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Every now and again we put up a guest post from fans of another club. Duncan Edwards (@duncanedwards8) gives a Norwich fans’  perspective of The Canaries’  2-1 defeat to Brentford. You can catch Martin’s blogs here 


Well that didn’t take long. After a whirlwind courtship and a two-week happy marriage, Norwich City’s supporters and Alex Neil had their first tiff yesterday.

A home defeat to a Brentford side that outplayed, outfought and out-thought CIty from the first minute to the last. Indeed the 2-1 scoreline flattered Norwich; there could have been few arguments had the scoreline been more emphatic as it would merely have reflected the visitors dominance.

As early as the opening minute of the game the warning signs were there as Brentford burst through a chasm in the centre of our defence only for Gray to inexplicably sky his effort into the River End. I’ve often mentioned how it can be better to be lucky than good and when we were let off again minutes later I did begin to think that it was a clear indication that the corner had been turned. It seemed that things were going our way on the pitch once again – that even when we were bad we were getting away with it – but that faith was both misguided and short-lived.

With O’Neil, Tettey and Vadis all missing through injury and Howson still suspended, Neil elected to deploy Steven Whittaker in a central midfield role with Bradley Johnson. It’s a position he has played before with Glasgow Rangers but it didn’t work here as we just couldn’t get a grip on the game. It would be simplistic and wrong to apportion the blame for that on Whittaker, while he looked ill at ease and lost at times, he was asked to do a job that he was, ultimately, unsuited to. In addition Kyle Lafferty had a disappointing day at the office which reduced our outlets and also meant that half of our midfield were both playing out of position and playing poorly. They were not alone.

The inclusion of Bassong on the bench received mixed reviews from those that I discussed it with but with him back in the fold I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t start the next game. Turner and Cuellar were as poor as I’ve seen them in a while but even then Russell Martin was worse. He had a storming game last week but balanced it with a shocker this. Uncharacteristic errors in judgment symbolic of a poor display.

Strangely, Olsson had a better game without tearing up any trees, but with so many of our side playing poorly it was difficult for anyone to shine. Perhaps the one glowing beacon was Nathan Redmond; on what would be a very short highlights reel, most of the things that were good (not many) came from the quick feet of the winger including our goal. Goals have been in short supply for him since he arrived from Birmingham, while that’s disappointing it’s also the only reason he still plays for Norwich City.

We’ll face a battle to keep hold of him in the summer, more so if we fail to go up but in the interim I’d be happy to see him scuff a few more shots into the net.

While Brentford played lots of neat, sharp passing, we were noticably more direct, looking long with predictable regularity and little joy. Indeed it more often than not just surrendered possession and allowed the Bees to have another crack at our creaking defence. The long ball can be a potent weapon and mixing up the approach play keeps the opposition on their toes but while it almost allowed Lewis Grabban to snatch a late equaliser, it wasn’t particularly effective.

Our willingness to hit the big’un was perhaps more to do with the personnel in midfield, the lack of creativity and the missing O’Neil and Tettey who take the ball from the defence and then carry or shift possession quickly and accurately.

For all that, we had options on the bench in McGrandles, Hoolahan and Bennett who are all comfortable in possession and could all have been included, it seems that our decision to play robust and direct was a considered choice rather than an ad-hoc adjustment to circumstance.

Much has been made of the strength of our squad but it looked shallow yesterday and many of us were wondering how close Cam McGeehan would have been to getting a game had he been around. Of course, you can’t anticipate injuries and that consideration is a bit “wise after the event” given Cambridge United’s heroics on Friday but while he’s rubbing shoulders with the midfield of Manchester United, we’ve got a right-back and a striker filling in and getting battered by the Bees. Still, he wasn’t available and it’s only a huge helping of hindsight that made it worthy of discussion.

If Alex Neil saw all things good, bad and indifferent about our team last week against Cardiff, he was introduced in no uncertain terms to both the expectation levels held by the support and also the fickle side of it. Booing the substitution of Hooper, ironically cheering the substitution of Whittaker and then a crescendo of boos at the final whistle; this must have felt a million miles from the adulation of the Accies.

I’m not one for booing but that people choose to voice their frustration, disappointment and anger in this way has becomemore commonplace. It is representative of the increased levels of expectation and symptomatic of the impatient “want it yesterday” mentality of modern-day football. People pay their money and to that end have the right to voice their displeasure in this way, I’ll never join in but I understand despite not agreeing.

Where I do draw the line is with some of the stuff directed at players. The reaction to Whittaker’s substitution was poor. He’s become a scapegoat this season and has become the 2015 version of Gary Doherty/Andy Hughes/Carl Robinson/Ian Henderson (delete accordingly or substitute with another name of choice). I’m not going to say that he’s been our best player, far from it, but he certainly wasn’t any worse than at least half a dozen others yesterday and didn’t deserve that ridicule, especially having been asked to play out of position for the good of the team.

Irrespective of that, the fans certainly weren’t to blame for that performance. It wasn’t good enough across the board. It was also a massive defeat in the context that instead of closing in on the teams at the top, we’ve seen a distinct gap open up between us and the Play-Off spots. It was a missed opportunity but one that we never looked like taking.

We’ve got a big squad for this level of football and a plethora of internationals so I’m loathe to blame depletion due to injury for our disappointing showing, we should be good enough and it doesn’t do Brentford justice.

Losing to Brentford at home sounds like it should be embarrassing, the unfashionable name of Brentford probably made the defeat hurt a little bit more. The truth is that they’ve put together a decent side, a side that were both better and hungrier than our assortment of “stars” in every department yesterday. They played good football, deserved their victory and were good value for more than the winning margin.

Of course I’m disappointed, of course I think we SHOULD beat Brentford at home but as with any game of football, you have to earn the right to beat the opposition, it isn’t something handed to you before the game. We never earned that right yesterday.

There’s much to ponder before we go to Birmingham next week.


Our third home defeat of the season was in stark contrast to the previous two. As opposed to a smash and grab travesty as experienced against both Charlton and Reading, there can be no complaints about what a drilled, organised and energetic Brentford did to us.

Playing composed short passing interspersed with the occasional longer foray forward, they caused us problems throughout. Pritchard was instrumental and while he may have benefitted from the Canaries makeshift midfield, he exploited the available space well and was ably supported by Diagouraga.

The Bees restricted Norwich with a tireless pressing game and this was partially responsible for the home side resorting to long balls. While these were usually mopped up with ease, there were a couple of occasions that Norwich might have capitalised on and but for three decent saves from the ‘keeper, Norwich might have nicked something they scarcely deserved from the game. The goal that Norwich did get was facilitated by some questionable defending and as the only slight criticism, I’d say that it’s this that could be costly to them, although had the forwards taken their chances early on it would have been irrelevant – The Gray miss in the first minute was something else!!

All in all, Brentford gave the most accomplished display of anyone that has visited Carrow Road this season. Backed by a decent following of “proper” supporters, the team gave a performance that must have softened the blow of the £35 ticket prices. On this showing there is nothing fortunate about the Bees league position, they’re there on merit and have a spirit and work ethic that we could do far worse than trying to imitate.