A disappointing December

Despite the excitement of the comebacks against Bournemouth and MK Dons over Christmas, December must go down as a disappointing month for Brentford.

Exits from two cup competitions against lower opposition in the space of four days were followed by one league win in five games and a continued lack of goals.

And the inability to find the net often enough is threatening to divert the Bees’ season from a possible play-off push into a drift into mid-table anonymity.

Brentford failed to score against Wrexham or Barnet in their cup meetings and of the seven league goals scored after that, two were penalties and another a rebound from a spot-kick.

However, despite still being the joint lowest scorers in the top half of the table, no-one can deny that they are still well positioned for a tilt at the play-offs.

“Supporters will be hoping that the squad will still be largely intact when February arrives.”

That also leaves them on target for manager Uwe Rosler’s initial target of a top-10 place in March.

But they have still to beat a top team in the league and while they are usually comfortable against mid-table or lower teams, the inability to upset the leading sides could prove crucial in the end-of-season reckoning.

On the positive side they bounced back from the double cup exits to beat Hartlepool 2-1 at home, despite the shock of the visitors equalising almost as soon as they had gone behind.

And Brentford had chances the following week to win at Bury, a game in which they again took the lead only to be pegged back and this time held to a 1-1 draw.

The Christmas fixtures were kind to their fans travelling-wise with all three games in London.

In each of the home matches with the Cherries and the Dons, Brentford went behind again before staging dramatic late comebacks.

Each time Leon Legge, who is having another outstanding season, scored the point-saving goal in injury-time, to earn respective 1-1 and 3-3 draws.

The Dons game was arguably the most exciting of the season with Brentford seemingly down and out at half-time when they trailed 3-0.

The visitors’ third goal came from Charlie MacDonald, the striker who left at the end of August and who yet again did not celebrate a strike against the Bees.

Legge completed an incredible comeback at the second attempt when he headed home a Sam Saunders’ free-kick to spark ecstatic scenes.

The reaction could not have been further from that at the start of the month when the Bees’ Cup hopes ended meekly.

Blue Square Premier leaders Wrexham pulled off a shock FA Cup second-round triumph with a cracking goal at Griffin Park before League Two Barnet beat Brentford on penalties in the southern semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after a goalless draw.

Uwe Rosler’s hopes of a top-10 place by March are intact.

Both defeats were disappointing, but on reflection the JPT one felt worse as you got the feeling the players had really believed they could return to Wembley and make up for last year’s final.

This period of games ended with a 2-0 defeat at leaders Charlton on Monday – the Bees’ first away loss since losing their opening match on the road at Sheffield United – an impressive unbeaten run of nine league games on the road.

The rest of January is set to be a quieter month with no midweek games for Rosler’s men.

On Saturday they visit Tranmere and then are at home to struggling Walsall the following week.

On January 21 they are live on Sky for the second time this season in a 5.20pm kick-off at Huddersfield before rounding the month off against more strugglers in Wycombe.

Off the pitch, one worry for the club is the arrival of the January transfer window – which has proved their downfall in the past.

Fans still have not forgotten the departure of DJ Campbell six hours before the window closed in 2006.

He was not adequately replaced and that sale ultimately cost Brentford a top two place and then promotion following another play-off defeat.

With some key players out of contract at the end of the season, supporters will be hoping that the squad will still be largely intact when February arrives.

And as well as keeping his stars, Rosler will hope to add to his squad in key areas to maintain hopes of an exciting second half of the season.