Often Partisan

Two more points dropped – Brentford Match Reflections

Here are my reflections on the match against Brentford at Griffin Park yesterday.

Two points dropped

I’ll be honest, we should have won that game. However, I’m not going to go as simplistic as some and point to the substitutions as the reason we allowed Brentford back into it – I think that there are deeper reasons and I don’t think Clark can be completely blamed for what happened.

First half we looked good and we should have been out of sight – Thomas missed a sitter to make it 2-0, we looked dangerous every time we went forwards and we were soaking them up fairly easily at the back. However, as the second half progressed we started taking our foot off the gas and inviting pressure onto ourselves. As much as Thomas was poor and probably deserved to be taken off I think we lost pace up top – which is essential when we’re playing deep – and we started not to press as high up the pitch.

As we retreated into our shell, Brentford used the width of the pitch and despite being a man down were frequently a man over when attacking. I can see the rationale for solidifying the midfield but Novak cannot play up top on his own – and he has no pace whatsoever. Even when we brought on Johnstone to try and restore the balance we were done because Johnstone isn’t quick either – and at this point, the team had lost confidence in itself and we were possibly lucky not to actually lose the game.

Paul Caddis

Caddis has proved to me in the last three games he’s a midfielder. He’s looked one of our more solid players – and working along side Davis he’s had that job “ratting” the midfield, breaking up play and hassling the opposition into mistakes. Let’s not beat about the bush – Blues are more of a direct team this year and we’re going to be looking to put the ball behind the full backs for the wingers and strikers to chase – and as a consequence, our central midfield is all about winning the ball. I think he’s assumed the skipper mantle well and I think he could be one of our more important players this year.

David Cotterill

Cotterill is the stereotypical winger – when he puts a good ball in he looks ace, but he is wasteful and when he’s not involved he’s a complete passenger. He’s got a touch of the Julian Gray about him in that I’ve seen him bottle a few challenges too – rather than go for a 50/50 ball where he could come up with the ball in an advanced position, he’s hung back and allowed the opposition player to get the ball uncontested. I’d like to see what Mark Duffy offers as a straight replacement in the cup game as Cotterill became very poor as the Brentford game went on.

Jonathan Grounds

First off – the howler for the goal was a howler; Grounds slipped allowing the Brentford player in behind and it almost certainly gave away the goal. That being said I can’t see why he’s getting the pelters he is – he’s looked solid enough in the last three games and as much as I love Mitch Hancox (and I do, I’ve always been an admirer of his commitment and attitude) from a technical point of view I can’t agree with people who think Hancox is much better. Barring that slip Grounds looked solid enough to me without impressing massively; he’s exactly what I expected – a lower Championship defender – but with what we have right now he’s good enough.

What I think it comes down to is last season we’d have lost that game. In fact, of the three games this week we’ve taken five points – last season I think we’d have struggled to have got three. We look more organised, we have some shape and players seem to know their roles. Clark has named the same eighteen three matches on the bounce; yes some subs have been strange but the people who have complained that he doesn’t know his best XI – it appears he’s settled on it for now. I’m more confident we’ll be okay this year – I think the first test will be when someone gets an injury or a suspension and he has to look beyond these players to maintain that organisation, pressing and shape.

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49 Responses to “Two more points dropped – Brentford Match Reflections”

  • Gary says:

    They are all inept manager and players they are totally embarrassing at times a team should never lose or draw when they have an extra man for so much of the game we need a half decent midfielder to go with Davis and another defender.

    • mark says:

      Have you ever played against 10 players???

      • Always a Blue says:

        I don’t buy this ‘you should always beat 10 men’ theory

        I remember plenty of good Blues performances with ten men

        We have had a reasonable start and with a little bit of luck could of gained a further 4 points.

        L.C. has done ok with no money and if you think he is that bad how do you rate the Fulham manager???

        • Matt says:

          I’d much rather have Magath than Clark.

          • mark says:

            Yeah I bet you you would….

          • Matt says:

            Magath: 3 Bundesliga titles
            2 German Cups
            Clark: Nothing.

          • mark says:

            could not do in premiership could he lol

          • mark says:

            and looks like he struggling in the championship oh dear

          • Steve says:

            And Clark is setting the football world alight isn’t he.

