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The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “sam saunders”

A Nervy Finish and Great Brentford Pies but Brentford 1 Notts Forest 0


A very different game from Saturday but ending with the same result . Two home games and two victories. A tap in goal from Scott Hogan was enough. The first half was a scrappy affair really and either side of Hogans goal Forest had chances . McLeod came into the game increasingly with some superb passing. Daniel Bentley made some decent saves but saved his best for the 95th minute saving point blank to save the points. Sawyers had a quieter game and Forest in the last 20 minutes ran all over Bees in midfield. 

The sending off of Damien Perquis the French defender seemed to spur Forest on. Although they will feel unlucky to lose Bees did have other chances and Egan almost doubled Bees lead with a header from a corner. 


All in all lots of positives. Set pieces look far better already and generally work rate is high. Man of the match? Maybe Daniel Bentley for that save. 


The most surprising fact of the night though was off the pitch where Brentford pies in the Directors box got great acclaim from journalists. Tweeting Pie photos at half time says it all. 

Brentford 2 Ipswich 0.Early thoughts and opinions on Championship


A sunny afternoon greeted the first Brentford home game of the season played against a team that Brentford normally respect however with the bad taste left in the mouth from the encounter at Portman road a few months ago, this was always going to be an interesting occasion. Even the River Thames at Brentford looked acceptable in the absence of any water.

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Griffin Park

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River Thames at Brentford

Thankfully football prevailed and there no side shows provides, Alan Judge did not make a visible appearance, Luke Hyams “injured” and Mick McCarthy played a decent role as the pantomime villain cheekily acknowledging the applause that greeted Dean Smith, as if for him.

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The game was played mostly in good spirit and refereed well. In the first 30 minutes Brentford might well have been behind, the post saving us from an opening Ipswich goal, as the large sized Ipswich team marauded forward and at that stage my massive £1 bet on a Brentford win looked very much in doubt. in fact most Bees fans would have taken a draw if offered. But the Ipswich dominance became less as the half went on and it was no great surprise when Brentford took the lead early in the second half with an excellent attacking header from John Egan and soon after a close range superb finish that Hogan would have been proud of, made it 2-0 and effectively the game ended there. Sam Saunders should have added to the score and 2-0 did not flatter Brentford.

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What did we learn? Firstly Ipswich will struggle this season to be a play-off contender. They were well beaten by Brentford who many take to be a mid-table side. The Ipswich style of play is a long way from the Sir Bobby Robson era and frankly I would not want their style transposed on Griffin Park too often. They may also want to consider signing a goalkeeper with more presence.

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Romaine Sawyers

Brentford in contrast were surprisingly good. The new players all settled quickly. Callum Elder looks a good left back and very much in the Bidwell style. John Egan grew into the game and will be a superb centre back. Harlee Dean had a great game and I dont say that often. It is unclear how Barbet or Bjelland will get into the side apart from injury or suspensions. Romaine Sawyers was simply superb and my man of the match. Looking like a Clayton Donaldson lookalike he ran the midfield and grew into the game increasingly. Lewis Macleod was the only player I have some early reservations over lacking physical presence and missing an excellent opportunity. Dan Bentley had little to do but did suggest that his kicking game had been stoled from David Button. 1K4A4633

A good start to the season and many encouraging signs for Brentford but maybe not for Ipswich. How long will Mick McCarthy remain as their manager? My bet is not for long at this rate.

 

Sam Saunders looks very fit…….


Sam Saunders played the friendly game versus FC Kaiserslautern as though it was a cup final, at full pace, and at times getting irritated with the occasional niggling foul.

1K4A4565He seems a man on a mission to regain and keep his place in the side. his fitness looks in no doubt.

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When he was substituted he ran off looking like an extra from RoboCop

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Brentford 1 FC Kaiserslautern 1. The Bees are back.Photographs and Thoughts.


On a hot sunny afternoon this was a good workout for both teams that played a competitive match in terms of effort without a great deal of end result or indeed physicality.

