Match report v Brentford

#1
--- Unlucky Cherries Leave Tier Four Tearful ---

As the year drew to a close, the Cherries travelled to Brentford for a top of the table clash which would see one club or the other take away second spot from Swansea. Who would see 2021 in sitting in a promotion slot?

After an enforced extended break, Tindall kept faith the side that drew with Luton last time out, although Josh King did make it onto the bench after his recent injury issues.

AFCB started like a team that had been chomping at the bit suddenly given their head. A mere 45 seconds into proceedings saw Lerma break down the middle and play the ball through to a diagonal Solanke run on the edge of the box in behind the covering defender. He slotted a shot at goal, rather than power it, and the keeper manage to get enough on it to take even more pace off it. On a normal pitch it would likely still have crossed the line but on this Christmas pudding it trundled towards the goal in slow motion allowing a Brentford defender to get back and make a still excellent clearance.

On eight minutes the impressive looking Billing sent a gorgeous inside cut pass to Solanke on the edge of the Brentford area but he couldn’t quite bring it under his control. However as the ball bounced loose Billing drove forward, picked it up and played a smart 1-2 with Dom bursting into the area with an acute sight at goal. He chose the unselfish option and laid it across the box for a tap-in but another good defensive intervention prevented the finishing touch.

The first ten minutes was almost all Bournemouth as sharp movement and even sharper passing left the Brentford defenders dizzy as they spun around trying to work out where the ball had gone. During this spell the best performer for the opposition was their rugby pitch as the ball kept sticking, taking off enough pace to slow down several other potential promising moves. The London Irish squad should certainly be due a pint from the Brentford owner after this one!

As the match developed both sides started to play a full part with the whole of the pitch in use as the game swung one way and then the other in terms of possession and chances created. The Cherries seemed to have real trouble on their left defensive side, repeatedly losing the ball when trying to play out from the back there whilst Brentford appeared to have identified it as a potential weak link focusing a lot of their attacking play down there.

It was pleasing to see the defensive shape held well with aggressive and fast chasing and pressing when required, Billing one of the standouts during this period.

In both the 21st and 22nd minutes Begovic was called upon to make smart saves, one by each post, as the Bees tried to fashion an opening.

Two minutes later the Cherries burst into life at the other end with Stanislas as the keymaster unlocking the Brentford safe by helping to create angles that left space for others to work in. It was a dazzling team move that eventually reached Kelly out left who hit a glorious cross into the near post, a ball that should be as tempting for a striker as turkey leftovers are to the dog. Sure enough, Solanke gobbled it up as he got across his defender with a well timed run and struck it into the net to make it 1-0.

The balance of play shifted as Brentford pushed forward in search of an equaliser and AFCB seeming content to sit back a little more. Handing the initiative to a team with an array of attacking talent is always a dangerous game to play but Billing was standing like a colossus almost every time a set piece came in and discipline across the lines repelled most of the danger.

On 35 minutes an outstanding piece of covering defending from Simpson stopped a ball reaching dangerman Toney in the box, every inch the equal of the Brentford covering challenges at the start of the game. The loose ball ended with a snapshot which Begovic saved but the walls suddenly looked shaky. In fact, from the resultant corner they were breached as Lerma lost his man which allowed him to muscle a header over the line to make it 1-1.

Half time came with the Cherries no doubt feeling frustrated that their early dominance and later taking of the lead didn’t leave them with their noses ahead at the break.

The second half kicked off with no personnel changes and Lerma coming to the fore, his hard work defensively mopping up loose balls, intercepting and tackling proving invaluable during the opening exchanges.

Six minutes into the period and Brooks stood wide eyed watching as Smith was left to cover two men on his own. They used the overload to flash a ball across goal but again Simpson was there to clear it.

David Brooks started this season as a player waiting for a Champions League team to come in for him. The last few matches he’s often looked like a merely average Championship player and did little to earn his reputation tonight. I’m not going to accept the pitch as an excuse again as other skilful players on both teams performed despite the challenges it set.

