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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brentford Preview

Just when everyone was beginning to despair at the widening gap up to 1st place, plus our inability to beat the bottom clubs, it all came together on Tuesday in a solid performance to beat the new Dons. A rousing evening with a first goal from striker Paul Benson in the 86th minute in his 6th game for us lifts the Addicks up 4 places to 7th, equal on points with 6th placed Colchester and only two behind Bournemouth in second place. And we are now in front of all three of the seasons favorites for promotion, Huddersfield, Wednesday and Southampton.
Next up its another derby against Brentford who fell to 24th and bottom on Tuesday after narrowly losing 0-1 away to Brighton.

Andy Scott's the manager and he's now in his 3rd year in charge and that makes him the longest serving Bees manager in the last 13 years. And that may give you some idea of the rapid turn-over rate at Griffin Park as they have had 10 in charge in the last 10 years. Scott is an ex-Bees player who started out as assistant to Terry Butcher but was given the job after Butchers dismissal in 2007 so this is his first managerial job and he's already given the Bees their first trophy in 10 years by winning the Tier 4 championship in his first full season 2008/09.
But after last season's credible ninth place finish in Tier Three (although a hefty 18 points behind the Play-offs) they have slumped now to bottom place and after last seasons average gate of 6000, crowds are now down to 4800. And after only two home defeats in each of their last two seasons they have already lost their first two home games.


Brentford are finding it hard going this season in the League and sit down there in 24th spot with only one win, and 3 goals scored, in 4 home games. They've first lost to Walsall and Rochdale, 1-2 and 1-3 and then amazingly defeated top of the table Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in what was the Owls first defeat of the season. And although they kept another clean sheet in their last home game against Hartlepool they couldn't score either and the game finished 0-0. So only three goals scored in 6 hours of play in league games at Griffin Park.

Away from home its even worse with only two points won in draws at Swindon and Bristol Rovers and defeats at Carlisle, Orient and Brighton so overall its not looking very good with just that one win in 8 games. But, before you get too carried away perhaps we should mention their fine League Cup form where in a similar three games, all at home, its been three wins out of three against Cheltenham and Hull, both 2-1, and then Everton on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

But overall if you think we have hard luck in front of goal, then you should feel really sorry for Brentford fans with just 4 league goals scored in 8 games making them Tier Three's lowest scorers. And their current run of two draws followed by two defeats have all come without a single goal scored and after only losing a total of four home league games in the last two seasons things are not looking good for Scott with two home defeats already.

In contrast, the Addicks are on a run of 4 games unbeaten with two draws and two wins and after our only non-scoring game at Exeter, a 0-1 defeat, we have scored 5 in the last 4 games.

The Opposition
The voting took place last week in the PFA player of the month for September and rather surprisingly included in the 5 shortlisted was the Bees skipper Irishman Kevin O'Connor - the others are Jamie McCombe and Gary Roberts (Huddersfield), Aaron McLean (Peterboro'), and Josh McQuoid(Bournemouth).

Its a real home from home down at Griffin Park these days because there's no fewer than four ex-Addicks in the Bees ranks. Chief man has to be Charlie MacDonald who only scored one for us in his dozen or so appearances from the bench but it was an important one against QPR in a 1-0 victory back in 2000. He's now 29 and after a few years in non-league football with Crawley and Gravesend he's clearly found a good home at the Bees where he's been now for two years scoring a total of 37 goals with 17 coming last season. And Charlie it was that scored the only goal in the defeat of Sheffield Wednesday back on 5th September in a top versus bottom clash that saw Brentford win for the first time in seven league games. And it was an all ex-Addicks moment as it was Myles Weston who supplied the cross.

They also have Nicky Forster who has yet to score for them but got two for us last season in his 8 games for us as well as Myles Weston and 39 year old Simon Royce who played nine games for us and after Forster came on in the 87th minute against Orient last weekend all three outfield Addicks were on the field. And our ex-boys can take penalties as well as was proved against Everton. All three outfield players, MacDonald, Forster and Weston all scored in the shootout before Phil Jagielka missed for the Toffees.

And if you're looking for even more connections with the Addicks, Hermann Hreidarsson is very close to Bees fans hearts he being their most expensive player back in 1998 when they paid 750k for him before he inevitably became their most expensive sale as well a year later for 2.5m in a move to Wimbledon.


So with only 4 League goals to their name how is it that they have a top scorer with more than ours. Well, thats because of their successful Cup exploits. He's 25 year old Robbie Simpson, on loan from Huddersfield Simpson who's previously played for Coventry. He joined the Sky Blues at the start of the 2007–08 season along with a host of other new players, and was immediately touted as a future star by the man who bought him, manager Iain Dowie. That sounds familar, didn't that happen to us?

What Are They Saying?
Meanwhile, Bees striker Gary Alexander, who scored the goal against Everton (Myles Weston again supplying the cross ) looking for excuses after failing to score, and losing 0-1 at Orient 3 days after beating Everton, says they are not creating enough. "When we are creating chances we are missing them but we are not creating an awful lot"

Someone else was also discussing missing chances and it was Paul Benson yesterday: "In my head I can put it [lack of goals] down to switching clubs and the unrest that comes with that, plus getting used to a different style of play. I've been playing a slightly different role for the team and for the gaffer. I've been playing a little bit deeper than what I'm used to but I was right up top on Tuesday which is where I want to play and I managed to get the goal."

