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After the exhilaration of Brentford’s last two matches against Villa and Brighton, it was no surprise really when the Bees were bought down with a bump up at Deepdale losing 4-2 to a lively Preston side.

And very much like the game at Griffin Park where Brentford’s four goals in the 5-0 demolition probably flattered the Bees, Preston’s four goals painted a slightly darker picture than the actual match suggested.

Don’t get me wrong. Preston fully deserved their victory. And they scored some cracking goals. But even at 2-1 down, the Bees were very much in the game. The third goal – a quick breakaway for Preston which highlighted some of Bees’ frailties – totally killed any chance of a Bees revival as they quite literally fell to pieces from that point on, looking susceptible on every Preston break.

Some may say after beating Preston six games on the trot, they were due a result. However, it’s how you show up on the day. And the Bees went missing in action for much of the second half. 

The Bees can’t buy an away win as of late (the Midlands excepted). If there were any plus points to that performance, the Bees did not serve up the same sort of dirge that they offered up at Wigan and Norwich. As was noted by Preston fans in the Beesotted Pride Of West London Podcast (below), the Bees actually played good football in parts.

The lively wing duo of Jota and Jozefzoon were not as effective as they had been the last week. Word on the steet was Jozefzoon was carrying a knock. He was less lively than he has been the last couple of matches – giving the ball away for Preston’s 1st goal – and was taken off after 56 minutes. Jota caused problems in patches. But Preston were aware of the danger and dealt with it. 

Bees took the lead through Tom Field – a great header from Jota corner – but Preston equalised with great 25 yd strike by Aiden McGeady. Why he was given so much space to no one knows?

The Bees then went behind early in the 2nd half as Calum Robinson – a player very much on the Bees’ radar a few years back – scored from close range after picking up on a ball threaded through by McGeady and beating the offside trap.

Tom Field then did well to take on the Preston defence, beat them and put in a cross-cum-shot that was cleared off the line at the death.

That missed chance proved to be the turning point of the game.

Preston went route one. Ball from the keeper wasn’t cleared by the Brentford defence and was headed back upfield and picked up by Bees’ nemesis McGeady who managed to dance his way around at least three Brentford players before lashing the ball into the top corner.

Daniel Bentley was absolutely livid with his defence.

The Bees keeper then kept the score down with an excellent one-on-one save with Hugill who breached the Brentford defence with ease.

And Daryl Horgan – another player supposedly on the Bees’ radar earlier this season – scored a 4th after Sawyers lost the ball in attack and Preston broke quickly. With the Bees’ defence already having left for the train back to London, Horgan raced on to slot the ball past Bentley.

Maxime Colin got a late deflected consolation for the Bees after good work from Canos but it was too little too late for the West London side.

Zero points. But there were both positives and negatives to come from that match.

Positives: The Bees continue to try and play attractive football. And although they found it hard to match the heights of their recent dazzling performances against Brighton and Villa, the Bees were very much in this game for a good 60 minutes or so – unlike in our drab performances against Norwich and Wigan. As per usual, Preston fans were great hosts – showing us a great time touring bars around time which made the result slightly more palatable.

Negatives: Our patchy away form. The un-necessary giving away of the ball. The inability to deal with Preston’s more direct approach. And Brentford’s achilles heel – this constant problem of having goals scored against them on the break. This was a problem in the playoff season and something that we still have to work on to fix. Is this down to inexperience? Or is it down to a side that is still slightly misbalanced?

The way Aiden McGeadey skipped around our midfield at times showed how much in games like this in particular, we’re crying out for a solid ball-playing defensive midfielder.

So Brentford continue to be consistently inconsistent. However, we did scored two goals up at Preston. And we are definitely looking dangerous on the attack at times.

But we’re obviously the not the finished article. And this season we can be sure of having plenty more ups and downs – not being sure what will be served up for us from week to week.

As long as the team learns from this. As long as they continue to play attractive football. As long as these experiences set us up for next season. And as long as we beat QPR and Fulham and a few other teams along the way, I don’t mind.

Seeing the way Huddersfield learned and built from lower mid-table strugglers to promotion contenders from one season to the next against all odds, I would like to think that we can follow in their shadow.

Billy Grant