Brentford slumped to defeat at Griffin Park on an afternoon where the new pitch didn’t play centre stage, instead, it was the Bees’ first half performance that was the cause for concern.
Maxime Colin was given his first start for the club, replacing Alan McCormack, however, despite a bright start in which the home side took the game to the Royals, Brentford’s performance went flat and Reading became the more threatening team.
After hitting the bar, and forcing several good saves from David Button, they went ahead through an Orlando-Sa header – the third header we have conceded in consecutive games – with the centre backs unable to mark the aerial threat.
Reading doubled their lead through a superbly taken free kick nick Blackman, however, the free kick was hotly disputed – the referee mysteriously awarding a foul that never was (the player looked to have tripped over himself) and Brentford paid a heavy price. The referee had a shocker all afternoon; even the Reading fans thought he was once sided! Two down, Toumani was taken off for McCormack.
Regardless of the ref, Brentford’s weren’t up to the standard we have come to expect in the first half, so it was of some relief that they put in a much-improved showing after the break – the two highlights were seeing sub Josh Clark, who came on for Gogia at the interval, grow into the match down the right flank, and Lasse Vibe’s energy, attitude and quality strike to reduce the arrears.
Brentford had Reading on the back foot from then on in, although they still looked dangerous on the break, but despite piling on the pressure the clear-cut chance that was needed to level the scores failed to materialize… Vibe went close at the death, but it was Reading who wrapped the game up when they capitised on sub Sam Saunders’ mistake before mounting a lightening break which culminated in David Button fouling in the area – he was probably lucky to escape with just a yellow – but could do nothing to stop Blackman converting from the spot.
As you will hear from the Brentford and Reading fans in the Pride of West London Post Match Podcast, and from the Beesotted video above, there are some fascinating and honest reflections on the game shared.
It is still very early days, and we must give the team and manager time to gel, but it is equally true that the players need to realize that standards in this division, and expectations, require a consistently high level of performance – in the first half in particular, most players fell below that, and despite upping their game in the second period, we do look light in the middle, other teams have clearly identified that our defence struggles to deal with crosses, and the new centre forward, Marco Djuricin (or Lasse Vibe) needs to make a big impact.