Tag Archives: Swindon Town

Bees don’t give a hoot about the Owls. Will Wolves have more bite?

31 Dec

Well there you go. What a way to finish the year. As comfortable a win as Brentford could have ever hoped to achieve, despite coming up against a Sheffield Wednesday team who had proven to be more than a thorn in the side at Griffin Park in days gone by. We’d not beaten the Owls at home since a 2010 League One encounter (Charlie MacDonald grabbing the only goal of the game in that one). But a 2-0 Championship win saw that statistical relic consigned to the dinosaur’s graveyard. It really was THAT much a cruise control performance as one could hope to see.

As ever, ‘official’, Beesotted or the BBC are your places for the full fat match reports. Which is no bad thing, given any Wednesday fans still here are likely to get more joy reading a tale from the Brothers Grimm rather than any looking at any in depth analysis.

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A cheap set up for brackets

Looking on from the sidelines, it was a game that was never in doubt from the moment Lasse Vibe made it 1-0 on the 20 minute mark. Picking up the ball from Nico Yennaris, he fired home from just inside the box to send the Bees on their way. Dean Smith would later admit that, “We didn’t find our fluidity for the first 20 minutes but once we got the goal we moved up a level.” He’s spot on. From that point, there was only one team in it. The points were as good as ours. Or should have been.

However, complacency is the mother of all f*ck ups and lord knows we’ve had our issues throwing away leads this season. But not this time.

With Wednesday offering little, the Bees continued to press. Sergi Canos in particular coming close with one marvellous effort from distance which was the highlight of an otherwise quieter game for the ever popular Spaniard. Eventually, it was Flo Jo who doubled the lead with a quite marvellous finish from a Maupay through ball. 2-0 up, 7(seven) minutes to go and not even Brentford could mess this one.  Surely? We didn’t.

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The Bees kept going for goal until the end

Next up, a trip to Wolves on Tuesday night. The Molineux outfit are an incredible ten points clear at the top of the table following their own last gasp win at Bristol City yesterday. It’s effectively 11 if you factor in goal difference. Could that huge gap play into our hands? Might suspension (captain Danny Batth being sent off at Ashton Gate) and changes after that tough Christmas break play into our hands? Or will it be a case of pedal to the metal for the runaway leaders?

Dean Smith has his own decisions to make.  Chris Mepham had another wonderful game. The apparent ease with which he has adjusted to Championship life making a mockery of his relative inexperience at this level. He looks as in control and comfortable as his senior partner, the World Cup’s Andreas Bjelland.  Here’s hoping Dean Continues to show faith in the Welsh U-21.

Nico Yennaris once more looked totally at ease in the right back berth. Although Henrik Dalsgaard is still on club shop duty as he recovers from injury, Josh Clarke is now fit again. He found himself alongside Alan Judge on the bench for yesterday’s game and so might hope to start. But then who makes way in the middle for Nico? Josh McEachran being the obvious candidate, positionally, yet his own distribution in the first half was as controlled and calm as one could hope to see.

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Next stop, the bench.

Then there’s Lasse Vibe. You can’t put a price on goals and he’s scoring them for fun at present. The brace against Norwich City was followed up by one against Villa and then his latest yesterday (one which you can see on the Sky highlights, available now). Long may we be able to hang on to the great Dane – especially on this kind of form.

Alternatively, feast your eyes on the action c/o Mark Burridge and the official highlights, now up.

A great way to end the year.

Yet with the transfer window about to creak open, he’s one of several candidates that Brentford fans will no doubt spend the next month sweating on. There’s always some pain to get in the way of our enjoyment. But that’s football. Should anything happen off field over the coming weeks, in or out, then if there’s one thing we’ve all learned by now it’s that Dean Smith and his team keep on going – whoever is in the starting XI.

Still, all that’s to come. If at all. For now, let’s just enjoy our third win on the spin. Let’s enjoy Brentford ending the year in tenth place in the table and (say it quietly) just four points outside of the play-off zone. Can we push on? Will we hold station? Is it going to be an FA Cup run this year following the damp squib of our surrender to Chelsea last season?

That game against Wolves and then Saturday’s cup tie with Notts County could well prove to be of huge consequence.

And I can’t wait ! Roll on 2018.

Sergi Sheff Wed

Sergi – could be key over the coming weeks

Nick Bruzon

 

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KFC or KC? Could ‘that hashtag’ come out of cold storage?

26 Apr

Brentford visit Hull City AFC tonight, hoping to continue a great run of form that sees the Bees unbeaten this month and, with 5 wins out of 6, closing in on Birmingham City in 9th position. Whilst I don’t want to overly dwell on the ghost of hashtags past, could 2014’s much maligned #Novemberkings raise it’s head once more?

