When Daniel Bentley took his time over a goal kick to run the clock down in the Second City battle with Brum, it was quite possibly a pivotal moment in Brentford’s season.
I hate timewasting, disliked Neal Maupay’s embarrassing goalmouth ‘drop’ and believe the moronic minority of Blues ‘fans’ who hurled bottles onto the pitch should be banned rather than fining the club.
But there was an element of “if you can’t beat them, join them” at St Andrew’s as Brentford, probably reluctantly, adopted the mentality of most sides that have visited Griffin Park this season.
If anything, our ‘tinpot’ club from west London have an even more compelling reason to frustrate the opposition’s players, fans and manager… and at Brum they did all three.
With another baffling display from Peter Bankes, who has now booked 12 Brentford players in two games this season, we had to even things up by whatever means possible.
Blues were their usual bullying, direct and physical self, and with little or no protection being offered by the match official – who incredibly booked not a single Blues player – it soon became clear after the break that a hard-earned point might be a decent return.
Bentley refused to be rushed into taking his kick, despite Che Adams’ directive that he take it from where he wanted it taken and quick. Don’t like this side of the game, but if refs don’t clamp down early on it, then I guess we have to take all the help we can get.
But it was after the game – and you can hear the views of Bees and Blues fans on the post-match podcast above – that the real bitterness at being held to a goalless draw came pouring out as Blues fans goaded the Bees supporters and Gary Monk tried to escalate things with a sweeping ‘’pot, kettle, black’ condemnation of Brentford’s approach.
He quite rightly criticised Maupay’s fall in the box, but then widened his criticism of the side as a whole adding: “That’s Brentford’s problem, that’s their make-up to do those things. All the best to them for that, it’s not our cup of tea.
“If you asked a lot of teams’ fans they don’t really want to see that but they constantly do it and constantly get away with it.”
I’ve always quite liked Monk and rate him as a man manager, but comments like this simply add fuel to the fire for a City fanbase that genuinely believes their side plays great football and were deeply wronged by a little club that should have rolled over for them.
The fact is they were outplayed for the first 40 minutes of this game and only started to look anywhere near effective when they reverted to type, goading Maupay, ramping up the physical side a notch or two… not to mention the studs up lunge on Bentley.
Their tactics of lumping long balls into the box on the off chance of winning the second ball is what we expect from a side that will never dominate Brentford in footballing terms while their current mentality persists.
Thanks to the tweets of the Small Heath faithful we are now entering siege mentality territory and that’s exactly where we need to be right now, so we owe them and Mr Monk a big thank you.
For long spells we outpassed Blues, looked confident once more and there were even signs of the slick counter attacks that were our trademark a few months back. After the break when we needed to get physical, we matched Brum and rarely looked in trouble.
That’s why the post-match sour grapes were perhaps not such a surprise.
Even with my red specs on, “cheats” and “dirty” are certainly never labels I’d attach to Brentford, but if we’re finally learning a few of the dark arts that we’ve repeatedly fallen victim to at Griffin Park then, extremely reluctantly, I’m all for it.
And if the so-called ‘big boys’ don’t like it, then that’s tough.
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