Nothing Ventured! – 29/9/15

After all the off the field drama of the last twenty-four hours I was hoping to write an article that concentrated solely on the football and our first match under the new Head Coach, Lee Carsley, but in truth there is very little to say about Tuesday night’s drab and dismal two-nil home defeat to a distinctly average Birmingham City team, and even less if I do not want to be particularly gloomy or negative in my comments.

This was a tepid, desperately disappointing and below-par performance where we created little and there was no pace, energy, passion or spark of ingenuity and even less creativity about our game. We played pretty passing football in our own half where the ball was sent back and forth interminably between the defenders and we got nowhere. There was no cutting edge and the entire team lacked the confidence to try and play through two banks of four Birmingham players who funnelled back and simply waited patiently for the ball to be given to them by our players which they did with monotonous regularity.

Our possession figures approached seventy percent but this was a meaningless statistic as the overwhelming majority of our ball retention took places in areas where we were never going to hurt the opposition. The team lined up in a 4-3-1-2 formation but as has been the case all season, the midfield was desperately disappointing with Diagouraga attempting to hold things together without much success and Kerschbaumer flitted in and out of the game. Ryan Woods finally earned his first start and the best that can be said about him was that he was neat and tidy and rarely gave the ball away but he never hurt the opposition or created an opportunity. We desperately missed a creative dynamo playing behind the front two who could stretch the opposition and run at them and ideally make things happen.

Djuricin and Vibe played as the strike duo and the Austrian found space on a couple of occasions in the first half without getting any real power into his shots and the closest they came was when Vibe streaked clear down the left channel after the break but shot straight at the keeper with the unmarked Djuricin screaming for the ball to be squared to him in front of a gaping goal.

In truth we lacked any pace or cutting edge and looked lightweight and both strikers were easily smothered out of the game.They never managed to hold the ball up although the service they received was spasmodic at best and the ball generally sailed three feet over their head rather than at their feet.

Button made one excellent save from a close-range header but the game seemed to be drifting ever so slowly to a nil-nil draw which in the scheme of things might not have been the worst result in the world as it would have meant that we would have earned our first clean sheet of the season, but it wasn’t meant to be. As it was, all that we could celebrate on the night was for the first time all season going into the break drawing at home and not losing. Big deal!

The defence finally dozed off at a right wing corner with twenty minutes to go and Morrison easily outjumped O’Connell to score with a thumping header. Perhaps the players were distracted by an injury to McCormack just before the corner came in and we seemed to lack concentration and were punished yet again at a set piece. Alan’s game went to pieces after that, hampered as he was by his injury and it was surprising that he was not replaced by Josh Clarke, unused on the bench. As it is Donaldson’s theatrical collapse earned McCormack his fifth yellow card of the season and an enforced rest next Saturday.

Surely there would now be a spark and a reaction as we sought an equaliser, but instead of going hell for leather and chasing the game we went even further into our shell. Our talisman, Sergi Canos was tightly marked and was totally unable to work his magic. As the game drifted towards its welcome close Alan Judge suddenly came alive, won a ball that was never his on the right flank, jinked inside his man and his brilliant rising left footed effort from the edge of the penalty area looked bound for the top corner, but, as is invariably the case this season, the luck was not with us and the ball hit the top of the crossbar and flew over.

To add insult to injury, Gleeson threaded the ball between our absent defenders deep into injury time and Clayton Donaldson bundled the ball home for the second goal, celebrated with silence as the hushed crowd quickly left the stadium, fed up, bemused and depressed by what they had witnessed.

The team has lost its Mojo and looked utterly drained of any confidence. I would have suspected that they would have upped their game given the appointment of the new Head Coach but if anything the performance went down a gear rather than up and Lee Carsley has much to do if the slide is to be arrested.

His post match revelation that he probably expects to leave the club at the end of the season and does not want the job on a long-term basis will also do nothing to raise spirits and expectations on what had already turned out to be a dismally disappointing evening and this massively negative announcement was the final kick in the teeth for Brentford supporters who are perhaps at their lowest ebb for quite some time.

There is, as we know, a toxic mixture of far too many new overseas players of unproven quality lacking leadership and trying to bed into a new team playing in an unfamiliar league with the established stars either sold or on the injury list.

Tonight the passion, invention and joy seemed to have been squeezed out of the entire Brentford team and for the first time in perhaps three years I was bored and distracted and found my attention wandering and my eyes glancing at my watch so sparse was the entertainment value being provided by a team seemingly afraid of its own shadow and unprepared to risk making a mistake by attempting anything ambitious or unexpected. This is how badly a team can be affected when it totally loses confidence.

Perhaps the evening was best summed up by Gogia, returning from his injury break and instantly hammering the ball miles behind the goal when shooting from a ridiculously impossible angle in the final moments of the match with his team mates queuing up in the penalty area and waiting for a simple cross which never arrived.

I have deliberately avoided using the R word until this point but for the first time this season I have to say that relegation would be an inevitability if performances of this ilk are repeated on a regular basis.

There were no redeeming features and there is absolutely nothing positive that can be said about tonight so I will end here and just hope for a massive improvement on Saturday when we need to demonstrate a completely different attitude if we are to have much chance of success at Derby County. You have to take calculated risks to win and tonight we simply played it safe and received our just reward.