There was a slower pace to proceedings from both sides during the second 45 but for a spell Brentford seemed to be getting more possession. Both managers then blinked at almost the same time with Brentford going for a like-for-like swap whilst on 67 the lesser spotted Joshua King replaced Lewis Cook as Tindall decided to twist by changing the system to chase the win.

It almost paid quick dividends as the Cherries immediately came far more into the game as an attacking threat. Adam Smith was getting down the right flank well and Brentford seemed unsure how to contain the extra attacker as several moves fizzled but didn’t quite explode into life with a killer ball.

With one less covering midfielder there was always the chance it could cost AFCB at the other end and so it was to be as Brentford scored their second on 78 minutes. A breakaway left Kelly one-on-one in the area with an attacker who completely bamboozled him before hitting a cross to the back post which was gleefully nodded home by the man being marked by Smith.

JT threw on Surridge in a game chasing move but the match broke down into the Cherries ineffectively lumping the ball forward in the hope of getting a flick-on whilst Brentford broke away into space in the other direction. The only serious threats on goal resulted in two injury time saves from Begovic.

A defeat but a good performance. A draw would probably have been the fairest result but either side could have nicked the win. This time it wasn’t to be. Or, rather, it was the bees.
 
#2
--- Conclusions ---

- Play like that in every match and I think we’ll be fine. The big question is, can we play like that against teams further down the table on a consistent basis?

- Brooks is starting to be a conundrum. He should be the biggest threat in the team but he’s looked like a passenger in several recent matches.

- I don’t mind the loss as it happened on the back of JT chasing the win rather than settling for a point. The positive attitude against promotion rivals is one that I think will be rewarded if he’s brave enough to keep at it.

- Whilst it’s frustrating to cede points to Brentford we’re still very much in amongst it. However, the next match is now crucial to ensure we don’t drop into the pack.

- Left back. No point repeating myself but if Max does want to spend this window, please let it be here.

- It was an absolute pudding of a pitch, one that you’d be disappointed to see in League Two, so finding it in a brand new stadium at a club vying for promotion to the Premier League is a bit odd. Both teams did well to attempt a passing game on it and the consolation I take is the longer the season goes on, the more cut up it will get meaning the harder Brentford will find it. Unless football is cancelled for a month or longer and they use that time to instigate some repairs, of course.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic - 7
Standing tall once again. He's doing his bit.

Smith - 7
Good going forward. I'd need to see the goal again before I could apportion full blame for losing his man on the second goal. Often left isolated by Brooks not tracking back, or maybe that was his CM’s fault?

S Cook - 6
Helped keep Toney quite but a little subdued.

Simpson – 7 and Man of the Match
One dodgy moment but also several high quality ones. Helped keep the form man in the division off the scoresheet. MotM a very hard call this time but he gets it for stepping up. Well done.

Kelly - 6
Got the assist without which the mark would be lower. Totally skinned for the second goal, looked vulnerable and seemed to be targetted.

Lerma (off on 89) - 7
There were times when the midfield battle needed him and he was often exactly where he was required. Should have done better on the first goal.

L Cook (off on 69) - 6
One of his quieter matches of late although you could argue the second wouldn’t have been scored if he'd still been on the pitch.

Billing - 7
Aggressive chasing, some good passing and defending.

Brooks (off on 82) - 5
Disappointing.

Solanke - 7
Good strikers finish and gave the defenders a lot to think about with his movement throughout.

Stanislas - 7
Very good first half when he pulled a lot of strings including great work on the goal. Quieter second period.

--- Subs ---

King (on from 69) - 6
Well, he was on the pitch and we looked more threatening but not sure how much he actually contributed to that.

Surridge (on from 83) - (unmarked)
Not sure he touched the ball. Not a criticism of him but I didn't like the way we resorted to lumping it forward after he came on.

Gosling (on from 89)
Well he touched the ball... no points though.


Overall grade: C+
It's a result business and Tindall rolled the dice looking to win big but got snake eyes. A shame but he deserves credit for going for it.

