|A Brentford Win At Last
Brentford 2 Stockport County 0
Much scrappiness and, for the most part, criminal tedium. But three beautiful, crisp, autumnal, glowing points.
We deserved them, one supposes, if only because Stockport didn’t. They are made of straw and attack infrequently. A limited side of hoofers, skinheads and pant-wetters.
Yet two-nil was as flattering as decency permitted. If Cort had done better at connecting with a cross of genuine Premiership quality from Myles Weston with ten minutes to go, it would have been three. That would have been a bit embarrassing, a Dulux sheen our limited performance really quite entirely didn’t deserve.
But who’s complaining? This was only our second win in eleven. It’s been a run of horridness and ick during which our strikers have displayed the incisiveness of dullards and our defenders have come over all bonkers and refused to speak the same language to each other and have done silly things like scoring own goals and falling over a lot.
So there have been scapegoats. Chief recipient of finger-waggling has been Alan Bennett, last season’s Messiah reduced this year to a very naughty and bumblingly incompetent boy. No-one should be undroppable, tapped enraged fingers on the forums. But Scott wouldn’t drop him because he loves him very much.
But by jings and high crivens, what’s this? Bennett was out. Look, there he was, perched miserably on the bench fiddling with the toggles on his training kit. A look on his face that suggested a faint hope for Wilson, his replacement, to snap one or preferably both of his legs.
Credit where it’s due. Dropping El Capitan was a brave and good-headed decision from Scott, and it paid off. Phillips and Wilson dealt well with Stockport’s infrequent incursions, and the magnificent Ryan Dickson added a few quid more onto his depressingly inevitable January pricetag with another display of supercompetence, flair and heroic last-minute tackles.
But golly, it was a dire game. The first half had the fleetness of foot of a block of flats. Nothing happened, or when it did it seemed embarrassed about it and stopped happening again very soon afterwards. Nil-nil loomed. Half-time crept nearer. The game yawned and stretched like a bear preparing for the onset of winter.
Then something: we scored. No-one could quite believe it. An exceptionally messy proddy sort of goal; MacDonald jutted out his tiny little leg and knocked the ball over the line with the conviction of a kitten. It was as far removed from his trouser-splitter against Bristol Rovers as it could have been, but try telling that to the Bees fans climbing the corrugated iron in ape-like whooping fervour.
The second half was a little less lumbering than the first, but still something of a mess. We never looked in particular danger of conceding, not even when Price had to flip to blat a cheeky long-ranger from County over the bar.
The Bees were industrial and unattractive but there was a reassuring, if cautious, competence about the whole thing. At one point we even experimented with Total Football, pressing forward in an incongruously regal flowing move of Cruyffian majesty that resulted in Weston sweeping the ball into the corner of the net for our second.
At the whistle fans trooped home with strange Stepford smiles on faces, grateful of course for the three points – oh God, so grateful – but not quite sure whether we were any good or not, nor whether this win will restore order to the universe.
Certainly we looked stronger at the back and more adventurous in attack than we have for a long while. It was good to see Hunt in the centre of the park, not because he was any good – he wasn’t – but because he’s a big scary chap with muscly legs.
Scott shouldn’t tinker with this side too much, if he has the guts; yes Andy, that means leaving Alan out again. But the nagging fear remains that the sight of the Irishman’s big brown eyes welling with tears may, once again, be too much for Andy to stand.
Thanks to Dave Powell and BIAS for the match report.
October 27, 2009