There was the curious sight of the scoreboard using maybe a bad acronym for FC Kaiserslautern…….1K4A4368

1K4A4547bestAs is the norm a number of substitutions in the second half rendered any interpretation of whether this was a good or bad display meaningless. Overall Brentford played with the same style as last season and looked a decent side. No one stood out today on either side. The work rate however was superb for a pre-season game. 1K4A4468

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FC Kaiserslautern brougt almost 1000 fans it seems and there was a fair amount of cabaret between their fans and the Brentford stewards, mostly all good humoured and in fact well stewarded with no incidents that I saw.  If their fans can be described as having a uniform it would be multiple tattoos and a flag per person, the noise from them was massive. They played an open style of play and it was no surprise that their goal came from quick running down the wing with an accurate cross on the floor that was finished neatly. In contrast Brentford goal came from an own goal scored from a corner.

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Own goal gives Brentford the lead

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Sam Saunders

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A busy Maxime Colin

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Romaine Sawyers

From the new players Romaine Sawyers looked industrious and moved seamlessly at times from central midfield to the wings. Sam Saunders played the game more like it was a league game and looked fit and interested throughout.

There were a number of nice touches in the game, not least the minute silence for the Munich victims, and the general noise and support from the FC Kaiserslautern fans. At times even a little too vociferous and some needed reminding that a minute silence means just that!

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The stewarding was also appropriately relaxed and fans had a great afternoon in the sun.

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Where are we in the Luke Hyam Saga Four Days On?


Following the appalling reckless challenge that left Alan Judge with a fractured leg in the game versus Ipswich last saturday there has been a degree of media attention this week. What we know is that Mick McCarthy has given nothing resembling apology nor remorse for the awful tackle. At the time of the incident he felt it prudent to announce that it should not have been a yellow card and saw no wrong from his player. Since then current and former players have come out with views with are consistent with those of the Brentford fans. Andy Scott stated that Hyam knew what he was doing with that tackle, Sam Saunders was reported in the The Times as alluding to the fact that Brentford conspired to get Hyam sent off. We saw on the day as Sam was reported as saying ” that Hyam head had gone” in reference to the fact that he was a peripheral figure on the pitch and his team hardly brought him into the game. After the game on the various message boards, Ipswich Town fans were split on the nature of the tackle, but as Hyam left the pitch it was notable that there was almost an eerie silence. Jim Levack has reported his views on what he suggests amounts to appalling behaviour from Mick McCarthy that borders on bringing the game into disrepute.

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It would be interesting to know what Jake Bidwell said to Hyam as he left the pitch.

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There are some things that we presume but do not know. That Hyam has not apologised to Alan Judge. That Alan Judge as evidenced by the limited amount of statements he has made remains unhappy and has in no way condoned that tackle as ” this is what happens in football”.

Some things about Hyam we do know:

  1. On his twitter account on which he was moderately profuse, he has not given any good wishes to Alan Judge, nor expressed anything resembling remorse. Instead we learn of his selfish distraught affect through the Ipswich Town official site. One wonders if this was merely a PR exercise as there seems no other outlet who has interviewed him to obtain his side of the story.
  2. His disciplinary record is far from exemplary. In 2015-16 he has had 3 yellow cards and 1 red card in 18 Championship games in a total of 966 minutes football. In 2014-15 he received 7 yellow cards in only 16 games playing 1208 minutes. In his total championship career to date in 117 games he has received 27 yellow and 2 red cards.

For me the tackle remains dangerous and uneccesary and when viewed in the context both of the game, the early minutes, and almost on the half way line, where Judge was in no position to make a play that might be dangerous to Ipswich, this further confirms my view. There is no way of knowing what if any malicious intent was present, but this is very different to making a dangerous tackle which might cause harm . Certainly in 50 years of watching  Brentford I cannot recall a game in which the whole team were so incensed over a bad tackle, and we have seen a few of those down the years. Those Brentford players were visibly angry, and for Hyam sake it may have been better that he was sent off than carried off, as some fierce challenges were potentially fired at him.

Lastly  Mick McCarthy displayed again bad management in not substituting Hyam  even 5 minutes after the tackle it was clear that he was a peripheral and a marked figure. A good forward thinking intelligent manager would have substituted him. So little surprise then that that failed to happen.

