After an impressive result away at Ipswich last weekend, it seemed as though our consolidation of the play-offs was deserved. And possibly, we would be able to hold onto this place when the season ended.
Saturday saw us face the Welsh Bluebirds – Cardiff. Their manager Russell Slade seemed delighted to be back in familiar territory, and also a reminder that his former club Leyton Orient are still down in League One, as he failed to get them into the second tier last season. Slade wanted to show off his mid-table side; looking to get back at us for their 3-2 defeat back in December. Our home record has been extremely good lately; with the last two home games seeing us put 8 goals past our opponents. Not quite this time.
With an old face back on the pitch, Cardiff goalkeeper and ex-Brentford hero Simon Moore started for the sheep-shaggers, with Kadeem Harris, who had been on loan at Brentford last season, on the bench for the opposition.
Although it seemed like a shaky start, Brentford began getting their confidence back and Moore’s effort to save Alex Pritchard’s free-kick only resulted in it landing straight to striker Andre Gray, who planted the ball into the net on 28 minutes. Further threats made by Jota and Pritchard were denied by the strong Cardiff defence and Moore making up for his earlier mistake; to the annoyance of us fans. We have seen Brentford dominate games like these and lose them, dropping points because we can’t quite finish the job. Although Cardiff defended well and managed to prevent us going further ahead; we should have been ahead by many more, and those goals would have been vital when it came to the second half.
After such a dominant first half performance, we came back out and quite honestly did not look comfortable anymore. The Welsh side used their physicality to bring us down and a messy defending error from Harlee Dean saw him collide with our goalkeeper David Button, in what can only be described as an embarrassing scene to watch. With Button losing the ball, it gave ex-Manchester United man Macheda the chance to equalise, sending the away fans up in roars.
From that goal it went downhill, with Cardiff coming back from 1-0 to score their second goal on 68 minutes as Button mistook the movement of the ball; expecting it to travel further than it did. This meant that he was way off of his line, allowing Revell to put the opponents in front. Bastard. As we sat in disbelief at what we had just witnessed, my heart sunk into my chest. This was Brentford.
The last 20 or so minutes were frantic and eventful – with Cardiff players rolling around on the floor, pretending to be injured in order to time waste and their keeper Moore taking an hour to take a goal kick (He did not learn this at Brentford must I add). The Cardiff side knew we would fight back at them. And boy did we. The last part of the match left us with our hearts in our throats, our bums floating off our seats and our eyes glued to the ball that never wanted to cross the line again.
Not only did they time waste, but the Welsh idiots thought it would be kind to tug at shirts, barge into players and commit disgraceful fouls. Clearly they had been watching too much Welsh rugby. The two sending offs they received proves this, with two awful challenges seeing sub Harris receive a straight red followed by goal-scorer Macheda with his second yellow. This made the challenge even worse for the Cardiff side.
They hung on, parking the bus as it was all that they could do – even bringing their skyscraper striker Kenwynne Jones into the defence for support. I did worry at one point that the beast Jones was going to accidently eat little Pritchard. But even shots from Dean, a scrapping header from James Tarkowski, and efforts from Tommy Smith could not gain us a point from the match.
On reflection, we should not blame Button for the loss of this game at all. Without him, we would have let in a lot of goals this season and it must be pointed out how fundamental he has been throughout our climb up the Championship. For Dean, it is uncertain he is suitable for Championship football, with a fair too many mess ups by him leading to such stupid goals. No one deserves to be blamed, it was just not our day. It was messy goals made by such a poor team – who had no style and no spark, at least we don’t have to watch that every week. Instead we get heart break, ups and downs, and kicks in the teeth, and sometimes, just sometimes we get beaming smiles and fireworks. That is just Brentford for you.
What is important is we are still sixth. It is frustrating that we tripped up as the teams around us seemed to fall down as well – but that doesn’t mean we can’t get back to pursuing the play off dream tomorrow night. We make mistakes, we get punished. Let’s just do what we do best, and score a 4 goal thriller like we have done the past two Tuesday night games. Bring on the Blackburn.