It's unfortunate that our last three away games have all been played on utterly abysmal pitches and in those matches we've only picked up two points. I suspect it's just luck of the draw as I can't recall earlier pitches being especially terrible. Let's hope we've completed our quota of potato patches for the season.

On to the next match. Away to those friendly chaps at Stoke? Lovely.
 
#3
--- Conclusions ---

- Play like that in every match and I think we’ll be fine. The big question is, can we play like that against teams further down the table on a consistent basis?

- Brooks is starting to be a conundrum. He should be the biggest threat in the team but he’s looked like a passenger in several recent matches.

- I don’t mind the loss as it happened on the back of JT chasing the win rather than settling for a point. The positive attitude against promotion rivals is one that I think will be rewarded if he’s brave enough to keep at it.

- Whilst it’s frustrating to cede points to Brentford we’re still very much in amongst it. However, the next match is now crucial to ensure we don’t drop into the pack.

- Left back. No point repeating myself but if Max does want to spend this window, please let it be here.

- It was an absolute pudding of a pitch, one that you’d be disappointed to see in League Two, so finding it in a brand new stadium at a club vying for promotion to the Premier League is a bit odd. Both teams did well to attempt a passing game on it and the consolation I take is the longer the season goes on, the more cut up it will get meaning the harder Brentford will find it. Unless football is cancelled for a month or longer and they use that time to instigate some repairs, of course.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic - 7
Standing tall once again. He's doing his bit.

Smith - 7
Good going forward. I'd need to see the goal again before I could apportion full blame for losing his man on the second goal. Often left isolated by Brooks not tracking back, or maybe that was his CM’s fault?

S Cook - 6
Helped keep Toney quite but a little subdued.

Simpson – 7 and Man of the Match
One dodgy moment but also several high quality ones. Helped keep the form man in the division off the scoresheet. MotM a very hard call this time but he gets it for stepping up. Well done.

Kelly - 6
Got the assist without which the mark would be lower. Totally skinned for the second goal, looked vulnerable and seemed to be targetted.

Lerma (off on 89) - 7
There were times when the midfield battle needed him and he was often exactly where he was required. Should have done better on the first goal.

L Cook (off on 69) - 6
One of his quieter matches of late although you could argue the second wouldn’t have been scored if he'd still been on the pitch.

Billing - 7
Aggressive chasing, some good passing and defending.

Brooks (off on 82) - 5
Disappointing.

Solanke - 7
Good strikers finish and gave the defenders a lot to think about with his movement throughout.

Stanislas - 7
Very good first half when he pulled a lot of strings including great work on the goal. Quieter second period.

--- Subs ---

King (on from 69) - 6
Well, he was on the pitch and we looked more threatening but not sure how much he actually contributed to that.

Surridge (on from 83) - (unmarked)
Not sure he touched the ball. Not a criticism of him but I didn't like the way we resorted to lumping it forward after he came on.

Gosling (on from 89)
Well he touched the ball... no points though.


Overall grade: C+
It's a result business and Tindall rolled the dice looking to win big but got snake eyes. A shame but he deserves credit for going for it.

It's unfortunate that our last three away games have all been played on utterly abysmal pitches and in those matches we've only picked up two points. I suspect it's just luck of the draw as I can't recall earlier pitches being especially terrible. Let's hope we've completed our quota of potato patches for the season.

On to the next match. Away to those friendly chaps at Stoke? Lovely.
I think a fair account of the match I watched, they seemed to be a bit slower than normal . I think Smith was ball watching for the first goal, he never looked to see who was behind him. Kelly has a habit of leaving to much room between himself & the attacker, needs to get closer & leave little room for the cross. I think c+ is right
could have done better. Look forward to stoke !!!
 
