Bees Conquer Battling Bolton – Brentford 2 Bolton 0

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On The Pitch

Goals in either half from Florian Jozefzoon and Neal Maupay maintained Brentford’s impressive Championship home record – 10 games unbeaten- against a battling Bolton Wanderers side in an entertaining 2-0 win.

This was Brentford’s fourth win in five games and their third in a string of twenty matches. And despite not playing their best, this was a three points the Bees thoroughly deserved. 

Jozefzoon put the Bees ahead just before half time, smashing his shot just inside the angle after Lasse Vibe’s shot was blocked. Frenchman Neil Maupay – who came on a sub for Vibe on 86 minutes – made it two with almost his first touch in time added on – a clever little backheel after Sergi Canos’ mishit shot found him in the area.

Watkins, Barbet and Sawyers all had chances for the Bees in the first half whilst Jozefzoon should have scored when one-on-one with the keeper only to shoot at the keeper’s chest.

Sammy Ameobi and Gary Madine threatened for battling Bolton without causing problems.

Yennaris hit the post. Bentley saved from Madine. 

Bolton’s time-wasted and fouled. 

In the end, Maupay’s finish was just rewards for a professional Bees side who patiently waited to take their chance without giving away too much at the other end. 

Brentford are now thirteen matches unbeaten at Griffin Park – stretching back to last August when Mark Warburton – then in charge of Nottingham Forest – saw the Bees off with their first and only home league loss of the season. 

Key stats

  Bees dominated the possession seeing nearly 70% of the ball. Double the amount of shots than Bolton but more incisive, converting 50% of their 4 shots on target.  Bees won the game in every other area.

81% pass success rate compared to Bolton’s 62%. Bees won 58% of ariel battles – encouraging seeing as we have been known to struggle against teams who bombard us in the air – and won 17 dribbles compared to Bolton’s 10. 

Brentford created goalscoring opportunities from counter attacks whereas Bolton goalscoring opportunities from counter attacks AND individual skill – favouring the long ball. 

Bolton were deemed as more aggressive, lost the ball often and were poor at finishing.

Interestingly, Maupay has been under enormous pressure to bag another goal after missing a number of chances recently. However, if you check his record, fair play to him he seems to create an enormous amount of chances on goal – creating three less chances (49) than Ollie Watkins (52) having had 2/3rds (1538 mins) of Watkins’ game-time (2244 mins).

He has created more 10 chances than six goal Lasse Vibe (39) although he has had 25% more playing time than the Dane (1053 mins).  Vibe had a better percentage of his shots on target (54%) than Watkins (44%) and Maupay (43%). 

Key Player – Andreas Bjelland

Whilst Florian Jozefzoon picked up the Fullers’ Brentford Man of the Match award – and it’s hard to not give him credit for his well taken goal –  it’s the defenders who more often than not don’t get their fair share of the credit when the team wins.  

Andreas Bjelland did a glorious job of marshalling the back four – continuing his father-like partnership with promising rookie centre-back Chris Mepham, whilst ensuring that Bolton’s gigantic forwards got no joy from the multiple crosses they tried to whip into the middle to cause the usual havoc in the box. 

Key Moment

If you bear in mind the pressure he has been under since missing that open goal against Cardiff, the key moment has got to be Neil Maupay’s confident – but cheeky – back-heeled goal for his 7th goal of the season.

Hopefully, this will spark some revitalised confidence in him although an OGC Nice fan on the Pride Of West London podcast (below) believes that Maupay has a lot of self-belief and does not feel that the miss would have affected him a great deal.

What The Bosses Said

Dean Smith: “We felt as comfortable as you can be at 1-0. Our quality on the ball is there for all to see. We should have made the game safe a bit earlier. The thing that pleased me most was the clean sheet. Bolton put a lot of balls into the box and we had to defend set-pieces as well.”