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10 thoughts on “Nothing Ventured! – 29/9/15

  1. Well things look gloomy a newly appointed coach who does not think he will be there next season and well a team with no motivation i cannot understand When we were fighting against reelection in 1974 every one wanted to do there best the players who were pulling out of tackles or not giving there all were simply replaced by other pros or even as my time by young players like me maybe not good enough but who run theirs sock off for the club Yes i know football has changed a lot and yes this is not the fourth division football its championship level but god sake give me 11 players what ever the age who give there all for the club and i cannot believe there are not a couple players in the development squad who cannot step up but if this is so then its not this year or last but for quite a few years we have been doing something wrong to not have youngest who could come in and help the first team there might not quite up to the level but iam sure would give a 100%As for the coaching side let the gods in place admit this coaching thing might be to early to work at the moment put it on ice for the moment and appoint a Real Manger for the time being.come on you Bees at least show us you got guts and give your all whatever the out come we are behind you

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      • I think we have to add lack of quality and physicality to that chaps, sorry but the 11 on show last night are a league 1 outfit at best. We seem to have signed continental footballers who lack touch and technique – 2 things you expect whilst they adapt to the physical side.

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  2. I’m so down on our club right now I actually feel very emotional about it. 5 years of intelligent endeavour to build something special is being wrecked before our eyes – with both things initiated by the same person,

    What MB does next will determine his legacy and our future – I doubt he’ll read my words, but just in case, please Mathew come out and speak to us, and let’s try to get everyone back on board before it’s too late.

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  3. Last night we were a League 1 quality side with three passengers: Vibe, Djuricin and Kerschbaumer, with the exceptions of Button, Judge and maybe Bidwell. We were playing another League 1 side who were incredibly well organised and did all of the right things at the right time.
    We are ill-equipped to fight a relegation battle, but we are in one.
    I was excusing Lee Carsley last night because he probably didn’t know he definitely had the gig until last Sunday. I was saying the jury was out and maybe he was a wonder coach. He would be able to turn things around despite not having any track record at this level.
    Now I learn that he expects to go at the end of the season, which sounds to me like he had his arm twisted to take the job. To say that is not encouraging is an understatement.
    Perhaps the owner should get in touch with Ian Holloway or Neil Warnock to hold Lee’s hand? And get in some Championship players on loan as well to replace our foreign imports who will take too long to become acclimatised, and some of our League 1 standard players.

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  4. Another great, if deeply depressing, post, Greville. Also very insightful comments by Mike and RebelBee. Wasn’t at the game and it shows how not actually witnessing it first hand can give you such a false impression. At 0-0 I thought it was looking okay, with possibly our first clean sheet of the season coming. But reading about what actually happened has only served to darken my mood even further.

    The worst thing about all of this for me, are the words coming out of Carsley’s mouth. In the interview with Billy Reeves, he sounds flat, downbeat and pretty disinterested in the whole thing. In fact, he actually uses the word ‘detached’ when asked about his emotions. He also says, ‘I wasn’t looking to be a manager’ and ‘you just have to get on with it’. What kind of response is that??!!! If he was so reluctant to take the role, why the hell did he accept when it was offered? What kind of example does that set for the players – to say nothing of the fans?!!!

    Let’s make no mistake, as Mike says, we are now in a relegation battle. We can probably expect to get battered on Saturday and should maybe write that one off right now, but come the next home game against Rotherham we need to be 100% focused on the task in hand, because only a win will do.

    The way I feel at the moment: confused, nervous and incredibly upset. Did Crown / Benham / Devlin / Ankersen / Giles have any idea of the way Carsley felt? You would surely have to say no, otherwise why give him the role in the first place? Did they see him being so honest with the press? Again, you would surely have to say no. It makes us look amateur – to say nothing of the way our Championship rivals will surely seize on it to gain the initiative when they play us.

    Will Carsley be there in a month’s time? I honestly don’t think so. Forget all this ‘leaving at the end of the season / I don’t want to be a manager’ nonsense. We need a passionate figurehead in charge who can galvanise the players and inspire the fans. Sorry Mr. Benham, but that person is not Lee Carsley.

    What’s Neil Warnock up to these days…?

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  5. How badly does our team need a man manager right now?

    A determined leader/manager to drag their sorry backsides out of the sea of self pity and get stuck in & raise the game tempo. I travelled 4 hours last night to see Brentford play at such a pedestrian pace that you would have thought we were the away team trying to kill a game off. Honestly, what team in this division can not defend when provided 5+ mins to set their defensive block up each & every attack?

    What I can’t understand is it was blindingly obvious last year that the Championship respects & hates pace in equal measure. 3.5mill for Odubajo & 9mill for Gray says thats a fact….. So when did we decide that 75% possesion & zero penetration played at snails pace will return better results?

    So the thought occured to me, the statistical models indentified them as good enough – but do they play like they believe they are?

    The brand of football being played right now is chocking the flair & inventiveness out of the players & it is as much crushing as boreing to watch, as you rightly pointed out.

    Intrestingly, by comparison did you know…..

    I read that one of the 1st things that Warburton did when he arrived at Ibrox was post a big sign up in the dressing room….do you know what he had written on that sign?

    SEND THEM HOME HAPPY in big capital letters above the dressing room door.

    Hmmm, can it really be that simple?

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  6. Great posts from Richard, Mike, beesyellow & Gary – all bang on the money for me. Some fans are saying don’t criticise or MB may pull the plug, if he is truly “one of our own” this won’t happen, he’ll work his arse off to fix this and regain all of our trust and goodwill. If he does withdraw support then you’d have to ask what sort of a club would we have become anyway, and was the price of having such a benefactor worth paying?

    He must have a hard and at times thankless task, but some communication & engagement now is not so much to ask is it? It has been really tough going at GP so far, the thrill of the next BFC fix has been erased overnight, i’m sad to admit that i’ll not be at Derby and need the international break to get over the last week. I’ll never give up on my BFC but it kills me to see others thinking of doing so.

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