Mixed Blessings – 10/4/16

On the surface this has probably been the best week of the season for Brentford with three consecutive wins over former Premier League teams, nine points gained that have seen us shoot up the table into thirteenth position, our Championship place as good as guaranteed for next season, and nine goals scored, five of them by Lasse Vibe who has suddenly and not before time emerged as the prolific and deadly marksman we thought we were buying and who has now scored a more than creditable twelve goals this season.

Ipswich Town became our latest victims and lambs to the slaughter as a determined and well organised Brentford team which broke forward with purpose and menace comfortably took the points and thus gained their first ever victory at Portman Road.

Every silver lining has a cloud and the gloss was taken off the victory and totally overshadowed by the awful injury sustained by Alan Judge who has suffered a broken leg after an horrendous challenge by Luke Hyam. There is much that I want to say about the circumstances relating to this injury as well as its ramifications for the player and his current club.

My blood is also boiling at the crass, one-eyed and indefensible comments expressed immediately after the match by the Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy, a man whom I had up until now held in high esteem, but no longer do so. Given how spitting mad, upset and concerned I am feeling, along I am sure with every Brentford supporter I am delighted that Stephen Burke had already kindly offered to provide me with a match report from yesterday’s game, just as he did for the same match last season.

He did a fine job then and I hope you share my opinion that he has surpassed himself today. By publishing his excellent work now it also allows me a day or so in which to cool off and gather my thoughts about the Alan Judge situation on which I will write very shortly, hopefully in a calmer, more objective and less emotional frame of mind, as if I put pen to paper today I believe that the libel lawyers might well be combing through my words and that they would find much to interest them.

Here is what Stephen had to say and many thanks to him yet again for his perceptive contribution:

It was quite a remarkable afternoon at Ipswich for Brentford FC.

It was our third victory in a row in just a week, with nine goals scored and Lasse Vibe responsible for five of them, after fans despaired about our lack of a striker. Our future in the Championship was also secured for another season.

It was our first ever victory at Portman Road against Ipswich – and our first win against “The Tractor Boys” since 1955.

And the three-one victory looked a very distant dream just couple of minutes into the game when Alan Judge lay on the ground in extreme pain after an awful tackle. With our best player taken out and replaced by Konstantin Kerschbaumer, who has consistently disappointed, it seemed like Brentford would be in for a long and difficult afternoon.

But the nine minute break as Judgey was treated and then carried from the pitch in obvious distress seemed to motivate and unify Brentford and shock Ipswich.

The home team had started on the front foot, pushing high up the pitch and causing jitters around several hurried clearances by David Button. Then came the terrible tackle on Judge which surely merited a red not yellow card for Luke Hyam.

But the Bees regrouped and started pressing themselves, forcing mistakes from a vulnerable Ipswich defence. Brentford looked much more like scoring, which was not surprising given that Ipswich had not scored in their last three matches. Their hopes of a play-off place this season were hanging by a thread. But they failed to compete with a buzzing Brentford.

The home crowd were clearly nervous too. Apart from the Bees fans, Portman Road was near silent. “Is this a library?” sang the Bees fans, who booed Hyam every time he touched the ball.

Vibe had already forced errors in the home defence and Kerschbaumer also missed a chance, before he redeemed himself by winning possession from Skuse, who claimed a foul, driving towards the byline and pulling the ball back to Sam Saunders. His neat and instant curling finish put the Bees a goal up just before the half hour.

The Bees kept pushing forward and could have had a second goal. Instead just before the end of the first half, Hyam tangled with Ryan Woods and was given a second yellow card for retaliation and dismissed – belated justice had been served but far too late.

This seemed to spur Ipswich on. They forced a couple of corners and Button saved well as added time amounted to nine minutes for the Judge injury.

Ipswich made two changes at half-time. On came Jonathan Douglas, the former Bees skipper, and veteran striker, David McGoldrick, as Ipswich tried to regain the initiative.

