A Good Night – 24/2/16

What a difference a few days make.

On Saturday Brentford were clearly second best to Derby County but still managed to throw away an unexpected opportunity to win the game and we left the ground morose and concerned.

Last night I floated on air to my car, my face wreathed with smiles, both from pleasure and also, it has to be said, a fair bit of relief after the Bees totally outplayed Wolverhampton Wanderers and coasted to a three goal victory, their first at home this year.

Make no mistake about it, Brentford were very, very good in the night and ran rings round a Wolves team which was totally unable to cope with our pace, poise, invention and attacking incision.

Wolves, it must be said were totally inept and wandered round the pitch in a trance, as if mesmerised by the sheer quality of our performance.

I well remember a Walsall team similarly going through the motions at Griffin Park way back in January 2006 when it was patently obvious that they were not playing for their then manager, Paul Merson, who was swiftly jettisoned and quite frankly I fear for the future of the esteemed Kenny Jackett if last night is anything to go by, as his team appeared uninterested, disorganised and disinclined to get out of first gear.

Brentford scented blood and started out on the front foot and soon forced their opponents back.

Dean Smith had learned his lesson from Saturday and chose a far more balanced and attacking team with Judge, Swift and Canos all given license to get forward and down the flanks to run at a slow and porous defence that was swiftly overrun.

The visitors had chances on the break and Button made two early, but comfortable saves but it was predominantly one way traffic with Swift gliding past opponents at will and Canos destroying them with his pace.

A young colt brimming with energy and enthusiasm, he roamed both flanks and was a constant source of danger, heading just over and twice forcing saves from Ikeme.

Unlike Derby, who pressed us relentlessly and never gave us a moment’s peace on the ball, Wolves gave us the room, space and time to play, and without having to deal with massive opponents right in their face, Woods and McEachran took full advantage and pulled all the strings in midfield, driving us forward relentlessly.

Woods was a terrier, snapping at the ankles of his opponents and demonstrating his entire range of passes, both long and short.

Josh too showed that when given room he is a match winner and he both sees and finds passes that are totally beyond the wit, vision and imagination of most players at this level of the game.

The first goal was crucial as you felt that our confidence was only skin deep and would quickly evaporate if we fell behind particularly after playing so well.

Chances came and went with Judge cracking a shot onto the outside of the post, Swift forcing a flying save from Ikeme and Djuricin finding ever more inventive ways to miss, but our fears were unfounded as Wolves finally capitulated.

Brentford have only had the merest nodding acquaintance with good fortune lately but finally the Gods smiled down upon us, and not before time.

Judge put on the afterburners and roared into the area where he seemed to have been brought down but the ball fell perfectly for Swift right in front of a yawning goal. His instant shot was blocked by Ikeme but rebounded straight back to him, bounced off some part of his anatomy and dribbled into the corner of the net.

Not a goal to live long in the memory but priceless nevertheless as it was no more than Brentford deserved.

Button made a crucial save early in the second half, spooning McDonald’s effort around the post but Wolves soon returned to their torpor and the one way traffic resumed with the Bees totally on top.

Their dominance was duly rewarded by two quite excellently worked and taken goals.

McEachran spotted Bidwell’s run and threaded the ball to him through the eye of a needle. Judge returned the instant cross to Canos who controlled the ball and almost in the same movement thrashed it into the corner of the net.

Canos was a man inspired and shortly afterwards he twisted past two defenders before his low cross gave Swift a tap in.

It was now a question of how many as a rampant Brentford team with the shackles off played with a confidence and freedom seldom seen since the halcyon days of last season.

It was time for party tricks and Dean, a hero all night, rampaged down the middle like a modern day Nat Lofthouse before finally being overpowered on the edge of the area.

Vibe set up Bidwell whose effort was blocked by the overworked Ikeme who saved his best to the last when he somehow tipped O’Connell’s header away when a fourth goal seemed certain.

Brentford’s display ticked all the boxes last night:

  • The first home win of the year
  • Three goals scored, and it could quite easily have been six
  • A confident, pacy and vibrant performance
  • Our trademark short passing game returned with a vengeance
  • A much needed and long awaited clean sheet

The match statistics confirmed just how good a performance this was as Brentford dominated with fifty-eight per cent possession, had twenty shots on goal and made over five hundred passes, a much more Brentford-like figure, with a seventy-six per cent success rate.

Even more encouragingly, Josh McEachran, much maligned for his supposed defensive inadequacies, made seven tackles, more than anyone else on the pitch.

Everyone played their part in what was a real team victory, but Swift, Canos, Woods, Dean and Yennaris were particularly impressive and the injured Colin was barely missed.

Only Marco Djuricin was slightly off the pace but he still managed six efforts on goal and there is surely far better to come from him as he slowly regains fitness and sharpness.

Neutral observers were also greatly impressed by Brentford’s performance.