We await updates from Brentford over the double fracture ( which to non-medics means fracture of both the tibia and the fibula, the two lower leg bones). no details have emerged regarding severity, nor even how the surgery went. So we must all wait. Meanwhile Luke Hyam has ended Alan judge hopes of Euro 2016 and a premiership transfer in the close season. We all need to hope and pray that this is all that it ends. I for one do not expect to see Hyam selected versus Brentford next season. You heard it first here.

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Ipswich 1 Brentford 3. Photos to Show that The Old Brentford Are Back


The result was important here as this seals the impossibility of relegation and takes Brentford up to 13th in the table and a maximum of 9 points in a week. The game was marred by the terrible injury to Alan Judge who after a reckless challenge from the seemingly unrepentant Luke Hyam suffered a double fracture of his leg.  After the tackle and when the players became aware of the seriousness of the injury it was clear that tackles on Hyam were strong and Jake Bidwell had words for Hyam as he left the pitch.

00002703 I cannot recall such anger from a  Brentford team over a challenge such as this. At a minimum it was reckless and the conspiracy theorists argue that Hyam picked his man. The only person who truly knows is Luke Hyam. What I will comment is that having seen the tackle in real time and watched it on TV many times, that there was no necessity for this tackle. It was dangerous, reckless and is the type of tackle that can end careers. there seemed little sympathy in the ground even from Ipswich fans at his eventual sending off. Good management might have dictated that he was replaced as he became a peripheral figure after that unpleasant challenge. And as of 24 hours after the incident he has posted nothing on his Twitter account to offer anything resembling repentance or even good wishes to Alan Judge. He will be a marked man at Brentford for many years to come.

What was both refreshing and encouraging for next season was to see that the workrate and tackling so much missing this last few months was clearly back. The midfield were both skilful and combative and Sam Saunders for me had one of his best ever games in a Brentford shirt. Lass Vibe scored two superb goals that maybe he might not have scored even 2 weeks ago.

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Sergi Canos gave the kind of display that should make Brentford want to sign him on a permanent contract and the 18,845 crowd included  559 Bees fans who made more noise than the 18,000 Ipswich players. Canos ran, tackled and fought for every ball. He was magical.00002822

The introduction of Jonathon Douglas in the second half did galvanise Ipswich a little and Douglas was involved in most of the decent passages of play that Ipswich had. My own view is that I would have him back at Brentford any time.

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Ipswich Town are a friendly football club and to some extent one wonders if that hampers their desire to return to the top tier. Certainly there was nothing in evidence to show that Mick McCarthy has great tactical or even motivational tactics to produce. Talking to the local fans it was clear that they feel his time has come and he should move on. The fans and the stewards are some of the most friendly football fans in our division.

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Sam Saunders epitomised the spirit shown by the Brentford players as in the photograph below.

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Even the fringe Brentford players when they came on,  and will surely feature more in this injury melee that surrounds Brentford , did their part. Gogia looked interesting and created trouble for Ipswich and Kerchbaumer also had his best game in a Brentford shirt. The photo below of a snarling Jonathon Douglas is a classic.

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Mention has to be made however of the defence who have been heavily critiscised this season, by many including myself. They were imperious. Maxim Colin was both skilful, creative and tough tackling and is the kind of player we need in the summer to boost our chances of promotion next season. Harley Dean shows the dominance to contain Freddie Sears and make him look almost anonymous. 00002828

00002830The only negatives apart from the dreadful injury to Alan Judge, were the cost to get in that Bees fans had to pay £32.50. This is too much for Championship football. Even for the home fans excluding travel, this takes the cost of a game over £100 for a couple.

But this week and maybe the day belonged to Lasse Vibe who looked every inch a Danish International striker. We should applaud him. 00002817

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Darkness Descends Over Bolton


No Bees fan will object to 6 points in a week even though the opposition was truthfully dire. For the first time in many weeks or even months, Bees fans came to the game with an expectation of winning. A healthy 3-0 victory a few days previously at Nottingham Forest provided the belief that winning against the bottom side in the Championship would be a likely outcome.

