A long day in the trenches that started in the misty black night of a 7am start and ends pointless, much the same way at midnight are rarely worth writing home about, but on this Remembrance Sunday-ish game up at Burnley, Beesotted’s Mark Bonner is giving it a shot. 

Sadly, on Coach 4, back on the M6, there’s not much of a party taking place despite an improved second half performance and a fine strike from Samman Ghoddos.

Once we got halfway up here, we found the edge of the dark rainclouds that shrouded the south and sunshine ensued. Turf Moor looked pretty sweet bathed like a half-n-half scarf in sunshine and shade before kick off, but I’m afraid, bar the shouting, that was about as good as it got.

Right from the warm up, I started to think it might not be our day. If you’re like me, you look for little signs to shed some light, and watching Alvaro Fernandez working with King Kev in the warm-up did not fill me with confidence. He looked nervous down there before his Prem debut and was not hitting his wide passes cleanly and was reluctant to ping anything without a first touch. It’s a big ask for him to replace the only No. 10, No. 1 in football and it showed.

After a beautifully observed silence during the last post for Rememberence Sunday, we started well enough, with us pushing it around in the Burnley last third, but without any real intent.

I had a bad feeling about Max Cornett – as did the Beesotted crew on the Weekend Review Podcast link posted above – and so it turned out as he seemed to have that irresistible combination of touch and decision making that only top top players seem to have. After only four minutes, our gentle probing was undone with a flighted, arc of a ball high over Pinnock’s backtracking shoulder and resulting futile lunge and into the path of the lively Wood. Fernandez got caught in no-mans land and Wood slammed the ball high across him into the net.

A fine finish. It wasn’t long before Burnley looked to be two up as a fast counter saw them zig-zag through enemy lines to Cornet who made no mistake, but was adjudged offside by VAR. Tight call, but the relief was palpable.

Only Sergi really looked prepared to run at Burnley and I thought he had a good 25 minutes as our vague threat seemed to evaporate despite being let back off the hook at 1-0. A decent dribble and low cross led to a snap shot from Toney which Pope got down well to keep out. The tempo raised slightly and some ping pong led to a spin shot from Pontus that was again goalward but headed off the line.

Before long, a volleyed throughball was again beyond Pinnock, and another chance was parried by an advanced Fernandez as he made himself bigger and Wood took too long, the angle shortened and his powerful shot ballooned off the keeper’s chest. It was a decent save and we were still in it, but not for long.

The second goal came from another high swinging ball on the penalty spot, this time from the left, which Alvarez again looked slow to react to, before Lowton got there unchallenged past a strangely rooted Pinnock with a regulation header – 2-0 down and Burnley looked fast and incisive on the break with their front triangle all interlinking well, with darting runs and one-touch passing causing us Halloween nightmares again and again.

Burnley had taken control in midfield and suddenly we were overloaded with problems. Onyeka seemed to be drifting wide right ahead of Sergi, Jensen was being out-muscled and and Norgaard sat deeper, bringing them on to us. From up in the away end, there were many instances where Rico seemed the obvious progressive option, but it felt like he’d done something to upset his teammates as he was often ignored in a ponderous first half from the Bees.

Countless times we shifted the ball and therefore responsibility between Pontus, Ethan, Christian and Alvaro with no-one really looking like they wanted it today.

A third goal came around the 35th minute mark after more slick interplay led to Connet receiving the ball wide left and a fabulous first touch saw him cut inside an curl a Benrama-rama past another Pinnock lunge into the top left corner to put us 3-0 down. It could have been five.

Pontus unravelled a little in the last few minutes of the half, with some strange decision making which led to him fumble possession and almost topple over. It felt like a perfect summary of a poor first half and perhaps showed that Pontus was either thinking about Malmo, half-time or the chance to take stock.

The away fans were left fearing a hammering, and when the teams came back out there was some disappointment that Thomas had changed nothing. With Bryan Mbeumo warming the bench and a busy but ineffective Marcus Forss seemingly forgetting that he was in a front two with Ivan at times. Burnley continued to pop the ball around nicely and started the half where they left off, Brentford were hardly a different animal, moving the ball far too slowly and turning into too many cul-de-sacs.

After around 55 mins, the fragile Jensen departed and his vaguely floating, ‘lets see if anything comes of this’ passing left with him and he was replaced with the energetic and aggressive Ghoddos. He had an instant impact with a driving run at Burnley’s centre-backs leading to some Bees pressure in the final third. After upending a foe with a strong tackle right on his own goal line, the industrious Ghoddoa took yellow, but suddenly looked like he at least believed we could still get something and his pressing and snap in the tackle aligned with fast feet in possession gave the bees fans some hope.

Vitaly returned for the tiring Frank the Tank — more Thomas the Tank (Engine) today—once again only managing 70 minutes. Janelt gave us more ammunition in midfield and although he lost possession with his first touch, his progressive forward passing turned the screw a halfturn perhaps.

Canos made way for Roeslev, which I’m not sure really achieved much, but Brentford had a little more about them after the substitutions and some increased belief led to a decent ball in from the left which popped out to Ghoddos who sliced through the Lancashire air to connect sweetly with a flying horizontal volley which boomed past Pope into the bottom corner.

It was a fine goal.

The ball finally beyond Pope gave us hope, but in truth, apart from a Ghoddos free-kick, we didn’t really have much of a sniff before time ran out and Brentford were well-beaten on the day.

Samman and Vitaly’s cameos were the only thing of note beyond a decent 25 mins in the first half from the ever-willing Sergi Canos. A fine win to celebrate Sean Dyce’s nine years in charge left the Bees No. 4 coach back a quiet place and the dark mood was matched only by the dimly lit cabin and the long lines of queuing brake lights stretching into the night on the M6 ahead.

This was our worst performance of the season in what, unfortunately was an away day to forget. Like TW8, a point seems quite a way off right now, let alone a win.

Mark Bonner