The Bees bounced back from defeat at Watford by recording a decisive victory in style, and gained a measure of revenge for the promotion preventing actions of Jamie Cureton way back in 2002 to boot.
Alex Pritchard was recalled in place of Toumani in the only change from the team that had given such an encouraging midweek showing at Vicarage Road. From the first minute Brentford looked to take the initiative and were almost rewarded instantly when a swift move saw Alan Judge play Pritchard in only to see his first time shot agonizingly hit the outside of a post.
While the scores were level it seemed the first goal could come from either side as the match flowed from end to end, which encouraged the visiting supporters enough to break into ‘Oh Jamie Cureton’ chanting. Something had to be done to stop this and it came on 11 minutes when penalty box ping pong lead to an opportunistic Jota slotting home to simultaneously delight the GP faithful and bring to an abrupt end references to the veteran strikers goal 12 years ago in the last meeting.
After the Spaniard and home fans alike had finished celebrating, the game continued to ebb and flow as it had in the opening stages, crosses seemed most likely to bring an equalizer but Tarky and co stood resolute in defence.
Just after the half hour an unusual turn of events lead to a second goal for the Bees. Reading looked to play out from the back but hadn’t counted on Dougie doing what he does and breaking up opposing teams moves.
Having taken possession midfield general set about creating a chance for Andre Gray. Barring the opening goal Reading had looked solid at the back, however in shaping to shoot Gray slipped on the moistened playing surface in the penalty area, allowing Pritchard to run into space left by the two visiting defenders closing down Andre’s shot, giving the Spurs loanee and England Under 21 international a golden opportunity to double the lead, which he took with aplomb.
To their credit Reading didn’t give up having gone 2-0 down. They seemed intent on making a game of it. Brentford on the other hand appeared at times to think the game was over, to the degree that fancy passing mixed with flicks and tricks prompted a few ‘Ole’s from sections of Ealing Road.
The Bees made it to have time with the 2 goal cushion intact. At the start of the second period a double substitution saw Mackie and Cox come on to provide some experience and guile to their attack and it was the two subs who had an immediate impact when Mackie saw his shot deflect into the path of Cox to make it 2-1. The naivety of some of The Bees to think it was game over could have been punished and maybe on another day by a more clinical team it would have been, Reading forced an impressive 15 corners but were ultimately unable to level the score.
With 9 minutes remaining from a rare corner of our own The Bees restored the two goal advantage when Dougie rose above all challengers to power a header against the bar and into the net for 3-1 and this time it was to prove game over.
A satisfying result, one which will give confidence that we do in fact belong at this level, however, a word of caution, it seems that the youth within the squad could prove to be a curse in addition to the blessing it has proved to be in the main so far. They need to keep pressing for more even when in seemingly commanding leads, stronger sides than Reading will punish us if we keep sitting back on leads.
Not that this should take away from what has been a highly promising start to the season. With another international break upon us we need to hit the ground running after it, there are three challenging but ultimately winnable games coming up in the immediate future. If we can focus and concentrate for 94 plus minutes of the majority games regardless of score line we’ll be fine.
It’s all about Beelief
By Chris Horricks