Brentford pushed arguably the best team in the Championship all the way at Griffin Park on Saturday, but were left kicking themselves that a couple of costly blunders meant, that despite having Newcastle on the ropes for large parts of the match, Rafa Benitez’s Magpies flew back to the North East with all three points in their beaks.
In fact, the match at St James’s Park was almost as one sided as Saturday’s encounter at Griffin Park, but with the roles reversed – the Bees has opportunities to put their visitors to the sword and secure a famous win, however, clinical finishing was the deciding factor – Dwight Gayle’s opener was a stunning strike and Darryl Murphy’s winning header gave Daniel Bentley no chance.
The ‘will he, won’t he?’ question, that all fans were asking in the pub before kick off, was answered by the news that Scott Hogan would not be starting – which divided opinion if the truth be told. Fans were split as to whether our prize asset would be even more valuable after a goal or two against the Geordies, but everyone seemed to acknowledge how important £15m is too.
Lasse Vibe seemingly allows the Bees to play a more expansive game, and the quality of football on display from the home side continued where they left off against Eastleigh the previous weekend – I have to admit to saying ‘yeah the Bees looked great, but it was non-League opposition’ last week, but after the final whistle this weekend, I was proud that ‘the Bees looked great, against Premier League opposition’… There were no points in the bag though.
As I have mentioned, Dwight Gayle’s opening goal a great strike, but he was allowed to run at the Bees defence unchallenged and then find the top corner… too much time… too much space… but Vibe had two guilt-edged chances to square the scores again after great through balls… he found the keeper’s shins on both occasions… but he was in the right place at the right time to do just that on 52 minutes, prodding home from a partially cleared corner that found its way back into the danger area.
Brentford look slick and confident throughout the second half, and should have taken the lead when Vibe was set free on goal again only to see his chipped shot come back off the post rather than nestle in the back of the net… there was also a late penalty appeal that was waved away that came after Newcastle’s sucker-punch winner.
Josh McEachren, who’d had another impressive game, gave the ball away just into the Newcastle half, a mistake that was harshly punished by a sweeping counter attack that saw Daryl Murphy head home from a superb outside-of-the-boot cross from Perez… the former Ipswich striker then gave it the bigg’un in front of the Ealing Road fans for some reason.
The Bees did all they could to get back into the game, with Jota coming on and Hoffman being introduced late on, and on another day the quality of play and pressure would have been rewarded… Newcastle were pushed all the way and made to look second best most of the afternoon.
As you will hear from the fans of both clubs, as well as Bees’ defender Maxime Colin, that feature on the Pride of West London post-match Podcast, and from the Beesotted terrace video (links for both above) there was a realistic honesty about the outcome of the match… A game that Brentford deserved at least a point from.
What did you think of the game and the decision to rest Scott Hogan? Share your thoughts by commenting below.