Jim Levack shares his thoughts as VAR comes into play just in time to frustrate Brentford as the Bees bow out in the League Cup semi final against Tottenham.
It was always going to be a ‘free hit’ but as kick off approached I foolishly fell for the old weakness of thinking we might actually spring a surprise.
Positives first. We only lost 2-0 to a side in the top four that was recently playing in a Champions League final, we never gave up and could and should have equalised. They did us proud and made Spurs sweat.
Instead the leveller that might have changed everything was ruled out by the width of a kneecap by the ludicrous VAR, a technology to improve the game which bizarrely hadn’t featured in any of the previous rounds.
Proof, if ever you needed it, that the powers that be decide who they want to win by dictating the fine margins. Or am I just bitter?
Spurs were the better, sharper side. But not by much, so we’re not far away from where we need to be. And will be.
Despite the plus points of the performance where let’s be honest we weren’t at highest levels, it was the display of referee Mike Dean and the Sky commentators that left a really sour taste in the mouth.
Janelt booked for a nothing tackle early on, Canos a silly tug where a word in his ear would have sufficed and then Dasilva’s slip and lunge… the only one that the VAR watchdogs actually got right even though there was no intent.
But 92 minutes Aurier hauls Henry down as he flies into the box, 93 minutes an Ndombele two-foots Fosu. Dean does nothing… not even a talking to. The rules seemingly changed as the game went on.
Chuck in Harry Winks verbal assault on Dean after HE had flattened a Brentford player – for which he wasn’t even cautioned – and you know there’s something a little amiss.
Dean’s agenda was clear from the first whistle… favour the Premier League side, a suspicion confirmed when Kane was given a free kick for fouling one of our boys on half-way.
Throw in some horrendously skewed commentary from Andy Hinchcliffe, using words like “mangled” to describe Hojbjerg’s shin and seemingly playing a game of football cliché bingo, and I was seething by the end.
Hinchliffe, always a master of damning with faint praise where Brentford are concerned, never offers anything of any relevance. Praise for Mbeumo not going down in the box? Silence?
Brentford and Thomas Frank will have learned lessons from this, along with Bees fans watching at home who will regard the Premier League and all its phoney baggage and hangers-on with increasing cynicism.
We’ll need to find another level if we make the step up, but this will have taught us some useful lessons for the real promotion business at hand. And showed us exactly where we need to be.
Then we can ‘look forward’ to games against top flight sides every week… and the outrageous arrows of misfortune of VAR.
Meanwhile, we should all be justifiably proud of our team for going toe to toe with one of the world’s best sides. But for Ivan’s knee we might quite possibly have gained the momentum to make history… so it’s fair to say we’re getting closer all the time.