The ultimately comfortable win over Port Vale may well be seen as something of a watershed in Brentford’s campaign come the end of the season.
I, like many prior to the game, raised an eyebrow at the balance and make-up of a side missing almost its entire spine.
Pubs were awash with unfounded conspiracy theories and the threat of play-off chasing Vale grew greater in the minds of many Bees fans.
Three key absentees, all ruled out with wear and tear type injuries, would be too much for the squad to cope with, Kev would struggle to deal with the aerial power of Pope and our resurgence only really got underway with Dougie mopping up.
Which is why the performance was critical, and after the first 15 minutes it looked disjointed and edgy… until the irrepressible force that is Alan McCormack took charge.
Yesterday’s win was important for so many reasons, not least for demonstrating to the remaining few doubting supporters or hard bitten cynics that Mark Warburton’s words are absolutely correct – it will take a full squad to achieve anything this season.
More important than that, though, is the fact that Brentford possess a squad of technically talented players in depth alongside experience.
Sure McCormack might have deservedly taken the man of the match accolade but, for me, Kevin O’Connor’s performance needs special mention.
To come into a winning side and be given the task of taming a lively Vale forward line after such a long lay-off without game-time was truly astounding and a testament to his commitment and workrate away from the regular starters.
Admittedly he was alongside Tony Craig, whose assured displays over the last two months in particular, have been the quiet catalyst for Brentford’s good form.
But O’Connor, a nice guy off the pitch, and an inspiration on it to all young pros at the club, was simply superb – winning headers he had no right to win and showing a sharpness that grew as the game went on.
Alan Judge did enough to show he will get plenty of goals, that rare breed of attacking midfielder who buzzes around and is generally a pain to play against… with a ping of a dipping, swerving strike on him to boot.
Another big plus was the goal for Will Grigg, whose body language on scoring suggested that his time at Griffin Park hasn’t been that easy.
He is undoubtedly an intelligent forward who will get goals once he puts his shaky start behind him and beds in – bread and butter goals like yesterday’s will help.
It can’t be easy for a striker, who has done well at his previous club, then moves somewhere else to see his job being done brilliantly by others -but as Warburton says – the whole squad has a part to play and Grigg, I am sure, will prove pivotal before May.
To win, and win well, against a side on the fringes, with a depleted squad, can only be good psychologically and will help banish any fears that might be lingering in the boozers around Griffin Park.