Phil Parkinson: “I thought we matched them first half and had as many opportunities as they did. The scoreline flattered Brentford but their goal just before half-time knocked us back a bit and gave them a spring in their step. Despite that, we had spells where we put them under real pressure and I think the fans who stayed and clapped us off at the end could see that”

Who Was In The House?

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was in the house. Who was he here to watch was the post match gossip? Some said he was here to add more fuel to the already smouldering Ryan Woods gossip fire.

Others said he was there to pluck Ollie Watkins from our very arms less than 6 months after joining the club.

But conspiracy theorists felt that he may be doing a ‘Brentford’ and scouting clever. Trying to pick up a player before all the hype grows on him (and price) and seeing if he can pick up Chris Mepham for a snip before everyone and his dog gets wind that we have decided not to ‘Alfie Mawson’ ourselves on this young pup.  

Martin Allen was also in the house.    

Match Highlights

   

What the Press Said

Mark Iles, Bolton Post
“Wanderers showed they have improved since being out-classed by Brentford on their own turf back in September but the net result was precisely the same. Starved of possession and chances, the Whites failed to take advantage of a Bees side which never quite hit the same heights they had at the Macron and their miserable record of having never kept a clean sheet in the league at Griffin Park continues.

Having gone a goal down just before half time through ex-PSV winger Florian Jozefzoon, the Wanderers boss needed to find a different way into the game. Will Buckley and Adam Fondre making a decent impact from the bench, but the reality is that the Whites struggle when asked to play expansive football, and especially against a side whose philosophy has been a few years and tens of millions (er … tens of millions. Are you sure Marc? Maybe knock a zero off that – Ed) in the making.

Wanderers have seldom let their manager down for attitude since returning to the Championship and, again, they made friends in West London for their indomitable spirit, reflected in an excellent travelling support of 1,008 who were loud throughout”

Tom Moore, Get West London
“Bolton showed more ambition than Derby, Burton and Barnsley did in their visits to TW8 and it meant that Brentford had to work hard for their victory.

It wasn’t a free-flowing performance from the Bees like the win against Fulham earlier this season but it showed that this Brentford side can get stuck in and get their hands dirty when they need to.

The Bees always appeared to be the superior side over the course of 90 minutes but, unlike games earlier in the season, were clinical enough in both boxes”

What The Fans Said

On the Beesotted Pride of West London podcast (below) fans acknowledged Brentford weren’t as fluid as they have been as of late but were glad they were able to grind out the victory.

Verdict

This was as big a result as the recent victories against Norwich, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday. Big battling Bolton were a potential banana skin for The Bees who were still to pick up a victory in January after losing at Molineaux to top-of-the table Wolves then going out of the FA Cup last week fielding an A minus-strength side against Second Division Promotion chasers Notts County.

It was written in the stars that Bolton would come down to try and frustrate the Bees, soak up the pressure and hit them on the break – playing long ball after long ball and whipping crosses into the area. The new defensive partnership of Chris Mepham and Andreas Bjelland seems to be coping more admirably with this type of play as of late which hopefully will see Brentford pick up more clean sheets. 

More importantly, the Bees are only three points off the playoffs – admittedly amongst a rather large pack of ‘nearly there’ teams. However, having lost on three in twenty matches and with only three teams in the Championship – Wolves (45 pts), Aston Villa (37) and Derby (42) – having won more points than Brentford (36 pts) since the last time we played Bolton back in September (19 games), it was vitally important that the Bees kept the momentum up to ensure they keep up with the challenging playoff challenging pack.

With form like that, no team is going to look forward to playing us at the moment.

Billy Grant
@BillyTheBee99

 

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About The Author

BillytheBee Grant

Following Brentford for 30 years plus now.. write .. blog .. videoblog .. podcast ... photograph ...eat .. sleep .. Brentford.. am known to attend the occasional England match too (12 tournaments now) so am hardened to failure ...On the board and national council of the Football Supporters Federation.... organised husky dog racing for a living back in the day ... as you do ..You don't wanna go up!!

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