Brentford’s new Championship season got off to a storming start at a sun drenched Griffin Park this weekend, with the Bees smashing five goals past newly promoted Rotherham United.
Any fears that The Millers would provide a stern test at the new campaign curtain-raiser were soon dispelled… the crisp passing and fast, attacking play, that has become Brentford’s trademark, had the visitors on the back foot from the start, and the early goal that we all hoped for was tapped in by Neil Maupay following great build-up play and a parry from the United goalie in the 4th minute.
Rotherham offered little coming forward and rode their luck at times, plus had the cross bar to thank, but the Bees were made to wait until just before the half time whistle before claiming a deserved second goal… however Dan Bentley’s classy save just before Sergi Canos’ 44th minute stinging strike was a big turning point and was critical to keeping things on track.
It was a similar story after the break… Ollie Watkins did brilliantly to slam home number three into the top corner of the net on 48 minutes, then Neil Maupay poached a second after Mcleod’s shot was pushed back into the Frenchman’s path on the hour mark.
The sweltering temperatures must have taken their toll, and the frequent liquid breaks made perfect sense in the conditions, but the Bees kept pushing forwards and a deserved fifth came when McLoad lashed home from outside the box after sub Alan Judge’s ball into the box was only half cleared in the 89th minute.
Bees will be kicking themselves that an otherwise solid all round display was slightly blemished by letting in a late Will Vaulks goal… the Rotherham player will be equally remembered for two ‘crowd groan inducing’ blocks that seemed to hit him in the nuts in quick succession.
There were impressive performances all over the pitch in the absence of Ryan Woods, and the attacking options that Dean Smith has at his disposal point to another promising campaign ahead.
As you will hear from the Beesotted Pride of West London post match podcast, and video (links above)although the mood was happy and upbeat back in the pub after the game, fans are well aware that Rotherham were not the sternest first day test we could have been handed, however, we struggled against the less fancied sides last season and it was superb to get off to a winning start.
Dean Smith said after the game; “We’re all excited about the group and what the potential is… But at the moment the word is potential and I’ve just said to the players that I was disappointed with the goal we conceded at the end… I think 5-1 is a good score, 5-0 is probably a statement that we’re very good defensively as well and I was disappointed with the goal as it was just a second ball drop from a long throw.”
Stoke away next Saturday will be a toughie, but top of the table Brentford can go to the Potteries with their tails up and hoping to build upon a very solid start.
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