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BillytheBee puts down his beach ball and scribbles down a few words in the diary from his holiday by the seaside in Southend

Brentford stumbled into the FA Cup hat with a below-average performance against a lively Southend side who will be disappointed that they were not the only name on that No 30 ball on Sunday afternoon. Uwe once again rang the changes by putting out an under-strength Brentford team but one that he clearly felt should still be able to despatch the 2nd Division promotion chasers.

And to be fair, he almost got it right. With Forrester, Trotta and Logan rested for Saunders, Hayes and Hodson, Brentford shot themselves into a 2-0 lead pretty much against the run of play. And with a bit more concentration at the back, they could have gone into half time 2 goals up which would have put a totally different complexion on this game.

Brentford had early half-chances from Adeyemi, who shot just wide, and Hodson, who’s cross was headed over the bar by a Southend defender. At the other end, Southend had good chances from Laird who skyed a ball from 25 yds and Ex-Brentford striker Tomlin who missed three good chances to put the 2nd Division side ahead. The best chance missed saw Tomlin advancing in on goal then shooting wide when one-on-one with Moore when really he should have scored. That prompted chants of “That’s why we sold you. We’ve seen you play” from the 1,300 noisy Brentford fans amassed behind the goal. Later a ping pong session in the Brentford penalty area prompted players to literally throw themselves in front of the ball. From the resultant corner, Timlin (whatever possessed the manager to employ both a Tomlin and a Timlin in his team. Obviously to confuse the opposition) blasted over. There seems to have been some sort of beef between Moore and Timlin as the two were seen exchanging words in the penalty area.

Then on the break, Brentford had a total-football period, passing the ball around for fun. Ball comes to Hayes who plays a good pass off to Adeyemi who runs in on goal and BANG .. Back of the net. Good move. Well taken goal. Ten minutes later it was two as Sam Saunders’ cross was met by the head of Donaldson at the near post and somehow, with a deflection from Cresswell, the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Brentford were still celebrating their goal when the ball came across the Brentford penalty area  and Corr had a free header to pull one goal back for Southend. Southend had a couple of half chances after that and half-time couldn’t come quickly enough for Brentford as they looked to regroup.

The second half carried on pretty much as it left off. With just 8 minutes gone, a Southend free kick was floated into the far post and there was that man Corr to head the ball in unchallenged. The whole Brentford team ran over to the linesman claiming Corr was offside but he was having none of it.

Southend were still creating problems. Tomlin once again had a run in on goal  .. this time from 40 yards. With just Moore to beat, he shoots high and wide when he really should have done better. Uwe rang the changes and brought on Forrester for the ineffective Saunders and Trotta for the ineffective Hayes. Saying that, both players did set up the Brentford goals but overall their level of effectiveness in a game like this was below par. There is an argument that playing Hayes as a lone striker does not suit his game and he prefers to play just behind the man up front. But we’ll leave those arguments for another day.

Douglas had a good chance to put the Bees ahead but his header from a great cross from Bidwell is just wide. And Donaldson had a great chance to wrap things up. Running in on goal after a poor clearance from Paul Smith in the Southend goal, he has too much time to think and his weak shot was kicked directly at the keeper. Southend then also had a chance for a solo appearance in the hat. After some great approach play, the ball is crossed in and Moore pulls of a stupendous save to tip Tomlin’s header over the bar. Forrester’s wide shot in the final minute wrapped the game up and both teams will be waiting with tenderhooks to see what treasures Dave Seaman and Dave Beasant have in store for them on Sunday afternoon.

All in all not the result we wanted and resting key players has probably resulted in us having to play another 90 minute game (and that’s before extra time and penalties) a few days before we take on Tranmere. The pitch was horrible and Southend adapted better to the conditions playing it hard and fast and direct. Saying that, we’re still proving to be s hard team to beat – even when we’re not on the money. Douglas was Brentford’s man of the match. Running around the midfield controlling things and mopping up, he ran the show for Brentford that afternoon. Roots Hall may be old and decrepit.  But personally I felt the low roof created a decent atmosphere for the away support and had a much better vibe to it than the wide open cold spaces of Shrewsbury and Colchester. Pre-match vibes in The Cricketers in Westcliff-on-Sea was also surprisingly decent.

So we have to do it all again on Tuesday 15th January (the Orient game will be moved to next month probably). What team will we play this time? Well surely that depends on whether we draw Arsenal ….. or Aldershot in the next round … Doesn’t it Uwe????

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