          • mark says:

            he above fulham hahaha

          • Matt says:

            clark couldnt even get huddersfield out of league 1 with a much bigger budget than everyone else and with jordan rhodes.

          • mark says:

            no he wasn’t allow to but he did give them ahead start with 43 games unbeaten though and he made them some money in the transfers. He was on a rolling contract, as Clark said himself he was shocked to be shown the door but that’s life……

          • Staffs Blue says:

            With Hull offering around £12m for Rhodes, I wonder if Huddersfield are due any sell-on fee if he’s sold?

          • Steve says:

            Don’t think he’s going Staffs.

          • Staffs Blue says:

            I don’t think it would be much of a step up to be honest. I know Hull are in the premier… but for how long? It might be a step up in the short term, but in the long term, I’m not so sure.

          • Steve says:

            43 games unbeaten and he didn’t get them up. What does that say Mark ?

          • dave says:

            blues supporters don.t understand tactics, all he ad to do was take off Thomas put deff in front of back 4 encourage them work down the flanks, clark caddis if you are reading this, don.t make excuses, he dose not know his first team no motivation, caddis is not a midfielder, we need one striker another midfield, I think we all know he as to be replaced but WHO, I was a semi pro manager and ref, I can see the problems, I will not insult caddis or clark but I think we need to change things in a positive way not playing novak on the left that’s why we have duffy, do you see were I am coming from clark, I will go to the training ground and help you with these things, many thanks dave.

          • Raymondo says:

            Don’t know who Magath is but I agree anyway! LC lost us the game yesterday because he took our strikers off. He should have brougfht Duffy on and kept them occupied defending, not having a free hand attackng us! We are not a team who can stand up to constantly being attacked.

          • mark says:

            sorry raymondo i dont wish to be argumentative it was the players on the pitch that failed…..hopefully looking for a shock on wednesday….must take chances when they come,
            Even in a league like the premiership you only get a few but you must take them imo…..blues definately need to be more ruthless in front of goal…..

          • Steve says:


          • mark says:

            dont be so sore steve move on lol

          • Matt says:

            Why is it when we have a good result (which is rarely) you’re quick to praise Clark but when we have a bad result you blame the players?

          • mark says:

            how is it a bad result matt did we lose?

          • Matt says:

            you dodged the question. considering we were winning against 10 men yes WE (manager and players) should have done better.

          • Raymondo says:

            I agree that we needed to be more ruthless in front of goal, Mark, but if you take the strikers off in the second half you haven’t got anybody who can make up for their misses in the first. I still think that LC’s tactic was a negative tone. What was he hoping to achieve?

          • mark says:

            I personally give credit where it due to Brentford lads. We had enough quality on the field without Donaldson and wes but we simply didn’t reply to our first half performance second half.
            Even if the forwards stayed on we were pick off in midfield and potentially would have lost the game imo….
            What the players stop doing right in the first half was regrettable IMO. Blues hammered them first half… They got to remember its a 90mins game… Yes take your foot off the gas when you 2or3 up….not just assume you are going to win…

        • Steve says:

          If he hadn’t have tinkered with the team,we would have comfortably beaten them.Luck has had nothing to do with the last two results.

        • Art says:

          The Fulham manager will be sacked if results don’t improve.

          Clark won’t be and he won’t walk either,

          Based on his atrocious record he should have been sacked before the start of this season.

        • harbsbleu says:

          The time where Taylor broke Eduardos leg in the match between Arsenal and Blues, we drew 2 all with 10 men?

        • mark says:

          Well done that man there will always be those sitting on the fence giving out negativity lol

  • Chris W says:

    You make some valid points Dan. On the grounds slipping is this something to do with the modern boot as we have seen players slipping regularly lately, several times against Ipswich and from both teams.
    If you are going to make early substitutions surely it makes more sense with like for like and I would like to see Duffy get a decent run either with Cotterill or in place of.

  • Gary says:

    What makes the result worse is we were totally outplayed by ten men which is ridiculous.