Douglas’s appearance was one of a number of sub-plots in the afternoon. It was odd that he hadn’t started the match but perhaps he had paid the price for missing a clear chance in the previous Ipswich home game. Douglas was on the front cover of the programme which featured an interview with the Irishman. Still, he was jeered by Brentford fans whenever he got the ball and looked a shadow of the player we saw at Griffin Park last season. Douglas has now earned a contract extension for next season given the appearances he has made in the current campaign but he looks like a player way past his best. There was also no sign of two other former Bees – Jay Tabb and Tommy Smith.

Ipswich started the second half on the front foot but after twenty minutes Brentford took control against the ten men. The second goal on sixty-four minutes was exceptionally well-worked. Ryan Woods who had a good afternoon in the heart of midfield played an excellent ball through to Colin, wide on the right. His perfect cross was headed deftly in by Vibe who perfectly concertinaed his body shape to meet a ball that appeared to be behind him. Just four minutes later Vibe dispossessed Berra from a home throw-in and raced towards goal before placing the ball perfectly past the Ipswich keeper with a perfect outside of the right foot finish.

When was the last time a Brentford player scored a brace in two consecutive games and five in a week? Vibe seems like a player transformed since the international break. His confidence is high and he ran all over the pitch, making life very difficult for Ipswich’s defence. he has now scored twelve goals this season, a more than decent tally.

At three-nil it was job done for the Bees. It could have been more, not least when Sergi Canos capped a good game with a stunning, dipping, deflected shot that hit the bar.

Inevitably it was a mistake – by Alan McCormack – that allowed Ipswich in for a late consolation goal. Until then, every time an Ipswich player had sight of goal in the second half, they shot over or wide, clearly lacking in confidence. Dean and Barbet had been immense in defence, snuffing out any opportunities.

Make no mistake, Ipswich were very poor. They didn’t look like a team on the edge of the playoffs. They relied too often on the long ball and were weak defensively, particularly down the Brentford right. Their fans started leaving after the  third goal went in and a flypast by a flock of seagulls was probably their most entertaining part of the match.  

What a difference a year makes. Just over twelve months ago, Ipswich and Brentford played out a hard-fought draw as they competed for what seemed then like the last playoff place.

A year on, the future looks far brighter for Brentford. A top ten place is again a real possibility for the Bees, with Kerschbaumer, Gogia and Hogan getting a chance to show what they can do. Ipswich are simply a neanderthal team led by a dinosaur of a manager, full of experienced players well past their best playing a horrible, outmoded and dated brand of football.

All of which is remarkable given the injuries that Brentford have endured this season. Let’s hope Alan Judge recovers as quickly as possible. A fully fit and functioning squad would make 2016/17 very exciting indeed. Bring on Aston Villa – and Ipswich!  

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11 thoughts on “Mixed Blessings – 10/4/16

  1. Thoughts this morning with Alan Judge facing an operation and long recovery.
    Good match report. It does feel this season has been two steps forward and then big leaps back and the injury has turned an excellentt weak on and off the pitch a little sour.
    Still we seem to have stabilised and a lot of the new recruits are playing well and I assume will only get better.

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  2. It was a pleasure to read.this match report.

    I saw the edited highlights last night and that wasn’t a tackle it was assault and the guy should be charged with GBH. McCarthy’s comments were a disgrace, although the comments by the panel of experts were mixed, with one of them trying to justify it (apparently it was down to the “momentum of the tackle and the follow through”). The comments and Ipswich’s brand of football belong to the 70s.

    The injury really did detract from a good Bees performance, securing our third season in the championship.

