It has been a while since I’ve ventured to an away day, and what a buzz it gives you. Of course I love my Saturday afternoons down at Griffin Park; but having an adventure across the country, here and there, is exciting itself.
This particular Saturday afternoon saw us face our promotion rivals, Ipswich Town. Mick McCarthy’s men had lost their last two games in the Championship, seeing them slip out of the play-off spot into seventh place, one point behind the mighty Brentford.
We seeked revenge for the 4-2 defeat at home back on Boxing Day – ruining Christmases in every Brentford household. There was a hope that we could get a point, as Ipswich were a good side, and our record lately away from home had been shady. It seemed as though Brentford could only win or lose, never in between, with our last draw being against Sheffield Wednesday in October.
The ground was spectacular – our fans screamed around me, making the atmosphere ignite. Another fantastic away support. The first 20 minutes were gruellingly long, with a 9 minute opener from Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy sending butterflies around my stomach. This is never good. Murphy was in fact rested for Ipswich’s meeting with Leeds in the week, as McCarthy wanted him fit for us. How flattering.
25 minutes into the game and on fire midfielder Jonathon Douglas headed past Town goalkeeper Gerken, after he had already stopped Stuart Dallas’ effort getting in. The rest of the first half saw chances for both sides, with strikes from Alan Judge and Andre Gray keeping the Town defence on their toes, whilst at the other end our back four were tested also.
With half time ticking by fast, I had a slow feeling of sickness dawning on me, I hate this feeling. It wasn’t me doubting that Brentford could win this, or worrying that we could throw it away, it was just Brentford, watching them play and being a fan. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets like this.
The second half started with a heart attack, with Murphy luckily missing a sitter and pushing the ball over the goal. The Ipswich side enjoyed hoofing the ball up to Murphy, which he easily latched on to, sprinting through our defenders – often elbowing and shoving as he did – and causing David Button to have a very tense game. Lucky for us, our goalie Button did an outstanding job, making crucial saves and denying Ipswich their chances. Although our opponents became dangerous to handle at times, it was only the difference in their play that seemed to confuse and break us down. Their hoofing of the ball resulted in constant attack on our defenders – most noticeably Moses Odubajo seemed to be picked on a lot – which we did seem to struggle with. But on the other hand, the same can be said for Ipswich.
Brentford did not let their opposition’s play bring them down, and continued to push, having their fair share of the chances, which left the match open throughout the 90 minutes. Both teams displayed why the top end of the Championship is so hard to predict.
Both the Bees and Ipswich Town stay in their places of sixth and seventh, with McCarthy praising our side and seeming extremely modest as he says our team “must be good because we are a point above them”. I will take that as a compliment Mick. The match presented two sides hungry for a play-off spot, in what is a very erratic Championship this season. Who knows? Some might believe that point is extremely vital in our push for the top six, others might doubt us and exclude the chance of getting there. I’m part of the former. I believe that point is a very important, well-deserved point, and a sign to the players that hell yeah, we can get in that top six and hell yeah, we want it. One thing is for sure, it is a massive possibility now. Top six cannot be dismissed. Bring on the sheep shaggers.