Griffin park looked a real picture in the snow on Saturday afternoon, and although the bumper crowd shivered due the sub zero temperatures, the Bees put on a performance that would have warned the cockles of most fans.
Lewis Macleod was handed a rare start and really took the opportunity to show what a promising player he is, and how important it is that we try and get him to sign a new contract… the midfield partnership of Macleod and Ryan Woods controlled the middle of the park for long periods… and the duo battled hard together, including winning a fair share of aerial balls against taller opponents.
Dean Smith was clearly intent on changing how his side coped with a more powerful side, in fact the gaffer had set up the side to be more combative in many key areas of the game… there had obviously been some ‘dark arts’ homework set for the players since Tuesday evening’s Cardiff defeat too. The Bees players ‘did a Middlesbrough’ by taking a booking rather than allowing Boro possession waltzing through in dangerous situations… a tactic that has been used umpteen times against us when Aitor Karanka was in charge.
However, after a solid first 20 minutes start, the Bees fell behind after Adama Treore was allowed too much time on the ball and skipped along the edge of the area before smashing a shot low to Dan Bentley’s right… the Bees defenders made sure it didn’t happened again… Chris Mepham underlining his potential, once again, and showing why he’s been given his full Welsh call-up.
Ryan Woods and Lewis Macleod were pulling the strings in the middle, with Watkins and Jozefzoon full of running in wider areas… and Neil Maupay enjoyed another decent afternoon up front, although he should have done better in the tenth minute, blazed over from seven yards after great build-up play.
Brentford drew level just past the half-hour mark when Macleod lashed home from the edge of the box after his initial shot was cleared straight back to him… it was no more than Brentford deserved.
As the snow continued to flutter down, the Bees, who were a little more direct than usual, took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second period, but couldn’t find the clincher or the killer final ball. At one stage there was wave after wave of attacks coming at Boro who, to be fair, defended well.
Romain Sawyers, who came on the tiring Macleod, had a short shift… the skilful midfielder seeing yellow card, then a red one, held aloft in fifteen minutes for two similar fouls where he snubbed out a counter attack. From the angle I saw the incidents I had no complaints, although other Bees feel differently about the second incident.
The result, although a decent one, all but ends any play-off ambitions this season, but the fans we spoke to after the game in the Pride of West London post match podcast (link above) were impressed by the performance, and Boro fans were honest enough to know they’d had a lucky escape… again.
It was an entertaining afternoon in snowy West London!
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