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Griffin Park looking good under floodlights

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Brentford seem to be praying for victory

The evening was perfect for football and even the River Thames at Brentford looked pleasant enough doused in muddy water. A few strange items, like an old toilet residing beside the water filled with what I hope was old leaves.

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River Thames at Brentford

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Outdoor toilets

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New Road

The game was far from a classic but as much as Brentford ever do, they won this game easily at a canter. The Bolton defending was dreadful and frankly a decent Ryman South team might also have beaten them last night. The evening was perfect for football and the result turned out also to be perfect, a 3-1 victory, marred ever so slightly by Alan McCormack giving away a penalty. Brentford played decently enough and a few sparks of what we saw earlier in the season began to emerge. Oddly Nico Yennaris was the man of the match, although Lasse Vibe took the plaudits for his two goals, but Yennaris in central midfield looked comfortable and is learning how to tackle, though was outmuscled a few times . This was an encouraging performance that meant the game was over before half time with Brentford leading 3-0.  It was surprising that as many as 350 Bolton fans made the trip on a tuesday evening to watch their appalling side.

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Lets focus on Bolton. They were without doubt the worst side to visit Griffin Park this season and were as awful as Blackpool last season. Their likely trajectory will be similar too as this team looks poor even by League 1 standards, and I could back Colchester bottom in league 1 to beat this current Bolton team. They seemed generally poor footballers, but also dispirited and at times totally disinterested. There were no redeeming features. The defending was non league. Emile Heskey was an unused substitute but his body shape looked more likely to succeed in WWF than in professional football. Time to call it a day. Even he when warming up in front of the cheerful New Road crowd failed to acknowledge the generous applause he got. Darren Pratley committed enough fouls to have got a lifetime ban and seemed slow in pace and thought. A shadow of the former footballer he was.

So two wins in a few days essentially means that we will not get relegated and talk is of aiming for a top ten finish. But we should not get too carried away. Some of our defending was again dire last night. David Button almost gave a goal away by giving the ball away a few yards from goal and Harley Dean made numerous errors that somehow went unpunished. This was however an improved performance with the team looking more balanced than for a long while. Saunders and Woods out wide and Yennaris and McCormack more centrally gave the midfield a formation that seemed to work. Vibe scored two goals and the second one a very neat header. So we are in a lower mid-table position and thats probably right, maybe even slightly flattering. But it is a building block and we are staying up and Brentford fans will have woken up happy this morning.

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River Thames at Brentford

Brentford 0 Middlesbrough 1. An unlucky evening for Bees


On the face of it Brentford a mid-table side were beaten by the league leaders and in my opinion, Champions elect. There however was a lot more to this game that on balance should be very encouraging for Brentford.

The most important thing is that this group of players are playing hard for their manager and to their potential. The second most important thing is that the fans back the team even in unfortunate defeats such as this. So what was the story of the game? We learned that David Button is an excellent goalkeeper but made one error that cost us the goal and the points. But long before Brentford should have been 2-0 up at least with chances missed and decent saves by the Middlesbrough keeper. Despite all the transfer speculation, and that is all that it is, Diadouraga and Tarkowski started and played decent games. The man of the match who improves with each performance is Maxime Colin, and for once our defence looked more solid than of late. Sam Saunders got a rare start in midfield and did not disappoint . What was apparent though was that Bees have no strikers. Lasse Vibe tries hard but he is not a lone striker and realistically would slot in to midfield in place of Saunders. Hoffman when he came on was invisible. A pair of strikers would make the world of difference to this side. The other fact that cannot be hidden is that Brentford must be the smallest side in the Championship and maybe the league. A midfield of Judge, Saunders, Woods is not a physically threatening vision. Does this matter? Maybe and maybe not.

I am encouraged by the excellent performance tonight but still wondrous at why we have not signed not it seems threatened to sign some strikers. To raid the lower leagues possibly.

But even though the rain came down again and this was the second 1-0 home defeat in 4 days there is plenty of reason for optimism. IMG_1230IMG_1232IMG_1233IMG_1234

 

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