It is always interesting and illuminating to read what the opposition fans have to say about us and the Blackburn supporters were in full voice both before and after yesterday’s draw at Ewood Park.
There had been several patronising comments beforehand from various ignoramuses who belittled us and felt that a long-overdue home victory was assured given that they were playing what they felt was a smaller and less established team like Brentford who they still thought should be confined to the lower divisions – shades of last season when many clubs felt that they were demeaning themselves and sullying their hands by playing us and that they had a divine right to the three points on offer. We are going to totally hammer them summed up the general smug tone of the prematch assessments and score predictions.
Their tone had changed when they came to review a game in which the Bees played most of the football and dominated for long stretches and were extremely unlucky not to have come away with a victory. Finally there was a grudging respect for the quality of Brentford’s display coupled with tons of vitriol aimed at the home team and their manager Gary Bowyer, in particular. Here are a cross-section of the comments that were made by some seriously fed up and disillusioned home supporters:
For me Brentford were by far the best team to visit Ewood Park this season. They reminded me of Bournemouth over the last couple of seasons.
We were second best today.
A fair point won against a decent and very much in-form Brentford side.
Brentford played us off the park.
It was probably a fair result. If anything Brentford were slightly the better team. Lee Carsley has done a good job as Brentford were well organised and very energetic.
Brentford played simple touch and move football and carved through our midfield at will.
Brentford harried us all over the pitch. In all reality, Brentford had the better chances and should have won.
As for Brentford, by far the best team I’ve seen at Ewood Park this season (far better than Burnley). They pass and move the ball really well and in the end I was pretty happy with the result.
I felt pleased and proud when I read these words as they reinforced what we already know, that we have witnessed a massive renaissance and change in the Bees over the past four weeks or so and that opposing supporters can also clearly recognise our quality.
We are no longer a soft touch or bear any resemblance to that fairly disorganised rabble which earlier this season customarily ran out of steam long before the end of every match and were an easy prey for the predators who inhabit the Championship.
Lee Carsley and Paul Williams have stripped us bare, taken us back to basics and then put us back together again and we are slowly but surely regaining our touch and are going some way towards repeating our role as the surprise packet that we were for so much of last season.
We are trying to replicate what worked so well for us last season and are now pressing far higher up the pitch and playing simple and accurate pass and move football with the ball being moved quickly and slickly between a five man midfield who rotate their positions at will.
We are retaining possession but also looking to do something with the ball and create chances in the final third as possession for possession’s sake is a total waste of time. In that respect we are also getting the ball forward quicker than we have been accustomed to and there is also some pace in the team which helps us turn defence into attack.
We haven’t got everything right yet as our lone striker is still far too isolated as we sometimes struggle to get sufficient midfielders into the box quickly enough to support him but chances are now being created far more regularly even though too many of them are being spurned.
Yesterday was a case in point as we let a poor Rovers team off the hook. Djuricin was lost to injury early on and as of yet there is no news about his prognosis. Vibe was moved upfield and he bothered the giant but clumsy and immobile home central defenders with his sharpness, pace and movement.
Swift’s incisive and perceptive through ball gave him the chance to bundle the ball past Steele to open the score and we then took total command of the game and were never in any trouble until Lawrence’s low, angled cross from way out on the left wing squirmed through a packed penalty area and somehow ended up in the corner of the net for an undeserved equaliser that came totally out of the blue.
Button was forced to turn a Marshall drive onto the post but Woods shot wide and McCormack almost restored our lead when Steele saved well from his effort.
Brentford dominated the second half with Diagouraga running the show in midfield but were unable to turn their possession into goals with Vibe and Kerschbaumer both missing excellent opportunities to regain the lead. Sam Saunders also made an effective cameo performance as a late substitute and his energy and excellent use of the ball auger well for the future.
Blackburn finally roused themselves out of their lethargy when Ben Marshall moved forward to support the attack and Button made a phenomenal late save to push his late rasping long range effort past the post and preserve our point.
So a point it was when three were really well within our grasp and we can also bemoan the absence of Alan Judge, still recovering from his tight hamstring, as his energy, vision and effervescence might well have made all the difference and helped us to the victory that we fully deserved.
The international break comes at a good time as we now have a fortnight in which a lot of tired bodies will have the chance to recover from their recent exertions. Carsley has relied upon the same bunch of players with changes kept to a minimum and he has been rewarded with a series of excellent and fully committed performances.
It is noticeable that our improvement in results and performance has coincided with Lee Carsley restoring the rump of our homegrown players with all but one of the foreign newcomers relegated to the substitutes’ bench. This has allowed them some breathing space in which they can gradually acclimatise themselves to the demands of the Championship, and it was illuminating to listen to Lasse Vibe’s post match interview in which he admitted that he was still coming to terms with what was required of him in what he now realised was a higher and far tougher standard of football than he had been accustomed to before he joined the club.
The spirit might well be willing, but the flesh is weak and the bruised and battered squad will benefit from a rest. Hopefully Judge and Djuricin will be fully fit in time for the Nottingham Forest match and ideally there will also be some good news about poor Lewis Macleod who suffered yet another injury setback in the Development Squad’s win at Reading on Friday.
Sam Saunders can also work on his fitness and perhaps the likes of Jota, Colin and McEachran will also be inching their way closer to a return to full fitness.
It has been a roller coaster ride for every Brentford fan but the tide seems to have turned in our favour recently as we have gone back to the future in our approach and, as is demonstrated by the comments of the Blackburn supporters, it is evident that normal service is gradually being resumed.
The Bees are currently the Kings of Championship football in West London as we are ahead of our deadly rivals QPR and Fulham who have both responded to the indignity and shame of the situation by sacking their manager.
Brentford are back!