#4
Its no good attaching Stigma to the Stoke fixture...no good at all..no meaning ...its just another football match against 11 players..none of which were there on the last occasion we played them....we don't know that we will get roughed up...we could go there and rough them up this time.
One thing alone means anything - getting the ball in their net more than they get it in ours.
That's it !....just that.
There will be no crowd to worry about.this time.
Whatever the pitch is like..or the wind or rain...it is of no consequence...its the same for both teams.
We just have to overcome all obstacles on
the route to their goal.
Have we the bottle ?
The Stokey might play like Brazil on Saturday...and we like Bashley or Stenhousemuir...it doesn't matter...its about hitting the net when the chances occur !
Our Midfield have to start using their time to more effect to get the chances occurring at the right end instead of recycling the bloody ball backwards...that's the thing I would be filtering into their heads during today and Friday if I was JT.
 

hba1

Star Player
#6
Just watched the short "highlights" and for both goals for an experienced defender Smithy was caught napping. Add to that his constant niggling especially in extra time the sooner Jack Stacey can come back the better.

Not a knee jerk reaction to one game, because others fell short as well, but this season looks to be a step too far and he is resting on his previous reputation and truly concentrating on the job in hand.
 
#7
Playing 3 up top with no pace creates a problem. Especially for someone like brooks .
When brooks does get the ball and comes inside the same as Stanislas they are looking for a one two from solanke . If that does come off where does the next ball go ?
There is no one running beyond solanke and there are no full backs bursting forward as another option .
Playing 433 is fine but you have to have one of the central players going beyond solanke . A bit like Stanislas did against Forest.
Also playing 433 means your full backs are extremely deep compared to 442 when as a full back you have a player in front of you that does help to provide cover when going forward
 
#9
Thanks for the match report but Smith was poor again so no more than a 5 for me. hba's post above sums him up this season. I don't think Steve Cook had a bad game 7. I was Impressed with Simpson, he's growing in stature. Kelly's a little all over the shop at the minute and has been all season but he'll get there. I thought Solanke had a great game before fading, can't fault Bego who I thought was immense. Lewis Cook quietly went about his job, Billing more so. I wish Jeff would look to pay a forward pass more often but was his usual solid self. Brooks seems a little lost at the moment. Can't fault stan he seems to be taking on the leaders mantel, when will he break down though is the question I guess.

They were there for the taking in the second half, they sat deeper and seemed to tire, snuck the goal then got rejuvenated. I thought it was a decent, organised performance overall with snippets of real quality. Brentford have something about them though, when you think of the talent they've sold yet still have quality all over the pitch, its says something about their recruitment.

Disappointing as the result was we're not even half way through the season yet, put it behind us and move on.
 
#10
I think Smith was a decent attacking threat going forward. Defensively he often seemed outnumbered which made it hard.

The easy option would be to blame Brooks not tracking back but I'm not discounting that was a tactical thing with JT telling Brooks to stay up and that his defensive duties would be covered by one of the midfield three. Whatever the reason, it didn't work and left Smith exposed in a way that wasn't really his fault.

Contrary to some, I think Smith hass been playing well the last few games and seems much more like his old self.

One of the most glaring issues is the lack of a genuine intuitive partnership on either side. Something we got used to seeing down the years so it's stands out.
 
Last edited:

Topfarrier

Fans' Favourite
#11
--- Conclusions ---

- Play like that in every match and I think we’ll be fine. The big question is, can we play like that against teams further down the table on a consistent basis?

- Brooks is starting to be a conundrum. He should be the biggest threat in the team but he’s looked like a passenger in several recent matches.

- I don’t mind the loss as it happened on the back of JT chasing the win rather than settling for a point. The positive attitude against promotion rivals is one that I think will be rewarded if he’s brave enough to keep at it.

- Whilst it’s frustrating to cede points to Brentford we’re still very much in amongst it. However, the next match is now crucial to ensure we don’t drop into the pack.

- Left back. No point repeating myself but if Max does want to spend this window, please let it be here.

- It was an absolute pudding of a pitch, one that you’d be disappointed to see in League Two, so finding it in a brand new stadium at a club vying for promotion to the Premier League is a bit odd. Both teams did well to attempt a passing game on it and the consolation I take is the longer the season goes on, the more cut up it will get meaning the harder Brentford will find it. Unless football is cancelled for a month or longer and they use that time to instigate some repairs, of course.


--- Player Ratings ---

Begovic - 7
Standing tall once again. He's doing his bit.

