|Brentford 2 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 13th August 2016 Kick-off 15:00
|kpblues added 17:57 - Aug 13|
Brentford were the better team though.
A bad day at the office for the blues - does not bode well for the season
dalianwasexciting added 17:59 - Aug 13
brendanh added 18:35 - Aug 13
Mullet added 23:27 - Aug 13
442 or 4222 who knows? But Mick's still unfamiliar side lined up in something approaching a familiar system but never quite getting there. Webster and Berra with the usual full backs in front of Bart. Bru and Skuse in the middle and for all intents and purposes depressed between Grant and Ward on left and right. Sears a partner to Murphy.
It wasn't just the strikeforce who looked estranged at times, as Brentford's Championship tenure is long past the honeymoon period. Any previous alacrity a lingering memory as both sides and only our fans set about making themselves known.
If there were precious few causes for hope this week then it's all that is down our left. Knudsen and Grant look good. Not great, just good. As individuals as a unit. It was through them that a game lacking much in the way of cheer yielded some semblance of hope.
On the other flank Ward drove low and hard early on as Town capitalised on slow reactions near the beginning of the game. Recent hat trick hero Ward showed a willingness and have-a-go heart that grabbed headlines last week but was safely wrapped up by the Bees keeper.
Not a lot happened.
Then Knudsen was felled fairly centrally in a decent move by Town and the young Evertonian stepped ahead of him and all others to flex a cultured left foot and send the ball past the post. Courage for sure, but not the Dutch touch of yesteryear that would have sent the goal rippling and the throngs of blue behind it into rapture.
Too often on a narrow pitch Town went narrower. Reliant on Murphy. The old head was rarely surrounded by young feet to step up and use the slightest advantage won. It was a period where Town rose more than once in the form of Berra at a corner but found little but desire and drives offbeat and off target.
Bru stood out for all the inspiration and enigmatic flair so associated with his game. Like that mate that always waits for your round to order peanuts, one must admire the ostentatious midfielder's balls and count the cost of them in one go. He looks up and sees a gap, inside, outside, laces or tongue and lifts curling efforts about the park. If Sears or someone else happens to intercept them then so be it it seems, "death from a scuff" should be written on the ball just for him.
Brentford made their silent adoration from the unusually emptier stands acknowledge a glimpse of good play, as the villain of last season Woods sent them away and Berra let Knudsen clean up. It was unclear if the new back line were still finding their feet but today the senior man looked in the mood to provoke questions rather than answer them. From dysfunctional unit to neater bricks but lacking the cement of understanding. For this half at least the Bees were neatly repelled.
Too often Town went too wide with both their shots or too narrow in their choice of places to shoot, the old faces sought refuge in their hands too often before pointing fingers as crosses from midfield and full back on either side smacked of a team lacking rhythm and reason. Grant testing Bentley at his near post looked the best of the more unlikely attempts.
You can take a half finely balanced and fairly even if there is then an effort to use it as a foundation. As the youngsters on Town's bench all played a rare sighting of keep ball whilst idle chat floated across the terrace, the realisation that Dougie was below the stands in the dressing room prompted speculation of some sort of change at least.
The teams emerged, the professionalism from Town didn't. Within a handful of seconds Bart was grabbing air and giving the evil eye to the invisible man. No movement, no marking, the ball trickled from Egan's head and the blues who could only watch on horror from behind the net cradled theirs. A deficit given so soft you could sleep on it, and Town did. Nightmarish.
Town held on briefly even if Bart couldn't. Legs and limbs deflecting pressure for all of a few minutes. A corner again. Bru loitered this time by the unmarked post as Town fans tried to rally a defence no one else seemed interested in doing on the field. Suspicion for the second corner that the Mauritian was meant to be there previously crept in as Sears drove his clearance carelessly on the edge of the box back to the home side. A darting run and crashing shot, again Bart palmed only for the gleeful Egan to double his and Brentford's haul. Unbelievable. Not in a good way.
To say we had little chance of recovery hinges on one's view of the little chances Town made in the final half an hour of the match. The recessive 442 was collapsed after the implosion. Grant removed and Bishop placed on the right, with Ward switching over. Town now cycled between a diamond and a 4231 that teetered and never tipped the balance back our way. Murphy and Sears isolated as Ward kept plugging at the other end.
Brentford pressed on a left hand side which had barely been utilised properly in the first half but now Chambers and Webster had more work to do. The youngster signed from Pompey proved keener to meet crosses than the name suggests as he put his head on more things than his fabled foot. He did well as Sawyers finally came into the game as Skuse's shackling slipped with the increased threat. With Woods pulling the strings like a ginger Gepetto the former Walsall man went from wayward winger to wandering wizard (oh for one of those today). He and Yennaris visibly enjoyed the hospitality our boys gave them on their own ground, joking between denials from the defence.
As Murphy, Sears and Bishop all combined in a rare move of grace, the young midfielder and the disputed striker worked a wonderful right sided attack that ended with the Irishman once again too alone to meet what looked destined to be a goal.
Former home favourite Douglas replaced Bru who was clearly greeted by the usual cry, this time lacking any love or sense he was ours. The substitute gave Town more shape and shuffled in close to force home hearts in mouths with an effort that failed to connect, no force another grandstand finale to this fixture.
The home side surged up with a final two subs as the game played out in timid fashion. It's rare one will look back to last season with any kind of fondness, but for all the frustration of those injury time goals Town never looked like returning the unfavourable feature. Again we came here with new units, new names and Premiership loans, but during a clash between markedly weaker incarnations of both teams it was the Blues that were found wanting.
We wanted effort, that soon evaporated in the heat of a double body blow and the tropical shadow of Kew garden. We wanted for pace, for precision for the gay abandon with which we made the womenfolk of Griffin Park screech lamentations for the previous two years. Go back to that earlier campaign, to that Boxing Day, and Town went top of the league for all of an hour. Today we never looked like getting on top of this game for an hour.
Teams let alone seasons are never finished in August, but again we find ourselves in the Championship. Familiarity breeds contempt and there will be enough fornicating amongst the merchants of doom tonight. Again we find ourselves counting the cost of injuries and other people's new additions. Again we look to Mick, and over his shoulder - Marcus. The playoffs are a long way off, not just because they are in May, again.
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