Looking back over this campaign and the previous two seasons, the Bees have only lost  3 times out of 19 in April. 2013/14 saw us go down 1-0 at Swindon Town and then 4-1 to Colchester United after promotion had been assured. Last season saw a solitary defeat  with the Bees losing 0-1 at Sheffield Wednesday as we closed in on the play-offs.

That’s 16 games unbeaten. Earning point(s) tonight would take our record to 17 wins or draws out of 20 over the last three Aprils. With it, a possible manager of the month for Dean Smith and could there be a new hashtag for Brentford ‘official’ on twitter? Might there be a new contender for #Novemberkings crown as one out three most awful pieces of social media. (actually, as a general rule of thumb see any piece of ‘comedy’ social media for awful).

Well, as ever, there’s only two places to follow the action ‘live’. For those hardy enough to make the trip to the North East on a school night, the KC stadium and undiscovered delights of Hull Marina await. Hats off to those travelling. Seriously. Any thoughts about a trip to this new stadium were crushed pretty much as soon as the fixture computer dealt us a midweek hand. Shame.

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Hull Marina

For those staying at home, its Bees Player. Mark Burridge is our man at the helm, I believe assisted by Ciaran Brett and match day programme editor Mark Chapman.

Our commentator par-excellence (Burridge) was the butt of many jokes about his own ‘jinx’ factor recently. The April run began the moment he, temporarily, hung up his mic for a three game absence owing to his own time at the Augusta Masters golf (watching rather than competing).

Thankfully, his return to the commentary hot seat has seen the Bees continue their upward surge. Mark has had the pleasure of guiding us through 2 wins and a draw. What better man to have at the helm with the Bees aiming to make it 7(seven) unbeaten.

That said, if not Mark then there has to be some other factor involved in our current run. Beyond Dean and the players, I mean.

Well, let’s just say that a supporter who we’ll simply call ‘Dan’ to protect his anonymity (too obvious. How about Mr. S?) has been taking a well timed April break in Korea. And as ‘Dan’ has been out of the UK, the Bees have climbed the table.

Nothing to do with Lasse and his goals. Nothing to do with the team being rejigged. Nothing to do with Dean pulling it all together or Scott Hogan’s return . We all know football is jinx driven… 🙂

‘Dan’ you may not be able to enjoy the Bees in action but your sacrifice is appreciated. You stick to the KFC Tabasco chicken and we’ll stick to keeping things going at the KC.

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Korean deliciousness coinciding with the Bees unbeaten run

Nick Bruzon

Can Sam make it three-in-a-row on Boxing Day?

26 Dec

Boxing Day and Sam Saunders. Two things that seem inextricably linked and for good reason. With Brighton visiting Griffin Park today, the last two seasons have seen this fixture, and Sam in particular, provide some contrasting memories. Games against Ipswich Town (2014) and Swindon Town (2013) have seen the popular wing wizard shine (and that’s not the tan) as each encounter saw the Bees with a chance to top the league.

Sam Saunders black kit

Sam – back in black and better than ever

And today we have a similar scenario. Whilst most of the nation are rolled out on their sofas recovering from the excesses of the 25th , 12,000 of us will be in Griffin Park to see if Brentford can beat Brighton and, should other results fall correctly, reach the play off zone. At present, of course, we’re only two points off sixth place.

That latter requirement, ‘other results’, would also require the somewhat distasteful prospect of a QPR victory – over Ipswich Town at Portman Road. I can’t imagine many in this part of West London could, in all conscience, cheer for that. At least not at this stage of the season.

So instead, let’s just focus on ourselves. Dean Smith has picked up two wins from two at Griffin Park since taking over as Head Coach. More importantly, the manner of victory – with 6 goals scored (and 10 in his 4 games in charge) is what has impressed. That said, even he was talking about cutting things out at the other end. And no moreso will this be a requirement than against a side smarting from their first defeat of the season on Saturday.

Middlesbrough, of course, secured top spot in the Championship after hitting 3 past the Seagulls without reply. And with Boro’ having a 14 point lead over Brentford, the top of the table will, for once, something we can’t aspire to – at least on Boxing Day. But that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for some more Saunders’ magic.

The same fixture last year saw us lose 4-2 to Ipswich Town, conceding after 19 just seconds and going 3 down at HT before it finished 4-2 to the visitors. The only silver lining was the late substitute’s appearance from Sam.

He made it 3-1 within five minutes of coming off the bench and halved the deficit at the end, practically stealing the ball off the toes of the dithering Nick Proschwitz to stab it home from close range as the ref signalled injury time.

