So there’s absolutely no doubt that the three points gained today are vital ones. Even at this early stage of the season, a defeat to a team who in all likeliness will be in amongst the relegation shakeup at the end of the season, would have been unthinkable and in a roundabout kind of way, we avoided that morale crushing defeat and turned it into a confidence boosting victory.
It will not be lost on any of us though that the three wins this season have come against Bristol City, Preston and Rotherham, teams that will be at the wrong end of the table, whilst we have been soundly beaten by the likes Boro, Derby and Birmingham who look like they will be occupying the places further up the Championship.
Todays performace in truth was an exact mirror of the atmosphere inside the ground. Flat throughout the majority of the 90 plus minutes, punctuated with sporadic moments of high energy. It was clear however, straight from kick off that Carsley had left the players to cross the white line fully aware of what he wanted. John Swift snapping into a challenge and soon enough Brentford could set off on our first attack. The surprisingly impressive Nico Yennaris overlapped brilliantly down the right flank and delivered a dangerous cross into the box that could only be partially cleared before falling to Alan Judge, whose sumptuous first time volley beat the Rotherham keeper all ends up.
I confess that I allowed myself to get somewhat over confident after taking the lead so quickly, not least because the chap sat next to me had boldly predicted a comfortable 4-0 victory shortly before kick off. Maybe it was the million free kicks that the referee was forced to award to both sides in the opening 15 minutes that caused play to be so disjointed or maybe it was down to the expectation level that had quickly risen inside GP but for whatever reason we didn’t really get going. Ironically I wonder if we hadn’t scored so early whether we would have been forced to dictate play and find the openings. We didn’t intentionally sit back but again we couldn’t seem to control the middle of park as much as we would have liked.
The first half was quite uneventful, Swift flittered in and out of play producing one or two excellent forward runs and Canos plays with such enthusiasm that you can’t help but love him. He’s got quality too, his pace and quick feet help him scare defenders and even after slipping, having tried an audacious flick he still managed to beat the defender to the ball, his final pass letting him down on that occasion. John Swift looks like a player with huge potential and whilst completely different to Pritchard I wonder if he could grow with us in the same vain that Pritch did last season. He will need games and patience but if we give him that, he could come alive.
The second half started terribly, giving a goal away so quickly could have been a killer blow, the Rotherham forward was given the freedom of the park to run into but in all fairness to the lad, he produced an excellent strike to beat Button from 25 yards. I wondered if this may have been the jump start we needed but again things just felt flat but without being terrible. The back four looked solid. Yennaris overlapped frequently and delivered a few teasing crosses whilst Dean and Tarkowski where winning their duals with Derbyshire and Clarke-Harris. Bidwell, who I’m sorry to say continues to disappoint me did produce some excellent football for our winning goal. When he plays well he looks great and as with his well timed run and pin point cross for Judge’s second goal he can clearly produce at this level but his distribution in general was poor and he again got caught out on a couple of occasions. Invariably it was Tarkowski that got him out of trouble. That said, credit where credits due, it was a fantastic ball in for Judgey to fire home a collectors item with a powerful header.
Woods looked better today and if we use him to his full effect he will get the ball ticking over. He didn’t seem overawed at all and coped better with the pace of the game. He kept things moving with tidy, short passing. As the game drew to a close, despite Rotherham pressure I never felt like we looked vulnerable. That is one huge positive to take. We looked solid, assured and resilient as we saw the game out. Gogia coming on was a good move, his pace gave us an outlet and apart from a sloppy ball that could have sent Hoffmann away, he looked good. Industrious and eager are the words I would use to describe him and whilst I’m not sure he will want the tag of super sub, I can see him being a brilliant impact player from the bench.
So despite not wiping the floor with what was in truth a poor Rotherham side, we must be happy with the points. The signs are there that we can turn things around and who knows, a good result on Wednesday may just set us on our way. It’s certainly not perfect but apart from one or maybe two chances that Rotherham could have done better from, we looked far more defensively solid and that is a pretty good base from which to work off. The jury is out on Djuricin and Hoffmann but with options now in Gogia, Swift, Canos, Vibe and Judge in the advanced positions, it may just be that we can turn the corner.
So rather than view this as a scrappy 2-1 win, I’m looking at it as a step in the right direction and by breaking things down we’ve actually started to do more things right and make less mistakes. That by anyone’s standards is a huge improvement.
Up the Bees