Sunday, 22 February 2015

Bees trip up Cherries 3-1

Match Report
Brentfiord 3 v 1 AFCB
21 February 2015
Attendance: 11,459
Brentford and AFCB at Griffin Park.
Defencive lapses and missed opportunities haunted the Cherries at Griffin Park. The score line might have flattered the Bees a little, but there could be little argument in the end that Brentford had done a job on the Cherries and stopped them from getting back to the top of the table. The game turned for me in the second half when Ryan Fraser tricked his way into the box and was upturned by Tony Craig, who even put his hands to his head feeling that he had made a grave mistake, only for referee Mike Dean to present a yellow card to Ryan Fraser for simulation. Had the penalty been given it would have been a fairer reflection on the game, but Artur Boruc's failure to cope with a gently directed free kick from Alex Pritchard right on half time had already left the Cherries chasing the game, and Brentford played extremely well for a manager they know will not be at Griffin Park next season. It was all the incentive the Bees needed to run away with all three points.

There was just two changes to AFCB's team as Harry Arter is enforced to miss out two games and Shaun MacDonald came into replace him, while Simon Francis came back in for Adam Smith. Brentford also made two changes from their 3-0 defeat against Charlton with Tarkowski and Judge starting instead of Nico Yannaris and Harlee Dean.
The captains - Craig and Elphick in the middle.
First Half
Brentford set up with Gray leading the line and Pritchard and judge close in behind, while Peleteieo Ramallo offered good width on the right. AFCB players found it difficult in the early stages just to keep their feet with Ritchie especially probably thinking he should have had deeper blades or longer studs on. 

Wilson was first to make keeper David Button get down to a low shot in the eighth minute with the keeper's feet doing the necessary blocking. Simon Francis and Matt Ritchie were having some early joy up the right wing. The Bees were also pushing for a breakthrough though and they won a throw in the bottom corner after Steve Cook put the ball out under pressure. While Pritchard and Diagouraga were chased out by Shaun MacDonald, Yann Kermorgant lost the ball on the edge of the box and Pritchard played a low cross in from the right towards Andre Gray in the box, which bobbled around in front of the AFCB defenders. Ritchie tried to get there as he came back trying to help out, but nobody made a clearance and it was Jonathan Douglas who sorted his feet out first to fire home from short range. It was 1-0 to Brentford with just 9 minutes gone.

AFCB tried to make an immediate response with a corner but did not manage to get a shot on goal. Brentford kept turning over the ball and the free kicks against AFCB players were regularly featuring Mike Dean and his whistle being blown. Yann Kermorgant nearly got through by trying to catch on to a high flighted ball from MacDonald, but Button was out quickly to prevent a meaningful shot. Twenty minutes had gone and corners were not producing much for AFCB. Callum Wilson was another to fall over, but Ritchie was finding his touch and had a shot blocked by Douglas.

Yann Kermorgant was next to have a blocked shot and on the break Brentford came really close to doubling their lead when Peleterio Ramallo (Jota) ran the length of the right wing before cutting in and making Boruc make a full stretch save and Francis quickly cleared. The Bees had another good chance just afterwards, when Diagouraga headed through for Pritchard but he put his shot wide of the on rushing Boruc and the right post.

On half an hour though it was the Cherries that pulled a goal back. Marc Pugh profited by a bit of a mix up between two Brentford defenders. Diagouraga could not recover, clipping the ball up in the air from Charlie Daniel's hopeful ball in. Tony Craig was slow to react and Marc Pugh stole in, beating David Button and shooting against the post. Luckily though it left the AFCB winger with a simple tap in to equalise - 1-1.

I thought that AFCB might find their feet now and yet within a couple of minutes it was Steve Cook who was made to do a goal line clearance, as Gray had rounded Boruc and had sent his shot away. It was certainly running in from a tight angle before Cook's intervention.

A clumsy challenge from Matt Ritchie saw him pick up a yellow card and he soon ran into trouble again after colliding with Alex Pritchard, but Mike Dean decided it was not worthy of another yellow and a red card even if it was arguably more of a yellow than his first offence from where we stood.

It was the Bees that were getting on top with Daniels blocking a shot from Pritchard that went out for a corner. Then Alan Judge found himself all alone on the far side of the box from the resultant corner but shot wide. 

Brentford themselves were thankful of a last ditch tackle on Callum Wilson as he rampaged through the 'D' on the edge of the box, but moments later Wilson was receiving a yellow card  for a late challenge on Alan Judge. There was only a minute of extra time and the free kick was a fair 30 yards out. The wall lined up and everything looked covered, but when Pritchard chipped the wall and saw his shot bounce low in front of Artur Boruc, you could not have foreseen the big Polish keeper misjudging the bounce or speed of the ball, and his failed punch some how saw the ball run off his gloves and nestle in the back of the net - it was 2-1 to the hosts and half time.
The teams walk off at half time. All three goals could really have been prevented.
Fans had to focus pretty hard to see the writing on
the small scoreboard. Apprently Brentford will be investing in a bigger screen
 it said in the match programme - not before time!
Bournemouth subs at half time.
Second Half
I don't know if Eddie Howe thought that Matt Ritchie had been lucky to stay on during the first half, but he was subbed at half time and Ryan Fraser took up the right wing role for the Cherries. AFCB started with some more direct intent and won a corner off of Tarkowski. Brentford cleared their lines though and the ball was soon in AFCB's box with Tommy Elphick being accused of handball by the Brentford fans. Play went on and Judge shot wide.