But it was Boxing Day 2013  against Swindon that saw a moment of quality from Sam that still has us smiling. The infamous ‘fall over’ routine – below

Did Sam mean it? Swindon Town 2013

To score a free kick of that quality was impressive enough but having gone flat of his face beforehand, even moreso.

Too much fake tan making the boots slippery? Old man’s legs giving up? (he remains the Methuselah of the squad – although not to look at, I am told, or see run around – what energy). Might it just have been an elaborate training ground routine, along the likes of the Gary Blissett ‘fake hissy fit’ (season 92/93) in an attempt to confuse the opposition?

As I wrote at the time, “Well, if the later, then give that man an Oscar. It was a display of football acting that’s not been seen since Luis Figo’s ‘Just for Men’ advert. And if an accident, then a massive pat on the back for composing himself at a time that the Bees were under a spot of pressure”.

I did talk to Sam at the end of the season and know the answer although don’t want to kill the magic of the mystery by revealing it. For all I know, it may well by common knowledge, anyway.

Instead, I’ve got my fingers crossed for three years in a row. Sam Saunders scoring on Boxing Day is one seasonal tradition us Brentford fans could definitely embrace.

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Figo – unsurpassed acting skills

Nick Bruzon

Is this really the end of the line for Dougie ?

22 Jul

Is the Brentford beard club going to lose its most famous member? In a move akin to Stevie G departing Liverpool, TW8 reacted to reports that Jonathan Douglas seems to have been declared surplus to requirements for the coming season and can leave the club. This, despite having a year left on his contract. And over in Gibraltar, local Champions Lincoln Red Imps hosted Matthew Benham’s other team, FC Midtjylland, for the second leg of their Champions League second qualifying round.

But first, Dougie. A seemingly nailed on selection under Mark Warburton, his time at Brentford looks as though it has come to an end.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

Forget Rangers rumours. Matthew Benham’s announcements are all that count

20 Jun

With no Championship action for almost two months, it really is desperate stuff out there in terms of genuine news as the rumour mill goes into overdrive. If you believe the papers then Brentford are set to lose Alfie Mawson and Stuart Dallas to Mark Warburton at Rangers, James Tarkowski is attracting Fulham whilst the Andre Gray/QPR stories are still lurking. Then there’s the prospect of Brentford bolstering their ranks with the addition of centre back Yoann Barbet from outfit, Chamois Niortais.

I even saw one last night that claimed we are on the hunt for Swindon Town winger Nathan Byrne. BBC Radio Wiltshire suggesting that the winger and former Bee could be on his way to Griffin Park over the summer.

Hogwash, the lot of it. Probably. Which manager isn’t linked to his former players? It’s hardly the stuff of Roger Cook style investigative reporting to connect the two and so not surprising to see any number of Brentford players linked with Rangers.

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

A tale of two Sams as next season takes shape

24 May

Brentford find out over the next few days who out of Newcastle United and Hull City; Swindon Town and Preston North End; Middlesbrough and Norwich City will be joining us in the Championship. But before we even get on to those there can only be one place to start – Wycombe Wanderers, at Wembley, in the League 2 play off final.

Specifically the two Sams – Wood and Saunders. We all know about the huge contingent of former and current bees at Wycombe but these two, along with Marcus Bean, have been heroes to many of us in recent seasons. So to see Sam Saunders forced to leave the pitch after the game began, quicker than you could say “And this is Saunders territory” was heart breaking stuff.

He has been my favourite Bees’ player for years and I was gutted to see him go out on loan earlier this year. Moreso, because it was a time when the team might really have benefitted from the option of somebody with enthusiasm, impetus and ability.

However, with hopes of Toumani style resurgence, there was also the thought that a good run with Wycombe would see him back at Griffin Park bigger and better than ever before. Instead, his play off final lasted what was initially declared as under a minute and then down graded from 6 to 2 seconds after Will Atkinson inflicted a calf injury on our man immediately after kick off.

A day that had started so brightly for Sam Saunders ended in heartache

Sam’s twitter feed shows a day that  had started so brightly ended in heartache

Never have I seen such an outpouring of sympathy on social media for one player – and as much from Brentford fans and top brass. Sam’s likeability has been proven, yet again, and who knows if this could be the catalyst that sees him break back into our own setup next season. Here’s hoping.

As for Sam Wood, he has the mantle of seeing his decisive spot kick saved in the shootout by Southend ‘keeper Daniel Bentley. Like Sam Saunders, I was gutted to see him leave Brentford back in 2012 after four seasons but, to be fair, he has continued his great form. One of the nicest guys in football, he came back (with Marcus) for last season’s ‘legends’ game and proved to be as popular as ever.

