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“Fine margins decide football matches” may be an overused football cliche, but it was so relevant on Saturday with Brentford once again unable to capitalise on their possession, and hatful of chances in the first half, to see off a resolute Middlesbrough side.

Andre Gray headed wide right in front of goal when he should have done better, a well worked free kick saw Jota’s shot finely saved by Konstantopoulos, whilst Dallas had a rocket tipped against the post by the Boro keeper. Leadbetter cleared off the line from Tarkowski.

But it took a mistake from Harlee Dean two minutes from half time to seal this game. Dean had the opportunity to clear a long ball, but mysteriously chose to leave it (rumour has it he misheard a shout of “clear it” thinking it was “leave it”) allowing Bamford to nip in behind him and chase the loose ball – Button came out and was adjudged to have brought down the on-loan Chelsea striker. Penalty Boro.

Grant Leadbetter made no mistake from the spot to score his 12th goal of the season, meaning that Boro went into half-time undeservedly one goal to the good.

Boro were surprisingly poor – particularly in the first half. The traditional passing game had been abandoned by a more direct style of football – hoofing the ball up to Bamford and Tomlin mostly to no avail.

Brentford, who had 63% of possession, once again dominated midfield. Boro came to Brentford boasting about having the tightest defence in the division – but time after time they were quite literally carved open by the Jota, Odubajo, Pritchard and Dallas.

The second half was a more even affair, with Boro coming into the game, and Brentford going a little bit flat. Button saved from Vossen who went close twice in the first few minutes of the second half.

Brentford had a lucky let-off when Adomah missed a gilt-edged chance to put his side two up – the ball sailing over the crossbar from ten years out when it looked easier to score.

At the other end Dallas was proving to be a constant menace – coming close with two cracking long-range efforts – whilst Gray beat his defender but shot straight at the keeper when a pass to Jonathan Douglas would have arguably resulted in an equaliser.

But Boro looked happy to soak up Brentford’s attack then hit on the counter and showed just how dangerous they could be.

As the game went on, the Bees started to dominate once again. And in injury time a Dallas volley was deflected over by ex-Brentford loanee Ryan Fredricks – Douglas then had a shot well saved by Konstantopolis in the final seconds as the Bees looked to grab a well deserved equaliser.

Mark Warburton was philosophical about the defeat after the game, saying: “Brentford deserved at least a point. The difference was the penalty. We were the better team in the first half. We did everything but score. One bad decision from Harlee has cost us the game. It was a poor decision, it cost us and he knows it, but he will learn from it.” All in all, a disappointing day.

Brentford have done unbelievably well this season. And you can’t knock any of the players for their effort or what they have achieved so far.

But on a morning when I am about to embark on an interview with Lloyd Owusu who, when firing on all cylinders, scored 24 goals in a season for Brentford –  the reality is we are lacking the fire-power to convert the numerous chances we create every week.  If we are to remain in the top six, or indeed challenge for automatic promotion, we also need to cut out the silly defensive mistakes.

The Boro fans we spoke to on the post-match podcast thought differently.

They believe we were the best team they have played this season by quite a long way – Bournemouth being a close second. they also believe that if we carry on doing what we’re doing, we will easily make the playoffs at the end of the season.

Let’s look on the bright side, I never thought I would be writing match reports like this one back in August, and Brentford fans should feel very proud of what we are achieving and the reputation was have earned.


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