Ryan Fraser was quickly attuning himself to the game, making good runs and not afraid to have a shot. From a short corner Pugh then put in a good cross that Wilson headed over with 49 minutes gone. Callum Wilson had an even better chance moments later when he saw his low shot saved well by Button.

Brentford were great on the break though and Alan Judge again shot wide after being put in by Alex Pritchard. On 55 minutes it was AFCB that nearly got an equaliser when Brentford lost the ball after a throw and Wilson played in Ryan Wilson on the right. The young Scot sped towards goal and hit his shot which thudded against the foot of the post and while it rebounded to him, he could not convert like Pugh had done in the first half and he hit his next shot into the side netting. He was furious with himself, but the chance had gone.

Brentford took off Judge and brought on Jon Toral on the hour. Wilson was still running into the corners hard and looking for opportunities, but Ryan Fraser was the one who looked on fire and a real danger to the Bees as he hit a shot over the bar from a corner.

The Cherries brought on Pitman for Yann Kermorgant on 63 minutes. Brentford kept pushing for a third goal with Pritchard having a deflected shot go wide for a corner.  From that set piece Andre Gray had a great chance at the far post but headed over.

We then had the incident that settled the game for me and not in the Cherries favour. On 64 minutes, Pugh had given the ball to Fraser and the slight of foot winger had danced his way into the box and was lining up a shot when centrally placed, but Tony Craig came rushing out and went right through him with a challenge that sent Fraser crashing to the ground. We all waited for Mike Dean to point to the spot. Then shock! Horror! Injustice! He booked Fraser for a dive and awarded a free kick to Brentford. It was a dreadful decision and cost AFCB the chance to draw the scores level. 

Just to reinforce the feeling that it wasn't going to be the Cherries day, Callum Wilson drifted in behind and put his shot wide while trying to hook it over the keeper.

A second Bentford sub was then made on 69 minutes as Andre Gray made way for Chris Long. Another chance for the Cherries was to go begging when Wilson put in a low cross to Andrew Surman at the near post and button made a superb save.

It was end to end now and while Pugh was getting back to make it harder for Brentford,but Artur Boruc was forced into a diving save as he was almost caught out with a shot from the left side from Chris Long.

AFCB's attempts were getting more ragged and Pitman and Elphick collided when trying to get a header on goal and simply got on each others way.

Brentford brought on Alan McCormack then for Diagouraga AFCB's last sub was Adam Smith for Charlie Daniels. The last 10 minutes were still full of chances, even if Odubajo was trying his best to waste time and picked up a yellow for not taking a throw in good time. It was Brentford who were looking likely to score now though with AFCB pressing everyone forward and leaving plenty of space. Pugh was pole-axed in the centre box by McCormack as Jota picked up the loose ball hit a cracking shot that came off the bar with 9 minutes to go.

Brentford had worked out that Fraser was the man to stop and Stuart Dallas was prepared to take a yellow card to do just that. The Bees were relishing playing on the break though and Jota had another shot right at Boruc this time. Seconds late Jota was in the box again and made a great turn  before finding Long who hit the post.

Mike Dean had not given AFCB much all day but Tony Craig was given a yellow card for a foul on Wilson late on. It was Boruc who was the busier keeper now though as Jota again forced a save from AFCB's keeper.

Five minutes of extra time gave AFCB fans some hope, but Pritchard and Long were trying to kill off the game and Chris Long had his shot deflected by Elphhick just wide in the first minute of extra time. Pritchard also forced Boruc into another great save. Not to worry for the Bees though, another break from Toral led to Pritchard crossing to Chris Long who wrapped up the game with a simple six yard finish to make it 3-1. The Cherries had been stung on the counter.

While this was a good win for Brentford and a blow to AFCB's automatic promotion hopes there were many positives as well as negatives in the performance. The first two Brentford goals were fairly gifted as they were not made to work nearly hard enough for the opportunities - defensive indecision in the box followed by a silly free kick to give away. 

Artur Boruc will despair about letting the shot in on half time but he also made some excellent saves on the day that definitely kept the score down late on in the game. The third was on the cards with AFCB pushing so many players forward. The pleasing note was just how well Ryan Fraser played and on another day the Cherries could have escaped with a point. At least the team is creating chances and Pugh is back in scoring mode. Brentford defended well and on the day also created lots of chances, many of which they did not convert. So I left Griffin Park disappointed but knowing that the neutral would have come away saying it was a great game.
Andrew Surman and the officials.
The players shake hands.
A tight game but Brentford come out winners.
AFCB players thank the fans.
Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels (Smith 76), Ritchie (Franser 45), MacDonald, Surman, Pugh, Kermorgant (Pitman 63), Wilson

Camp, Smith, Fraser, Pitman, Gosling, Ward Stanislas

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 8, Elphick 6, Cook 7, Daniels 6, Ritchie 6 (Franser 8), MacDonald 6, Surman 6, Pugh 7, Kermorgant 6, Wilson 8

Button, Odubajo Booked, Tarkowski, Craig, Dallas, Diagouraga (McCormack 74), Douglas, Peleteiro Ramallo (known as Jota), Pritchard, Judge (Toral 60'), Gray (Long 69)

Brentford Subs
Dean, Saunders, McCormack, Bonham, Toral, Smith, Long

Referee Watch: Mike Dean: 1/10 shocking! 

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