Five alive. Laney and BillytheBee have been hanging out on the terraces, iPhone cameras at the ready, filming the action and reaction deep from the belly of Griffin Park as fans cry for six.
Brentford went into this game knowing that a win was essential. And, as opposed to the last time we played similarly poor sides, Carlisle and Stevenage, this time the Brentford team left nothing to chance – dismantling The Railwaymen, ripping them apart with some quality football and scoring five goals in the process.
Was this also the day Marcello Trotta finally proved his starting place worth to those Brentford fans still unsure of his ability? Trotta is like Marmite and he divides opinion in the Brentford camp in a major way.
Some think he’s lazy. Some think he’s greedy. Some think he’s talented. Some think that, post-penalty miss, he quite simply shouldn’t be playing for us. Some think he’s F@lham so shouldn’t be playing for us. Some, quite strangely, even think that Paul Hayes (who was sent home after a month on loan by struggling League Two side Plymouth even though we were paying the majority of his wages) should be starting ahead of him.
One thing that everyone but the most blinkered of fans must realise is – he knows where the goal is. He certainly has an eye for the net. He often frustrates fans by having a go and not scoring when a simple pass to a team-mate would see an easy opportunity converted. But his game has changed as of late. Trotta seems to have matured somewhat. Christ, he even got angry at one point when a decision went against him.
It looks like playing in a settled, unchanged side has really benefitted everyone – including Trotta. Developing an understanding with the team mates around you is a crucial factor in a happening team, and Trotta is looking more and more comfortable on and off the ball. Nifty little runs, sneaky little passes and a well taken headed (yes headed again) goal saw Marcello go neck and neck with Forshaw and Saville for the coveted Man of the Match title.
Before I get accused of being Trotta-ist, there are some fans who – if Brentford won 7-1 and Trotta scored all 7 – they would put us down for a 1-0 defeat. Very strange. Personally I couldn’t give a monkey’s if Mickey Mouse was playing in red and white stripes. As long as he shows respect, loyalty and a real determination to get us results… then I’ll back him.
If, on top of that, Mickey Mouse is also banging in the goals, I’m behind him all the way. Many people uttered it today on the terraces. Trotta isn’t just biding his time down at Griffin Park. He’s fighting for a contract down here too. Coz , with all due respect to F@lham, he’s not gonna get a new one down there. Any one of our rivals would take Trotta in a sniff. Personally I would prefer he was in our attack rather than Preston’s or Sheffield United’s.
The match was all Brentford from the get-go, with lots of possession but very few chances. Forshaw and Saville failed to convert as the Bees dominated the game. Trotta missed a great chance to score after Harris’ shot was blocked, then he forced a flying save from Crewe keeper Martin on 35 minutes as the Bees continued to threaten to break the deadlock.
Crewe had a couple half-chances, but it was Bees in firm control and it was no surprise when, on 42 minutes, Forshaw’s free-kick was cleared by the Crewe defence only as far as Trotta who headed in from 14 yards.
HT Brentford 1 Crewe 0
Brentford came out of the second half buzzing and two minutes after the re-start, a beautiful move saw McCormack play the ball down the line to Donaldson, who laid the ball off to Trotta. His deft little pass teed up Forshaw to take on his man and beat the keeper putting Bees two goals to the good.
Douglas was having a wicked game, creating havoc in the middle of the park with Saville and Forshaw. He came close to scoring when his shot cannoned off the post falling to Donaldson who skied the ball from 10 yards when it looked easier to score.
Grigg, who apparently had an hour’s sleep after flying straight in from Turkey where he was sub in Northern Ireland’s game there, came on for Harris and teed up Saville to curl a beautiful 18 yard shot into the net.
Grigg and Douglas were involved for Donaldson’s goal – Bees’ fourth. And Farid El Alagui came on and with his first touch laid a lovely ball off to Donaldson who fired home to make it five alive – respectfully not celebrating his goals against his ex-team.
FT. Brentford 5 Crewe 0
So, what a difference a month makes… since Uwe’s ‘clear the air’ talks at Stevenage. Something must have worked. Before then, we were averaging around two goals every three games and shipping five goals every three games.
Since Stevenage-gate, we’re scoring nearly three goals a game and have conceded one goal every two games.
Brentford actually have the best defensive home record in the division. Putting aside the disappointment of losing to Orient and Rotherham, teams have undoubtedly found it tough to break us down on our own turn from the first game of the season.
Our ability to now tighten it up away from home coupled with our new-found ability to unlock gridlocked opposition midfields and score goals from all over park (Donaldson, Trotta, Harris, Forshaw, Saville, Saunders) has moved us into the ‘danger’ category for all our rivals.
The Orient game came a bit early for us. We weren’t ready for them. Orient came into that game with pretty much the same team that they had been playing together for the previous 15-plus matches. And they looked like a team.
But that Orient match was a fantastic wake-up call. It made everyone – The management. The players. The fans – realise that we had some serious work to do. Better we got the shock in September than in February. Two months post-Orient, we’re starting to see the benefits.
The next ten days will really set the benchmark as to where we will stand in this league. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Peterborough will be a serious barometer as to whether we will challenge for an automatic promotion place. Yes the bar has been raised in this division over last season. There are some very good sides in our division.
But lest people forget – Brentford have also raised the bar. We’ve bought in some excellent players in the likes of your Savilles and Harris’ and McCormacks to add to our stalwarts from last season.
Grigg still has to fulfil his potential and maybe he will get a chance to properly settle in now that the international games are parked for a few months.
The players are slowly starting to gel now. And we’re starting to look like a team. We’re still not there. But it’s going in the right direction. Twelve months ago we went from a low of 11th position at the end of October to a high of second just before Xmas with an 7 win/2 draw two month confidence-building unbeaten run.
This season we’ve gone from a low of 11th post Stevenage to 4th in a month. And there’s plenty of fuel still in the engine.
So it’s all to play for. And with rumours being banded around from Stevenage fans that their away following of 500 outsang the Wolves crowd for the full 90 minutes, lets hope we get a nice last-minute take up of fans potty to shout the Bees on up at Molineaux.
With Brentford sales closing in on 1,750 tickets sold with a week still to go, if there is any match we’re going to out-sing the home opposition, this is the one. So rain or shine. Train, bus, car, coach, bike – you gotta be there. Target 2,000.
C’mon you Bees