BBC reporter Jacqui Oatley commented:

Brentford lovely to watch. Passing and moving with pace, always an option. Teamwork, cohesion. Hope Alan Judge gets his chance with Ireland.

Nectar to our ears and totally merited and deserved praise given the overall quality of our display.

Dean Smith also deserves great credit for his bravery in the way he set us up as well as his positive team selection.

The team responded perfectly and will now be full of confidence before two tough matches against Rotherham and Charlton teams both fighting for their life at the bottom of the table.

Brentford are unlikely to be given as much space and time as they were last night but have the strength of character and sufficient skill on the ball to prevail.

Isn’t life beautiful when your team wins and plays well?

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6 thoughts on “A Good Night – 24/2/16

  1. Good stuff Greville. I can’t get to many games from south wales but made a special effort yesterday as it just felt like such an important game. Lose and the slim chance of relegation hovers but a win I reckon books our place in the Championship for next season.Now the important work begins for the management regaining the momentum lost recently and plugging those physicality deficits. In other words our run to next years promotion starts now. Drove home fist pumping the air.

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    • Walked away from GP last night in a completely different frame of mind to that of 3 days previously. All credit to Dean Smith and his team for their desire to put the game against Derby behind them. Virtually from the kick off,with the added pace and flair of Sergi Canos and the extra determination of John Swift, I was confident we would take all 3 points. Granted Wolves are going through a bad patch but I would love to see Canos and Swift in Brentford shirts next season if that is achievable ! Swift has the potential to improve the quality of his performances by at least 30-40 per cent. Every Bee,with one possible exception, can take credit from their performances last night . And that brings me on to another “hobby horse” We will not reach our true potential until we obtain that very elusive “striker” who can be relied upon to score 20 to 25 goals a season ie the likes of Garry Blissett or Stevie Phillips To conclude on a positive note.If we can obtain at least 7 points from upcoming games against Rotherham,Charlton,QPR and Fulham our future in the Championship next season is assured.And if we can finish in the top 10 we will find it easier to attract some top class playersin the summer break.

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  2. Thank goodness that action was taken to deal with the shortcomings of the Derby game. And didn’t it work well? Nice to see us playing like last season again. But still more to be done and changed if we are to challenge next season. Stars of the show were both loan players who probably will not be here next year, so a number of new players likely to be needed, including adding some depth to the squad, even if the long term injured get back to good form.
    Meanwhile, let’s hope that watchable football is back.

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  3. A very decent performance and a real boost after a dispiriting couple of months. The joy around GP was palpable at the end of the game – from both the happy clappy’s and the doom and gloom merchants.

    I’m in complete agreement with Greville’s view on the game and the other comments, My take on last night was that DS selected the correct starting 11 with everyone in the right position. Wolves stood off us and allowed our ball players to pass around them – which we did to great effect. Add to this the width & power given by Canos and we are once again a different proposition. The lack of a proper striker remains a concern and I felt Djuricin did little to enhance his case – possibly adding a bit more mobility, although he quality of the opposition needs to be considered.

    Canos has to be given a run of starts now, same with Swift – I don’t see either as options off the bench. Woods / Dean outstanding as was Nico, Josh had a good night too and excels when given space and time.

    For all of the issues we’ve endured this season it is worth reminding ourselves that Wolves came to GP exactly 2 years ago in our promotion year and hammered us, ending our 19 game run. The fact that we are competing with these clubs and sit in mid table, suggests that despite going backwards somewhat this season we are still in a good place. We’ve all had our moans and groans but I know I must never become complacent about championship game against Wolves or alike, teams in L1/L2 dream of such fixtures. Their owner has lost interest and they are sliding, I guess this also needs to be considered when we are awarding praise or criticism to the architect of our upswing.

    These are notes to self by the way 🙂

    COYB

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  4. Dean Smith said after the game that he had tried out a few tactical changes over the last few games.The fact that he has not had a settled squad since he took over and wants to assess the players he has inherited before he has to make big decisions regarding who stays for next season.The down side is results will be compromised as we have seen recently.Wolves away results haven’t been that poor over the last couple of months where I think they have only lost 1 in about 6 it’s the home games that’s let them down.Hope Djuricin is given a run now something he hasn’t had since joining ,a couple of goals over the coming games would be handy for his confidence and the team as I don’t think we have any creditable options as it seems Hoff isn’t rated by Dean.Looking forward to Rotherham Saturday expect Colin will have them set up to kick lumps out of us.

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  5. Amazing what a reconciliatory effect a win can have, isn’t it?

    DS has been criticised for his team selections in the last few weeks, but deserves praise for last night.

    I realise Canós can be inconsistent, but he has pace (not a major feature of this year’s team) and skill. He’s also quite a resilient lad as well. It makes such a difference to us when he is on his game.

    Would be nice to stuff Warnock’s lot on Saturday.

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