Following two top of the table, pressure-cooker clashes against Peterborough United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Bees headed up the M1 to bottom of the table Notts County to face a potential banana skin fixture. The Beesotted captain’s armband was handed to rookie Andy Cooper for this match as a pre-Xmas treat – cheers for your @beesotted Tweets and video clips, much appreciated from all Bees unable to be there.
Brentford returned from the East Midlands with a valuable three points in their quest for promotion.
County defied recent form by flying out of the traps and could easily have taken the lead when Button parried an awkward shot. Somehow the resulting melee was cleared with some help from Jake Bidwell.
County continued to threaten down their left flank and another attack saw a dramatic goal-line clearance from Donaldson. The home support clamoured for both hand ball and a goal, but neither were given.
Just before the break Brentford went ahead. Diagouraga broke up play in midfield and drove forward before threading the ball through to Will Grigg who finished calmly. That’s two goals in two games for Grigg, who is now quietly finding his feet and his form it would seem. He led the line well yesterday.
After the break Brentford could have added to their lead as County tried to force an equaliser. Donaldson broke free of the defence but failed to find the target and Grigg, this time the recipient of a delightful pass from sub Saville, saw his shot blocked by Bialowski.
County fans we chatted to after the game felt that they had a decent penalty chance turned down in the second half when Tony Craig appeared to handle a fiercely struck cross from close quarters. Thankfully the ref didn’t see it that way.
Brentford also survived a late scare when Button was unable to hold a McGregor shot but, again, the follow up effort was snuffed out.
The Bees had to dig really deep to claim the maximum haul, but it is a sign of more good things to come if we can play below our best and win. Six weeks ago we would have possibly returned home empty handed, as both form and fortune were against us. And with both Wolves and Orient failing to win, these three away points look incredibly valuable.
As we said, Brentford were not at their finest yesterday but did enough to win. “The sign of a good team” according to football folklore.
One small worry is that Alan McCormack was taken to hospital after the game for an X-Ray on his ribs. Hopefully just a precaution, and we’ve got Logan in the wings, but he’s a key player in this squad already.
Brentford travel (on a skateboard if early ticket sales are to be believed) to Carlisle in the FA Cup next Saturday.
It’s arguably far more important for fans to make their way to Hounslow for the Lionel Road meeting this Thursday evening, however, for what could be a vital decision on the future of this club.
NOTTS: Bialkowski, Freeman, Liddle, Smith (Fox, 68), Sheehan, Boucaud, Liddle, Grealish, Campbell-Ryce (Ball, 74), McGregor, Haynes. Subs: Spiess, Fotheringham, Bell, Murray, Showunmi.
BRENTFORD: Button, McCormack (Logan, 75), Craig, Dean, Bidwell, Forshaw, Douglas, Diagouraga (Saville, 55), Donaldson, Grigg, Harris (Saunders, 81). Subs: Lee, El Alagui, Nugent, Trotta.
ATTENDANCE: 5,132 (734 away).