And early in the week manager Scott told the London Evening Standard, "My job is on the line if we keep losing games. There is no point playing well and then losing every week."

Meanwhile, the Sporting life were not very impressed by midweek football standards in Tier Three, "but a shocking lack of quality from both sides ensured real chances remained few and far between until Jonathan Fortune headed just over in the 78th minute."


We've had a total of 40 games against Brentford and managed 5 wins out of 19 games at Griffin Park but we've lost two of our last three visits there and haven't won since 1980 when we won in this seasons favorite scoreline, 1-0 with a goal by defender Peter Shaw. That year, thirty years ago, was the year we got out of the Third Tier by finishing third behind Rotherham and Barnsley. Could that scenario be repeated on Saturday?

Last seasons encounters were a 1-1 in Brentford with Nicky Bailey equalising with a penalty in the 58th minute after Carl Cort had put the Bees ahead 5 minutes earlier. At the Valley it was a record breaking 6th win in a row with Burton and Sam scoring in the first half to put us clear at the top of the table.

What's Their Secret?
At last we face a team that's even worse than we are during the second half. But surprise, surprise, despite the doom and gloom over our current poor second half performances, we've now managed to score more during the second 45 than the first, 6 goals to 5. But whereas we at least have scored during the second half, poor old Brentford have failed completely to score a single goal during the second half in their 8 league games. Incredible but true.

The Team
There's rumours that Rob Elliot and Christian Dailly will be back in contention for the weekend and we'd all feel a little happier if that were the case. Worner is clearly a good shotstopper but his lack of height is a bit of a worry while the steadying presence of Christian will be a particular perk even though we kept our third clean sheet of the season on Tuesday. And once he returns there'll be a real contest for the two centre-back places with the assured return after 20 months away of Jon Fortune playing his 196th game for the Addicks in Tuesdays win.

But, the most important player this week would appear to be Simon Francis who has the job of keeping the Bees main supply line, Myles Weston, quiet. Weston, still only 22, left the Addicks in 2007 and arrived at Griffin Park in 2009 via Notts County. Francis has met Myles before and will remember his last game at Brentford last season and although his team Southend lost 1-2 to a penalty in the 95th minute, he it was that put the shrimpers in front from a free-kick in the 9th minute. Weston also played that game and it was a foul on him by another ex, Osei Sankofa, that gave Brentford their first goal also from the penalty spot.
And they both met again in the return at Root Hall in April with Francis robbing Weston to set up Southends first goal in a 2-2 draw.
Meanwhile, in the Addicks midfield 20 year old Alex Stavrinou was again named as sub on Tuesday and there was no sign of Alan McCormack. Also on the bench on Tuesday was 18 year old Tamer Tuna. Stavrinou has already played for Cyprus' U17's and Tuna has already scored his first goal for the Addicks against Barnet last year. If we can hold on to all these promising youngsters we could see the benefit in a couple of years. Just look at Barcelona who last weekend had 7 of their team come through their academy.
But will we see another defender taking a cue from Shaw thirty years ago? Its been 9 months since Jon Fortune last scored but he came close on Tuesday. His last goal was in his home debut for Sheffield United last January when, after going up for a corner, he controlled the ball with his thigh before volleying past the Reading goalkeeper. As for Gary Doherty its time for him to prove his usefulness with Christian about to return and its been 8 months since he last scored for Norwich at Brighton in February.
But what will Parky do with his attack? The introduction of Abbott on 70 minutes and Reid on 75 changed the game on Tuesday with Kyel supplying the cross for Benson's goal. Will Abbott's cameo be enough to see him start at the expense of Scotty Wagstaff and will Reid's crossing - vital to Benson's scoring - be enough to displace Johnnie Jackson from his midfield role?

Worner; Francis, Doherty, Fortune, Fry; Martin, Semedo, Racon, Jackson; Benson, Abbott


Our third game in 3 weeks against a team in the bottom three and having failed to despatch the first two what are our chances of completing an unwanted hat-trick. Very high actually. Thirty years since a win there in what is a London derby and with so many ex-Addicks just champing at the bit to get a win under their belt at our expense. And their home form against such teams as Wednesday and Everton should give Parky some food for thought.

The fact that they are bottom of the league may change peoples ideas but back in the summer only 4 punters out of 38 on cafcpicks saw this as an away win which shows how difficult a game it was thought to be. Local derbies often end in draws and this could well be the likely scenario with Charlie MacDonald getting a goal in a 1-1 draw. With twelve players already on the Addicks goalscoring charts after a total of 10 games played, who'll get the equaliser is anybody's guess.


Wyn Grant said...

I thought Charlie McDonald scored at home against Newcastle to give us a 1-1 draw.

nelson said...

Hi Wyn, well, it seems we are both right. I must say wiki misled me a bit by giving him only one Charlton goal and as I remembered seeing his effort against QPR in January 2000 I assumed that was it. But looking at Brentford's stats they give him scoring in the League in 01/02 and there it is,Dec 1st, my mums birthday, a 1-1draw with Newcastle. What a memory you have Wyn.