The Bees season spluttered to its first natural International break this evening after a 3-1 home defeat to the Royals. Our man from Anderlecht, Colin came in for Macca at right back as the only change from Burnley a week before.
The first half was a footballing Rocky Horror, Marinus’ preferred formation of 4-3-3 was set in foundations of sand. Gogia who played the role of the invisible man well today may have well have taken a seat in the paddock on the left for the number of times he touched the ball whilst Vibe hugged the other touchline and Hoffmann drifted inland, 3 strangers playing like err 3 strangers with nothing inbetween.
In midfield Kerschbaumer was here and there and nowhere, anonymous, whilst Toumani played the holding midfielder like a man in a sinking boat as the rain fell and Norwood and Williams just ran rampantly through our midfield two. Judge looked on bemused as Reading in a mystifying lilac kit were made to look like a unathletic version of Brazil in lavender.
Blackman cut in and skudded one of Buttons bar from 20 yards early on and then the Hollywood named and afternoons drama queen Orlando Sa nodded home unmarked from 15 yards after Colin had lost his marker for the left wing cross. Nil 1 and for the fifth game running the first goal was in our net.
Then a great paw away from Button from a Robson Kanu header from six yards, unmarked again from a corner, plus a double block first from a shot from 20 yards and the follow up. Button was stopping this becoming an Oxford half. But he could do nothing from Blackman’s sweetly struck free kick over the wall from 20 yards. Nil 2 and we were taking a standing count after being given the old 1-2.
Toumani was hauled off, Marinus not a glance or a word, Diagouraga headed straight for the dressing room, the rain got heavier and the clouds got darker overhead. Marinus had to stop the footballing bleed as our wounds were open and deep in midfield and all over the park. In fact the most impressive home performance in the first 45 was the pitch, freshly transferred in, this new signing looked promising.
Second half we went 4-4-2 Josh Clarke on for Gogia, a bit of pace, some solidity and a bit of spirit. Vibe a game runner and crowd pleaser, ran down the middle to spark Hofmann but our German was in neutral today. Vibe decided to do it on his own, a nice pass by Kerschbaumer, Lasse turned his man outside the box and curled a right footed shot in from 20 yards, a pearler and Griffin Park woke from its slumber.
Clarke put some crosses over but Hofmanns boots were lead weighted and he watched them sail over his head then Judge was moved right and he tried but with no luck and end product. Saunders came on for the last 7 minutes on his 32nd birthday, but planted a free kick high and horrible into the Ealing Road with everyone waiting and then got caught in possession in Readings half as we huffed and puffed, 3 against 2 as Sam chased back like he had trod in treacle, Macca went across to cover Tshibola and Button took one for the team as the Reading forward danced round him. Penalty and it could have been red but by that time referee Madeley who was grim and lousy as the weather took pity and brandished a yellow.
Blackman rolled in the penalty 1-3 and the ref called time. We got what we deserved, absolutely nothing. 3 weeks before we got out of jail against Ipswich, today it wasn’t to be, but 2 goal starts do nothing for a Marinus’ gameplan. We have a look of a disjointed team, injuries have reduced us to ordinariness. The new players look nervous and unsure and the old players bemused and downcast.
Football is notoriously fickle, so we have to keep our nerve, but confidence and momentum shapes teams character and seasons, we have reached the first break of the season out of luck with injuries, out of form and gasping for a rest.
Marinus will take stock in his homeland this week a concerned and frustrated man. No need to man the lifeboats or sound the alarms but puzzles are solved with all the pieces being stuck together. Marinus doesn’t even have the pieces to put in place yet, much work to be done in the break off the field and then plenty to do on it.