  • Retired&Weary says:

    I don’t think Kevan Broadhurst would agree with you about Caddis. He was saying throughout the second half that Caddis was constantly getting out of position which led to Brentford being able to dominate despite losing a man.
    It’s such a shame that we have thrown away 4 points in the last 2 games. What a confidence boost those wins could have been. Now the Brentford performance may do the opposite.
    My observations after watching the 2 home games are yes, we don’t look so much of a pushover this season, being physically bigger, closing down better, etc.
    My big worry is that we can’t string 2 passes together, constantly giving the ball back, which sounded like we even did against 10 men. If only we had a young Barry ferguson.
    Not impressed with Cotterill, looks inconsistent. Donaldson looks what he is, lower league. Took goal well against Ipswich though, will put up with his shortcomings if he can score regularly.

  • mark says:

    Totally agree Daniel there is definately more about this blues team, to some it may feel a loss, I am glad caddis mentioned in his interview that in the dressing room the lads feel hard dumb by…at least we know this bunch care…kro

  • Matt says:

    he brought gray on to make it 4-5-1 when it was 1-0 against 10 men, terrible decision.

  • Gary says:

    Some of our fans need to take their rose tinted glasses off ok I agree you probably shouldn’t always beat the team with ten men when it’s 0-0 but when you are one up you shouldn’t. But you definitely should never be outplayed by ten men which blues were second half that’s just ridiculous.

  • edd77 says:

    Brentfords centre half Harley dean has confirmed what we all thought on their website he talks about the massive boost they got when Wes n Clayton went off

  • RichardM says:

    At least Clark has implied it’s his fault becuase he made the substitutions, don’t think he would have fessed up like that last year…

  • RichardW says:

    The last two performances are a reminder of where we are- the team Clark has assembled is committed and on its day can play well but most of the players are inconsistent and we need most of them to be on song to get a result. If they were consistent seven or eight out of ten players, we wouldn’t have got them for nothing.
    They will, however, do enough to keep us up but i don’t think we’ll be a high scoring side.

  • Staffs Blue says:

    I’m not going to make excuses for anyone.. mainly because I can’t be ar$ed, but, regarding the Brentford goal, it was a misjudgement by Grounds definitely, but Gleeson’s pass to him was suicidal. When a defender has an opposition player on him, with acres of space behind, you don’t lob it in the air to him, you pass to feet. That pass put Grounds under unecessary pressure. Once he misjudged the flight, he was always playing catch up. The trouble was, our defenders were all going forward, so no one could get across to cut the player off.

  • Poppa999 says:

    Turn it on it’s head. Brentford lost two points they were probably banking on at the beginning of the season. Could have been worse. Look at Cardiff lol!

  • Raymondo says:

    Just my opinion, of course, but It seems obvious to me that although Clark appears to have done well assembling a half-decent team on a shoe-string budget and engendering a very good team spirit, which he is to be commended for, he is and always will be, tactically naive as he proved last season. Some of his team selections last season, especially at home, baffled all of us and probaby the players too! I would welcome him as a number 2 but we need someone else with more tactical nous as our number 1. Unfortunately, without a change of ownership we are going to have a long wait. Even so I think we will survive in this division for this season. Just! KRO through good times and bad!

  • BlueSteve says:

    Have to agree with Raymondo. I am not a LC fan but I am not so one eyed as to think he has done nothing right. Given the budget he has had he has bought very well. However the midfield is imbalanced due to the absence of a left winger and his tactics often are very poor. The problem for LC is that with such limited resources every decision he makes has to be spot on.

    • dave says:

      bluesteve, got nothing to do with money, he as got no tactical ability he thinks novack will score on the left and caddis will create chances for the strikers, you have got to understand tactics most supporters don,t, caddis is not a midfielder, Thomas is not a very good striker, I was a semi pro and manager and ref, if clark stays at blues there will be more mistakes than good clark as one level, I will not insult is ability, tactics are is downfall in that he is one dimentional all managers have faults that’s his big one, many thanks dave.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Going back to the point about Caddis not being disciplined enough in his position; unfortunately, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that Davis is exactly the same. I think we can cope with one ‘ratting’ around chasing the ball but not both. Whilst I think both Davis and Caddis have been OK, neither tracks back well with the runners either [owing to the incessant focus on where the ball is] and it will cost goals against better sides.
    I’m not all doom and gloom, because I think we are a bit better than last year and I think we’ll stay up.
    On Grounds, I think someone else summed it up perfectly, he’s not brilliant but we could do worse. The one advantage he gives us over Mitch, is his height. In fact we have more height and pace throughout the team this year and that’s one of the reasons why I think we’re better.

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