The Bees produced a solid showing against the only team to do the double over them last season but emerged victorious and in doing so claimed the first ever clean sheet in The Championship.
Mark Warburton predictably ringed the changes from the midweek league cup defeat. Dougie, the two Alan’s McCormack and Judge, Alex Pritchard and Andre Gray all restored to the starting line-up.
From the first whistle Warby’s men looked to close down their hosts at every turn forcing Rotherham to result to long balls, which proved easy for Harlee and Tarky the vast majority of the time. On the rare occasion they were allowed to play their game Pringle was causing problems and creating chances. Luckily the cross bar and Dave Button kept the score sheet blank, one such chance resulted in the woodwork being rattled not once but twice.
At the other end Andre Gray came close to opening his Championship account following free flowing movements which have come to characterise the fledgling second tier Bees. Jota looked to run at the defence at every opportunity, resulting in the pocket rocket Spaniard being double teamed several times without being given so much as a free kick.
With the game flowing from end to end and the half moving into the later stages, a move through midfield in which Brentford rode their luck and won 50/50s, ended with the ball reaching Gray in the box, the striker took a touch, evaded a challenge before rifling an diagonal shot beyond Collin and into the top corner for his first goal in league football for The Bees. Cue pandemonium within the travelling masses. Stuart Atwell, the referee who gave the goal that never was at Watford once, hadn’t covered himself in glory during the opening period but did at least manage to bring the first 45 to a close by blowing his whistle with the visitors deservedly leading.
The second 45, except for one slip by Tarky, which was covered by David Button, was approaching artistic by The Bees, especially Alex Pritchard who was leading t’Millers a merry dance with his close control and trickery, when they have had time to properly gel together he and Jota have the natural ability to remove any doubts that we don’t belong at this level.
A comical moment came when Pritchard almost got away with taking a corner knowing full well it was a throw in, much to the annoyance of the home fans and amusement of the travelling swarm of Bees, a section of which then sang a song to the effects of he was having fun at the expense of the opposition.
With the score still at 1-0 Rotherham kept pressing for the equaliser. However with time running out there came a scare for Brentford sub Scott Hogan when he innocuously twisted one way and the other before collapsing in a heap with his leg wobbling as he lay on the pitch, we all wish Scott a full recovery in due course.
Big Nick Proschwitz replaced his beleaguered colleague in a double change which also saw Jon Toral take to the field and the two subs combined in the 7th of 8 added minutes to deservedly double the lead. Toral jinked and weaved through 3 challenges before picking out the big German who had the simplest of tasks to slot home from 5 yards. Shortly after the game ended and with it The Bees moved to within a point of the play offs for what its worth in the first month of the season.
So far so good, although there is work to be done and room for improvement, which is a good thing for such a young squad. Warby, Wee Mental Davy Weir and co will know that bigger tests from better sides await but the way in which the new players have fit into the style of play that gained promotion last term.
The future of Brentford Football Club will make for interesting viewing but we as supporters can look forward to it with optimism
By Chris Horricks