I was really pleased to see that the general reaction to Tuesday’s nights frustrating and totally undeserved defeat by Championship leaders Middlesbrough was an extremely positive one and that the overwhelming majority of Brentford supporters recognised how good certain aspects of our performance really were.
Like everyone else immediately after the end of the game, I was angry and disappointed at how capriciously we had been treated by the fates, however in the cold light of day now that emotions have died down, I realise that there was so much to be pleased and proud about in terms of how we performed against perhaps the best team in the league as well of course as a further reminder and confirmation of all the areas in which we need to improve and work on.
I will wait until after the Burnley match tomorrow night before trying to assess what is likely to be in store for us for the remainder of the season and what we have to look forward to.
In the meantime I thought that it might be enlightening to look back at how some other supporters assessed our performance against the league leaders.
Rebel Bee was as outspoken as normal, and long may he remain so:
I agree with your match summary so I just add honest comments and apologise in advance if they are too blunt for some.
- New signings stepping up. Woods and Colin both outstanding – and had their best games in the stripes.
- Vibe, looked dangerous for 15 minutes and had them worried, he then totally vanished – why?
- Saunders & Swift were bothpassengers, we carried them both until they were hooked. Swift has real talent but doesn’t seem to want it enough and is too flicky at times. Sam’s dead balls were really poor, and he is possibly coming to the end of his time at Griffin Park.
- It was great to see Toums and Tarks starting and both put in a very good shift. Judge didn’t quite hit his best but was decent throughout. We will struggle badly without any of these at present.
- We played well, yet lack the things Boro have in spades (nous), we are so naive at this level, and remain error prone.
- If I see Boro again it’ll be far too soon. I hope they go up and then get smashed every week playing like they do. Give me a Watford, Bournemouth or Norwich any day over this lot.
- Forshaw may be better off financially but he’d have been far better off starting for us last night as our star man, instead he’s picking up splinters in his arse and moving down the pecking order with them. Total madness.
- Our season’s ambition is now safety – that’s all.
- Where do they find these referees – he was conned by them all night.
I guess I should elaborate a bit on my take on Swift. I think he has a lot of talent and disproves the theory that we don’t produce technically gifted footballers in England. And he is still young. I think he is unfortunate in that he has to date mostly played development football, and needs to acquire the hunger and a little of the physicality that you see from those that have worked their way up the divisions. To be fair it was a tough test against very streetwise opponents yesterday, and he is one to watch, and I am glad we have him.
Peter Lumley was also bemoaning our fate:
Walking away from Griffin Park last night I could not recall feeling so dismayed at the outcome of a game we could and should have won. We totally dominated possession and had eleven corners to their five.
But more importantly, Middlesbrough committed twice as many fouls as us.
Their defence has won many plaudits for its strength and organisation But few have spotlighted the cynical fouls and faked injuries that must be condoned by their manager.
If they want to gain promotion by playing the way they do then good luck to them. I can only hope that Brentford are never tempted to follow their example !
Their message to referees appears to be: “do not penalise us, it’s just what we do!” Yes the Bees did contribute to their own downfall by wasting two great scoring chances in the opening minutes. But once again the run of the ball went against us when David Button made a split second decision to push the ball away from a corner taken in a swirling wind.
Also I cannot recall a half season when so many controversial refereeing decisions have gone against us.Many say that these decisions even out over a whole season.Let us hope that they do!
beesyellow22 has also made some extremely sensible and well thought through comments:
Good article, Greville. Good comments too. I do not totally agree with Rebel Bee (who always writes with great insight I must say) with regards to Swift.
I thought he was actually pretty good last night and linked up well on the left with Bidders, Woods and (occasionally) Vibe. I do agree that he is “flicky” though!
Sadly, I also agree that Saunders is more representative of the past than the future. Last season saw him and Yennaris do great things on loan at Wycombe and, surely if we are to be serious about pushing for promotion next season, we have to put sentimentality to one side and accept that it’s time to look for new attacking options and let Sam leave?
At League One or Two level he could still make a real difference but at Championship level I think he’s too much of a passenger.
I thought that Tarky and Toums played pretty well but I also felt that perhaps Tarky might have had his mind elsewhere at times. Perhaps that’s inevitable when you know that another team wants you (and will pay you more and take you back up north to where your roots are).
Overall I thought we were great last night and against a lesser side we would have surely won. You can’t blame Button for his error – he has been brilliant for us all season and made some excellent saves last night too (his header out at full stretch in the first half was superb).
Yes, we know how Middlesbrough play and last night they didn’t disappoint. I actually didn’t think they were as cynical as they were last season, mainly because we played such excellent stuff in the first half. They never had the ball!
The key points for me are two-fold: first, we desperately need a Jonathan Douglas type player to put a bit of steel in the side, galvanise the team and bite the legs of the opposition and secondly we obviously need a long-term replacement for Andre Gray. Vibe does his best and I like him a lot but as has been said many times, he won’t (can’t?) hold the ball up and bring the midfield in like Andre did last season.
I like Djuricin a lot (his passion for the cause is marvellous) and am really looking forward to seeing what he can do between now and May. I hope he starts on Friday, as he always looks really dangerous and capable of sticking it in the back of the net – if he has the service.
I’m trying to remain upbeat about things but it is difficult when you play so well and lose yet again! The manager’s interview with Billy Reeves was really positive and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next season when he a) has spent a sustained period with the squad and b) has hopefully brought in a few players of his own that will see Brentford start to take the shape of what can justifiably be called a ‘Dean Smith team.
Michael Ohl was also pleased with what he had seen and was optimistic about the future:
It’s not nice losing to teams like Middlesbrough for the reasons already stated. No real flair, cynical, tough, badgering the referee etc.
Do we want to be like that, and be top or play the Brentford way with all the ups and downs that that entails?
There has to be a middle way or more accurately we have to stop making so many unforced errors.
Although we had a lot of chances, the last half hour was total frustration. We just couldn’t find a way to break them down, and I really couldn’t see us scoring. If we had taken our chances at the start . . . would we have won? Or would we have given it away?
I don’t know if I am alone, but I am always expecting now to see some sloppy pass to which the opposition say thanks very much and capitalises upon. In this respect Toumani is the one I most expect it from, with Tarkowski and Dean closely behind.
I try not to be too critical about our players, but, Reading notwithstanding, the last few games have been just so frustrating. Surely the players must feel the same?
Watching Brentford these days is not for the faint hearted.
Let’s see what Friday brings.