Dec 26 Brentford 2-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 6450

Last updated : 04 January 2009 By Peter Wicks
Team - unchanged from the last game (the right decision) & wearing home shirts with white shorts. Brentford KO towards us, but Bartley made a good run at inside-left. What appeared to be an involuntary toe-poke was saved easily. Home pressure early on was mainly down their right, but a raid on the other flank saw Cherries defence open, with the shot straight at Jalal. All was probing, all innocuous, as was the challenge up for which Igoe was pulled. He then hit one over the bar from inside-left. A long stoppage ensued for a Brentford injury; the player eventually went off & straight back on.

Brentford shot wide; Jalal's kicking was poor but Pearce was commanding with clearances & tackles. Partington was constructive in midfield. Preston & Bartley won a corner, from which Garry & Bartley had to chase back & cover when Igoe's poor kick was cleared. Cherries seemed to lack the fluidity of the previous game, but perhaps made more of the running. Partington was fouled 25 yards out; where's Anderton when you need him? Igoe's effort went straight to the keeper. Guyett had to be solid in covering for Bradbury. Then a Brentford free saw the no.4 put a header just inside Jalal's right-hand post. 1-0, 22 minutes; sloppy defending. Then the no.10 nipped the ball between Guyett & Bartley (one of them should've taken him); Jalal palmed the chip onto the bar & Pearce conceded the corner with a flying header. Cherries were vulnerable to quick breaks, & Partington was astonished to be yellowed for what seemed a normal tackle. More dubious decisions followed.

Preston was filling in effectively but quietly, & had the occasional run. In contrast, Bartley was incensed at a Brentford diver, & was yellowed for his pains. By now, Brentford were playing with more verve & intent; Jalal had to punch away a corner, then he slid out wide with the striker diving over the ball so it went for a corner. The no.4 nipped in again with his head; 2-0 on 45 minutes. That zonal marking has to be abandoned, & perhaps Jalal could have been more decisive. It wasn't defending so much as detritus picked up off the training ground. HT: 2-0.

Hollands came out instead of Partington (perhaps a touch of concussion after a head clash?), but Brentford made the first move with a left-wing run & cross onto the top of the goal. Cherries upped the tempo; a free was awarded but the ref. gave offside instead of a corner. Igoe made a good run & cross, providing a corner, and more free kicks came our way. Jalal challenged strongly for the ball, & won it, but Brentford matched this increased away effort & more, being better man-for-man in most cases. Again another Brentford lengthy injury, again the player off & on - effectively time-outs.

A double substitution on 68 minutes saw Cooper replace the knackered Connell, who had been mobile but ineffective, and Molesley swap in for Preston. This saw Bradbury go up front, Molesley go wide right & Cooper into central defence. This more solid formation allowed Hollands a good ball, which he hooked well into the centre, just in front of Bradbury. Soon after, Bradbury was seemingly pushed in the area but the ref. ignored it. Igoe again put one over the bar. Garry put in a good run & cross, now playing mainly wide-left. Effectively 3-5-2 now, Cherries were still not supporting the front 2 with a runner. A corner, not a penalty, saw a header over the home bar; the away fans were singing "One Shot! We only want One Shot" & Molesley's shot was deflected for a corner - which was saved. FT: 2-0.

At the final whistle, away fans heaped calumny on Tindall's head; all very ugly. The performance? At best moderate, mostly mediocre. Perhaps 7 of the 11 were inferior to their home oppos on a man-for-man basis; certainly strategy & tactics were not there. Sometimes Quinn's team talks seem as useful as an exercise in obstetrics. Grinding out away draws - as several clubs have done at DC - is essential if we're to have any chance of catching up with Barnet, Grimsby etc.

Man Of The Match
Bartley for commitment, energy and looking for work for the whole game.

AFCB: Jalal, Guyett, Pearce, Bradbury, Garry, Preston, Igoe, Bartley, Tubbs, Partington, Connell
Subs: Ward, McQuoid, Hollands (for Partington, HT), Cooper (for Connell, 68 mins), Molesley (for Preston, 68 mins)
Peter Wicks, Bulford