Sunday, 10 August 2014

Brentford 1 v Charlton Athletic 1

Bob Peeters was denied a winning start by yet another deflected goal. We must
have conceded a dozen deflections last season and have another to kick-off this season. Other than that it was a positive day for the travelling Addicks after weeks of worry about whether or not the new look side would be competitive.

It was a cracking day to kick the season off. The pubs were doing a roaring trade before the match as Charlton and Brentford fans mixed happily, sharing hopes and fears for the season ahead. Griffin Park will soon be gone so it was good to saviour an old fashioned football ground for once.

We were located in the former home end which is now a small two-tiered affair (not unlike QPR's but obviously better). I wondered what view we might be afforded given that the seats were only a pound more than standing but I shouldn't have worried. We were perched what seemed like only fifteen feet above the crossbar.

Stephen Henderson was in goal in his day-glo orange outfit and was fairly imposing all afternoon. He made a good save from the impressive Pritchard mid-way through the first-half but could do nothing after being wrong footed by a big deflection for the Bees late equaliser. In between he didn't have too much to 

After the doubts about who would start at full-back, both first choices were in position and Chris Solly took the man-of-the-match accolade. Rhoys Wiggins might have been better on the wing than Jordan Cousins and I would have been tempted to play him ahead of Morgan Fox. The only real surprise of the day was no Michael Morrison. BP decided to start with Tal Ben Haim and Andre Bikey-Amougou. Neither of them let him down but for my money, Morrison would represent less risk than Haim. Jackson and Buyens were paired in the centre and Gudmundsson out right.

Mohican Vetokele and George Tucudean lead the attack and gave Brentford's back-line an uncomfortable afternoon.

It was an even first half although Brentford's midfield dominated possession without really being able to put any pressure on us. McCormack had a fine match and saw more of the ball than any else. He was efficient and the midfield passing with Pritchard, Judge and Douglas was impressive but too much of it was sideways and backwards as the black-shirted Addicks pushed forward. Charlton were good value for 0-0 at the break and you sensed there was a goal to come in the second-half.

Igor Vetokele nearly broke the deadlock soon after the restart but his lancing header was superbly parried onto a post by Button and scrambled clear. George Tucudean was then played in one-on-one against David Button in front of 1500 clamouring Charlton fans. Unfortunately, George wasn't decisive enough and his low shot was saved. Charlton fans were now expectant and they didn't have long to wait. From a corner on our left I counted four rows of two red-shirted home players carefully spacing the box and only three lurking Addicks on the edge of the box. I hadn't spotted Igor Vetokele pacing the six yard line and unsettling his markers. The corner was driven into the six yard box and amid a flurry players and the goalkeeper, a black head was thrust fastest to meet the ball and crash it home. Igor had struck and there was unbridled joy behind the goal as Charlton fans celebrated with a mixture of genuine excitement and some relief. The ground then resounded to deafening burst of "Ee-gor, Ee-gor, Ee-gor," shouted rapidly I might add and not in a lame "Ea-gles" kind of way (take note everyone).

We still had almost half-an-hour to go and we looked very comfortable for most of it. We should have scored a second which would have killed the match off. Vetokele beat Button to a back-pass (I think) but couldn't get a clear shot on goal. He managed to spoon a pass wide which found the sub Harriott (on after the hour mark for a tiring Tucudean) in space but under pressure. Callum's snapped shot looked like it would find the unguarded net but instead it thudded off the bar. Brentford looked beaten at that point but with five minutes left Tommy Smith scored with that deflection to take a little bit of gloss off the performance. 

All-in-all a bright start and there was plenty to discuss in O-Riordan's garden, high above the swaying Thames, not least the impression made by the new boys and Vetokele in particular. I'm trying not to get too carried away but there is definitely more than a whiff of Killer about him. Please let it prove so...


Geoff said...

You obviously weren't in the front row upstairs, Dave. Neither were we and deliberately so because last time we were there we nearly called for an angle-grinder to extract my 6'3" mate Paul. More cramped than Monarch airlines I can tell you.

Enjoyed the game, but not the prices in The Griffin. Post-match told my friendly Bee that a fluked goal and their own ref should have meant more than one point. His response was that I should moan at our attack for five missed chances. Fair point. He admitted, though, that the Bees were lucky to get a draw.

Maybe the pre-season reports misled me but I expected a bit more from Gudmundsson; not much tracking back there or attacking threat. Jacko kept going but you might call his play "undistinguished" if being kind. Meaning that the midfield remains our weak point. Cousins and Buyens are decent enough but the former is less good out wide than in the middle where Buyens has got the gig. Nevertheless, the whole thing was encouraging, and we got a fair showing and assessment on BBC in the absence of Claridge.

Now about those deflections......

Dave said...

Geoff - agree re Gudmundsson. Others seem to think he had a much better game than I did. Early days yet and I am sure we will see a lot more of him. I forgot to comment on how involved Vetokele was defensively. I recall him heading two deep crosses out and also running it out on a couple of occasions. I also thought Jackson played better than many are saying. You have to acknowledge that Brentford won the posession battle and whilst Cousins might have broken it up a bit more, Jackson was busy enough. It was delivery which teed Igor fir the goal.

ChicagoAddick said...

Sounded like a good day out. My bro was unusually upbeat when I spoke to him - which I took as a big plus.

I am looking forward to seeing Igor, but have reservations about lack of pace at the back against much better forwards. Would still like to see a couple of additions.

Have a great hols.

Dave said...

Thanks CA. I am expecting see Igor score his fourth or fifth at Brighton when I return. Ee-gor! Ee-gor! Ee-gor!

Anonymous said...

If you thought Solly was motm, you spent too much time in Brentford's famous pubs.

Tony said...

Good write up Dave.
Did you get your top half bet on?

Dave said...

Tony - yes thanks.