leg of the Championship play off. Since then, we’ve seen a draw in the other half of the tournament (Ipswich Town being held at Portman Road by Norwich City) and more goals than you could shake a stick at from the rest of the League. We’ve also had the pleasure of seeing QPR tumble into the Championship and Clem liken Matthew Benham’s HQ to Doctor Evil’s lair.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Talk to the hand - Boro' fan Clem had a strange analogy about  Matthew Benham's HQ

Talk to the hand – Boro’ fan Clem had a strange analogy about Matthew Benham’s HQ

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Can Matthew Benham prove Clem wrong? Dr Evil??

12 May

With Brentford and Middlesbrough preparing for the return leg of their Championship play off, I saw an interesting piece in The Times yesterday from Mark Clemmit aka Clem of BBC Football League show fame. A well known Middlesbrough fan himself, he used the column to give his own opinions on Matthew Benham’s commitment to the well documented statistical model he intends to implement at Brentford next season.

Regular readers will know of my admiration for Clem’s reporting technique and the somewhat light hearted approach to statistical analysis that had been undertaken in the weekly ‘Clemwatch’ feature. Long regarded as the harbinger of doom by football supporters, he only saw the team he selected for feature on that evening’s BBC show win 7 (seven) times all season.

Clem finished his season at Watford - who lost the title in the 90th minute

Clem finished his season at Watford – who lost the title in the 90th minute

It was, as such, somewhat ironic to see him casting his oar into the murky water of statistics in an attempt to analyse Matthew’s plans. Although not as ironic as the fact that he was reportedly at Griffin Park on Friday, overseeing the home team fail to record a win. Again. That said, I’m sure Clem would take it as his beloved Middlesbrough chalking up another victory, regardless of his presence.

Regardless, I’d certainly recommend you try and get hold of this article if possible. And if Mark Warburton is reading, certainly a nice one to add to his future CV. Whilst acknowledging the success, so far, of ‘the model’ for FC Midtjylland in Denmark, Clem certainly seemed to land on the side of the traditional managerial structure over key performance indicators and mathematical analysis.

Fairplay to Clem for trying to balance this out, although his description of Matthew’s Smartodds HQ as “A cross between a giant dealing room and (from the Austin Powers movies) Dr Evil’s underground lair” was one that put all sorts of confused imagery into my head. If for no other reason than who would have been Evil’s mini-me and who his number 2?

Is Matthew Benham's HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil's lair?

Talk to the hand. Is Matthew Benham’s HQ really reminiscent of Doctor Evil’s lair?

Ultimately, nobody knows how this is going to pan out. Mark Warburton could be making a huge mistake in walking away from, potentially, the most progressive move in English football since Jimmy Hill proposed ‘three points’ for a win. I can say one thing though, Warbs will be doing his level best to make sure that the model is road tested in the Premiership. He has shown the fans and the team nothing but the most impressive personal performance since the news broke and , I have no doubt, that will continue.

Friday night will see our biggest game, to date, in living memory. And if you wanted even more intrigue, I saw a statistic that said Middlesbrough haven’t lost an evening game at the Riverside in six years. I have no idea if that is true or urban legend but, regardless, nobody can doubt the calibre of the opposition.

Given how much this game is worth, I’m sure the jinx-conscious amongst us will hope that Clem is in attendance once again. Moreso that Matthew, Warbs and the team give him plenty more to think about.

As we saw in last night’s game between Swindon and Sheffield United, which finished 7(seven) – 6(so close) on aggregate, anything is possible in the play offs. On Friday night, we find out what happens in this one.

Forget platitudes. Now is the time for Premiership answers.

10 May

With Burnley now relegated from the Premiership and QPR sure to have followed them by the time most people are polishing off Sunday lunch, will it be a case of Brentford replacing them or being Championship stablemates next season? Well, the 1-1 draw between Norwich City and Ipswich Town on Saturday has made the play off winner no clearer although Middlesbrough remain the bookies’ favourites.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Sky viewers saw just how close Tommy Smith came to a late, late equaliser

Sky viewers saw just how close Tommy Smith came to a late, late equaliser

At times on Friday it was all Middlesbrough

At times on Friday it was all Middlesbrough

Supporters turned out well at the first leg. Comedy Frenchman and Chubby Brown amongst the best costumes

Supporters turned out well at the first leg. Sterotype Frenchman and Chubby Brown amongst the best costumes

Just 90 minutes from Wembley as Long mystery explained

9 May

And so the play offs begin with Middlesbrough taking the narrowest of leads from the first leg with a 2-1 victory over Brentford at Griffin Park last night. Pressing for the winner themselves at the end of an impressive second half, the Bees could feel especially hard done by after being stopped in their tracks by a late winner from Fulham loanee Fernando Amorebieta deep into Jota time.

To read the rest of this article, season 2014/15 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full. Containing additional material and even some (poor) editing, you can get it here for less than the cost of a Griffin Park matchday programme or Balti Pie.

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, I need to make more space on the site for any follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further on.

Boro' fans believe in their team and their,erm, farts???

Boro’ fans believe in their team and their,erm, farts???

View form the terrace - Jota prepares to launch another attack

View from the terrace – Jota prepares to launch another attack

Griffin Park under floodlights for the last time (this season?)

Griffin Park under floodlights for the last time (this season?)