Sam Wood, Marcus Bean and Glenn Poole at the previous 'Legends' game

Sam Wood, Marcus Bean and Glenn Poole at the previous ‘Legends’ game

So heart was in mouth as he stepped up with the scores locked at 7-6 and, despite hitting a powerful shot, saw Bentley dive to his left to keep it out. Given the Brentford contingent amongst the Wycombe set up, it was inevitable there would be some form of Bees connection in the headlines but who could have predicted these two events?

Chin up, lads. It’s been a stunning effort to get that far. Hope to see you both at Griffin Park again soon.

As for today’s action, the League One play off final sees Preston (a team who, incredibly, have a worse play off record than us) and Swindon Town do battle for the final place in the Championship. I’ve got a soft spot for Preston, given their own place in our history – being the team we beat last season to secure our own promotion. That aside, I’m just hoping for a good game of football with no specific preference as to who joins us.

And I say ‘final place’ because the play off takes place at the ungodly hour of 17.30, after the Premiership has played out. By then we’ll know if it is Hull City or Newcastle United who will be coming to Griffin Park next season. And whilst probability suggests it will be the latter, the way Newcastle have ‘hit the skids’ in recent months, rule out nothing.

One thing’s for sure, if this season was exciting then next year is already shaping up to be even better.

Sam Saunders with numpty - on the day we sealed promotion against Preston

Sam Saunders with numpty – on the day we sealed promotion against Preston

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.

Lots of goals. Lots of points. Lots of tickets.

4 Mar

What a Wednesday! Brentford fans were able to take stock of a stunning 4-1 victory over Huddersfield Town last night before then receiving great news from Fulham with the announcement of ticket allocation for next month’s derby game. We’ll get to Craven Cottage shortly but for those still in need of a recap from last night, Huddersfield were the latest to try their luck at Griffin Park against the free scoring Bees.

7 (seven) in the previous 2 home games (3-1 v Bournemouth and then 4-0 v Blackpool) have now become 11 in 3. A 4-1 victory was the least we deserved as Chris Long took just four minutes to get off the mark on his full Brentford debut.

His second, following fine work from Jota (how often has that phrase been used this season?) restored Brentford’s lead after Harry Bunn had given the Terriers brief hope. But if that goal reinstated Brentford’s supremacy in terms of goals, what was more amazing was how things remained level in terms of players.

Bunn and James Vaughan were both incredibly fortunate to avoid bookings after preening in front of the home supporters like a pair of coked up peacocks. The reaction from the Ealing Road was hardly surprising but justice was soon delivered.

Alex Pritchard made it three before midfield man of the moment, Jon Toral, followed up his hat trick from a week before with a smart strike from distance. Bunn, meanwhile, eventually found his way into the notebook although referee Kavanagh must have been suffering xanthophobia when it came to Vaughan. A number of cynical challenges were shown nothing more than an inconsequential talking to for the Town number 9.

The video highlights are now on YouTube

 

But a victory of magnitude does, in the cold light of day, make such anomalies almost an irrelevance. The key points to remember are another +3 in the GD column, a refreshing alternative up front and, most importantly, three more points as Brentford hit the play off spots once again.

And then the ticket news from Fulham was announced. An initial allocation of 4000 (with the option for a further thousand) means we’ll take up a fifth of the ground for the Bank Holiday game on April 3rd. As ever, full information is available on the club website and you can read that here.

As we saw last season at Leyton Orient, huge travelling support to a local derby can make a monumental difference.

Here’s hoping for a very Good Friday.

A day of strange, strange results keeps the table wide open.

1 Mar

Brentford’s 1-0 defeat at Birmingham City on Saturday was just one of many slip-ups from the teams in the Championship promotion mix. Only Watford could take advantage of defeats for Derby County and Middlesbrough (along with Bournemouth dropping two points at home to Blackburn Rovers) to make any progress up the table. And then there was Clem at Crewe Alexandra…

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.

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Clem predicts how many points he'll earn for Crewe

Clem predicts how many points he’ll earn for Crewe (or is that a crafty ‘pick’?)

The Clem and Keith show provides distraction from the chaos

15 Feb

Amidst all the mayhem and chaos surrounding Brentford as they lost out at Charlton Athletic, I completely missed Sunday’s other news earlier. Namely, that coming from the Priestfield, Gillingham, where new manager Justin Edinburgh was the main draw for Clem from the Football League Show. The game with MK Dons was the one selected for our favourite roving reporter’s feature match and, as such, a chance to see whether Gillingham could become only the sixth team all season to take three points when ‘the albatross’ is in attendance.

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.

Clem catches up with Justin before making it 7(seven) unbeaten.

Clem catches up with Justin before making it 7(seven) unbeaten.