Smith - 7
Good going forward. I'd need to see the goal again before I could apportion full blame for losing his man on the second goal. Often left isolated by Brooks not tracking back, or maybe that was his CM’s fault?

S Cook - 6
Helped keep Toney quite but a little subdued.

Simpson – 7 and Man of the Match
One dodgy moment but also several high quality ones. Helped keep the form man in the division off the scoresheet. MotM a very hard call this time but he gets it for stepping up. Well done.

Kelly - 6
Got the assist without which the mark would be lower. Totally skinned for the second goal, looked vulnerable and seemed to be targetted.

Lerma (off on 89) - 7
There were times when the midfield battle needed him and he was often exactly where he was required. Should have done better on the first goal.

L Cook (off on 69) - 6
One of his quieter matches of late although you could argue the second wouldn’t have been scored if he'd still been on the pitch.

Billing - 7
Aggressive chasing, some good passing and defending.

Brooks (off on 82) - 5
Disappointing.

Solanke - 7
Good strikers finish and gave the defenders a lot to think about with his movement throughout.

Stanislas - 7
Very good first half when he pulled a lot of strings including great work on the goal. Quieter second period.

--- Subs ---

King (on from 69) - 6
Well, he was on the pitch and we looked more threatening but not sure how much he actually contributed to that.

Surridge (on from 83) - (unmarked)
Not sure he touched the ball. Not a criticism of him but I didn't like the way we resorted to lumping it forward after he came on.

Gosling (on from 89)
Well he touched the ball... no points though.


Overall grade: C+
It's a result business and Tindall rolled the dice looking to win big but got snake eyes. A shame but he deserves credit for going for it.

It's unfortunate that our last three away games have all been played on utterly abysmal pitches and in those matches we've only picked up two points. I suspect it's just luck of the draw as I can't recall earlier pitches being especially terrible. Let's hope we've completed our quota of potato patches for the season.

On to the next match. Away to those friendly chaps at Stoke? Lovely.
Agree with all of that ......i think you'd have to cite Smith's brain fart of a ball across our penalty area as a major factor in the equaliser......such an unnecessary risk to take ....we usually defend corners better than that tbf.....actually i can't remember the last time we conceded from one.........not sure what we can do with Kelly his demise has been as shocking as Bego's resurrection.....not the first time he's been skinned like that in fact it happened on the very first day day of the season against Blackburn....seems to have the turning circle of an oil tanker.....for all his faults going forward surely Rico has to be a better option.
 

Topfarrier

Fans' Favourite
#12
Thanks for the match report but Smith was poor again so no more than a 5 for me. hba's post above sums him up this season. I don't think Steve Cook had a bad game 7. I was Impressed with Simpson, he's growing in stature. Kelly's a little all over the shop at the minute and has been all season but he'll get there. I thought Solanke had a great game before fading, can't fault Bego who I thought was immense. Lewis Cook quietly went about his job, Billing more so. I wish Jeff would look to pay a forward pass more often but was his usual solid self. Brooks seems a little lost at the moment. Can't fault stan he seems to be taking on the leaders mantel, when will he break down though is the question I guess.

They were there for the taking in the second half, they sat deeper and seemed to tire, snuck the goal then got rejuvenated. I thought it was a decent, organised performance overall with snippets of real quality. Brentford have something about them though, when you think of the talent they've sold yet still have quality all over the pitch, its says something about their recruitment.

Disappointing as the result was we're not even half way through the season yet, put it behind us and move on.
Actually thought Jeff played some superb forward passes last night.....real quality in fact...I thought he was immense tbh.
 
#13
All 3 midfielders had their bright moments and their screw ups. Their area wasn't the problem as such, it was around them.

Lerma narrowly the pick for me, some of his through balls were delightful. Billing great at defending many set pieces, but probably should have scored? Cook mostly did what he does in keeping it ticking, and played a hand in our goal. But should have been more alert leading up to the corner equaliser.
 
#14
Very enjoyable game - shame about the result - with both teams playing excellent football at times.
I thought that Brentford were the best all round team that we have played against all season.