Brentford suffered their heaviest league defeat in a year as an assured looking Middlesbrough took full advantage of their visitors still finding their feet at a higher level.
They say young players learn more from losing than winning and If it takes heavy defeats for lessons to be learnt, then results like this could be a blessing in disguise.
In the first half the play from both sides was pretty equal, albeit Boro looked more assured in possession and tested Dave Button on several occasions.
Warby’s Bees on the other hand didn’t muster a single shot on target in the whole half despite forcing two corners.
Middlesbrough looked dangerous every time they attacked down the flanks with Albert Adomah having a field day with Alan McCormack.
Possession at times was gifted to the Teeside club by a mixture of misplaced passing or Bees players, Alex Pritchard in particular, taking 3 touches too many or trying to do everything themselves. When trickery and skill comes off it looks sensational and it often has already in the opening few games of the season.
There does however need to be a Plan B when, as today, the show boating and elaborate moves weren’t producing the desired results.
Shortly after the half hour mark the goal Boro had threatened arrived. In truth there was nothing the Bees defence could have done to deal with it any better to deal with it, coming as it did from a 20 plus yard speculative effort that found its way into the net. This should serve as a timely reminder to Brentford of what can happen when taking pot shots.
Only being 1 goal down at half time to an established Championship club, with ambitions of a return to The Premier League, gave cause for optimism amongst the 567 Bees who had made the journey north, some of whom were perplexed by how Boro were in the lead, however in all honesty they deserved to be ahead as they had been the better side.
Shortly after the break the hosts lead was doubled. A simple through ball to a wide area and a chipped cross later and Adomah had headed a deserved second to the delight of Teeside. The game was effectively over as a contest at that point. However one potential positive if indeed it can been termed as such, was that heads didn’t drop and the approach play from Brentford remained the same.
What was definitely not a positive was Andre Gray’s response to a cross evading his reach was to stamp both feet and wave his arms around rather than competing for the ball, perhaps he’s used to Conference football and the less resolute defending compared to The Championship, however he’s a young man leading the line as the figure head of a young hungry team, he does need a strike partner to help him as 1 striker doesn’t often work in my opinion.
20 minutes later and it was 3-0, Patrick Bamford, one of Brentford’s summer targets, before Boro snapped him up, showed why he was tracked by numerous clubs by converting a flighted cross beyond Button and into the net.
With time running out and his team in a commanding lead, Middlesbrough’s Dean Whitehead decided to take a lump out of Alan Judge with a swift boot, the ref wasted no time in brandishing a deserved straight red for what was a nasty needless action, especially occurring as it did on the half way line.
There was still time for Spanish substitute Kike to complete the scoring with a delightful chip which left Button with no chance.
Losing in such a manner is never nice, however we lost 4-0 at Bradford last season, and no disrespect to Bradford but Middlesbrough are a bit better than them, which in a way can be seen as a mark of improvement, to play superior opposition and end up with the same result.
When adversity came our way in League 1 last season it was responded to it superbly. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Brentford to come to terms and grow in to being a Championship club and the standards and demands that come with it.
It is still extremely early in the season but from what I’ve seen there is reason to believe this won’t be our only season at this level. Keeping a cool head but at the same time realising short comings could be key but Beelieve and support Warby and Co, they know what is required and how to get it
By Chris Horricks