BillytheBee returns from Valley Parade with no swag in the bag as the Bees get dealt a sucker blow by the referee. Luckily, Bradford fans’ hospitality saved the day – with the 90 minutes of football being an inconvenient side-show in what was otherwise a cracking day up North.
It’s hard work being a Brentford fan sometimes.
Seeing your team concede 9 goals and score nothing in their last two games on the road (both defeats) is an expensive bitter pill to swallow.
And this has been a week horribilus for Uwe Rosler. One that he would want to forget in a hurry no doubt.
OK we had a 5-3 home victory sandwiched in between the two defeats as well as a disappointing 0-0 draw. But to be honest, it becomes quite difficult for fans to draw a comparison line between performances week-on-week as the side is constantly changing.
Admittedly injuries don’t help. And we’ve been mightily unlucky in that area. But we’d be lying if we we didn’t say that most fans just want to see a settled side week in and week out. A core of players getting used to playing with each other, building on the vibe built up from the previous match.
Much of the early season optimism has all but evaporated as a mere 256 fans could be bothered to make the trip up North to, it has to be said, an incredibly hospitable Bradford City.
The reality is starting to set in. Promotion is by no means a formality. We all now realise that the team are going to have to work harder than ever before. And ironically compared to last season when we were disappointed when we reached the play-offs, this season if we don’t knuckle down we will actually be grateful if we get the same opportunity again.
“Why the doom and gloom?” after losing only Brentford’s first league game one may ask. The fact is, the warning signs have been there bubbling under all season. The Sheffield United game gave us false hope. Yes we tore them apart. But in retrospect the result wasn’t as special as we thought at the time as The Blades have become the division’s whipping boys – getting clumped up left right and centre by every tom, dick and harry.
What is still worrying, and this has been highlighted in pretty much every every game since this season bar the United league game and Dagenham and AFC Wimbledon cup games, is our inability to still turn our neat possession into goals – a massive problem last season which saw us miss out on automatic promotion. Many fans were patient as they felt we were merely unlucky in the earlier matches and goals would come. But now, alarm bells are starting to ring big time.
The question that is very much on the lips of every supporter is whether our back-up squad is actually as good as we really thought. Yes we have strength in depth. But the cup games against Dagenham and Derby, where we fielded what was in effect our B team, highlighted a lot of worrying issues. And when some of these players are slotted into the ‘A’ team, things haven’t quite seemed to gel.
Many fans are thinking maybe we need to forget the scientific intricies of picking specific teams to combat different opponents every week and get back to basics – of putting a team together that can win matches week in and week out.
And so to the match. The talk of the day was Trotta making the starting 11 with top scorer Farid El Alagui left on the bench. Saying that, Brentford started lively and were very much in control. The Bradford keeper pulled off early saves from Trotta and Saville. An enthusiastic Trotta, who was causing a few problems for the Bradford defence, also hit the post after a great ball from Fillo.
At the other end, the Bees defence played the ball into trouble forcing Button to clear – the ball hitting Nahki Wells before cannoning off the crossbar.
But the game turned on 25 minutes. A long ball from defence to Wells running in on goal. Button comes flying out of his area and was adjudged to have brought the striker down. The challenge looked a bit of rush to the head but Bees fans thought that Button may have got the ball. Also, there were possibly defenders nearer the goal line ruling out professional foul. Button was sent for an early bath leaving the Bees with 10 men.
Trotta was the sacrificial lamb as he was substituted for reserve keeper Bonham. Donaldson playing lone striker role up front.
More chances for Saville, Donaldson and Reeves before the sucker punch came. The Brentford defence failed to clear a Bradford attack and Hanson fires home on 41 minutes. The Bees needed to get to half-time to regroup but didn’t quite make it.
HT. Bradford 1 Brentford 0
In the second half, things went from bad to worse. A cock up between Bonham and Craig sees Bonham make a late run from his area while Craig heads the ball back past him to set up Wells to score into an empty net.
Ten minutes later it was all over as headers from Thompson and Hanson sees Bradford four goals to the good.
The Bees finished strong but whether that was Bradford winding down to conserve energy or feeling sorry for us I’m not sure.
FT. Bradford 4 Brentford 0
The stats show that, despite the one man advantage, Bradford had 5 shots on goal of which they scored practically all of them. Brentford had 13 shots of which 3 of them were on target which makes you wonder if we would have been been able to convert our chances if we were 11 on 11.
What has been becoming increasingly worrying is the goals that we have been conceding from headers. That would be less Of a worry if Brentford were banging in goals left right and centre – like Peterborough did last time they were in this division (scored loads. leaked loads).
Another question on people’s lips. Will Farid feel hard done by? He’s our top scorer; is now getting back into full fitness; but is obviously seen as as more of an impact sub with Trotta and Donaldson getting the start ahead of him today.
And Brentford will undoubtedly be looking to dip into the loan market sharpish with Button facing suspension and Bonham showing in his first few first team outings that he still does not have the confidence to step up as the main cover for Button.
The next two matches are crucial. A trip on the road to temperamental Tranmere, who have had a topsy turvy start to the season, has now increased the pressure for The Bees to nab all three points up there. That match is followed by a visit of Orient with their 100% winning league record.
Anything less than 6 points from this two games will see us meandering in mid-table looking upwards at the chasing pack. Yes we all know it’s a marathon not a sprint. But if we are going to maintain a serious title challenge, we have to be more consistent. And that means getting a much more settled side as well as taking our chances – like Bradford did.
But lets look on the bright side, things could be much worse. We could be in Sheffield United’s shoes. Now that would be depressing.