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  3. A magical week marred by the injury “inflicted ” on Alan Judge. Not at all impressed by Mick McCarthy and his defence of Liam Hyam who he claimed had been unfairly treated by the referee!!! How “honest” can you get? Hyam appeared determined to boost his side’s play off hopes by “taking out” Brentford’s best player in the first minutes in an attempt to intimidate the rest of the squad. It brought back memories of Jonathan Douglas’s foul on Jota in the first match of the season. But if Mick McCarthy believes this is the “honest” way to achieve success what more can you say?Incidentally, I was intrigued to see that a significant majority of Ipswich fans are unhappy that he has won a years extension to his contract. On a more positive note congratulations to Dean Smith and all the players on 3 back to back wins.And I am sure the club will give every possible support to Alan Judge and his family.It will be nothing less than he deserves!! To clarify the “unhappiness” of Ipswich fans refers to Douglas NOT McCarthy !

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  4. Well written Stephen and the second last paragraph is the best summing up of where Ipswich are I have seen. Given that the Douglas tackle took Jota out for half a season and now the Hyam tackle has done the same to Judgey, Ipswich should come with an X certificate where the Bees are concerned. I wonder if the words “stop Judge and you stop Brentford” were uttered in the Ipswich dressing room prior to this match.

    As a Suffolk resident I have much banter with local fans and I can report that those I have spoken with since yesterday are suitably ashamed of Hyam’s tackle and are fed up with McCarthy’s style of play and football philosophy. The near silence of the home crowd throughout yesterday’s game told it all.

    Finally all the best for a speedy recovery to Alan Judge and commiserations at having his Euro 16 dreams so cruelly shattered.

    Suffolk Bee

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  5. Firstly, thank’s for a very informative match report. What a difference a week makes ,this time last week I was basking in the glow of 1 victory & now it’s 3 !!
    As for yesterday,the result was unfortunately overshadowed by Alan Judge’s injury. Only Hyam & to a lesser degree Mc Carthy will know if it was just reckless or premeditated.Whichever it was it was undoubtedly a straight red card.
    As for McCarthys after match comments,he should hang his head in shame.To say it didn’t warrant a yellow is adding insult to injury.
    I wonder how a couple of his more illustrious predecessors ,Alf Ramsey & Bobby Robson would have reacted; with more honesty & integrity that’s for sure!
    I am sure Brentford will ensure that Judgey comes back fitter & stronger ( & hopefully look to extend his contract ala Scott Hogan).
    As for Messrs Hyam & Mc Carthy YOU know the truth about this dreadful setback to a fellow pro’s career.Have a good look in the mirror I dare you !

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    • Just a couple of afterthoughts to my earlier comment. 1)How about giving a boost to Alan Judge’s morale by offering him an immediate entry to the club’s “Hall of Fame”(instead of Martin Rowlands !!! ) It will not seem much of a consolation at the present time but it is worthy of serious consideration as a gesture of wholehearted support.? 2)On reflection I was far too lenient in my criticism of Mick McCarthy’s post match comments They were an absolute disgrace and bordered on bringing the game of football “into disrepute” Not that I expect the FA to share my opinion!If McCarthy is regarded as “honest” I hope I never come across anyone who is dishonest!!
      #

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  6. A very good match report. Thank you.

    I look forward to reading Greville’s thoughts on the Alan Judge situation. I was so angry, yesterday evening and understand why some cooling-off time was deemed necessary.

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    • I’d heard about that but it’s the 10th of April now. 🙂

      Truth be told I’ve come to expect better than that from the Beesotted chaps. A poor effort.

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  7. Without dwelling roomy chin Saturday’s events, you got it spot on Greville. Like many, I am extremely disappointed with the comments made by Mr Mc Carthy and his apparent lack of compassion, preferring instead to support a thug who carried out one of the most horrific and vicious tackles I have ever seen on a football pitch. Likewise, this morning, I have been further angered further by the comments attributed to Luke Varney supporting the type of tackle carried out by Hyams. It us quite frankly sickening to hear the comments of both so called professionals when one of the most gifted footballers we have ever seen at Brebtford lies in a hospital bed with his career threatened and his international dreams destroyed. Like many, I look forward to welcoming Messrs McCarthy and Hyams to Brentford next season!!!!

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