A sparkling November
Brentford played their first game of the month on Fireworks Night – and there were some sparkling moments during November.
It was a month which ended with the Bees just two points adrift of the play-off zone and still in two cup competitions.
It was also a month where they once again struggled for goals, despite the six against Bournemouth, and one in which Mike Grella made his first impact in a Brentford shirt.
It all started at Hillsborough and the chance to show that the Bees could mix it with the big boys.
Before the game, every league meeting with a then top side – Huddersfield, Preston, Sheffield United and Tranmere – had ended in defeat.
There were signs, especially against Charlton and Rochdale, that Donaldson and Alexander had started to work together well as a combination.
But manager Uwe Rosler had done his homework and used Gary Alexander in both attack and defence, as Brentford earned a goalless draw which was significant in more ways than one.
While it was a fantastic point, it was also the first time they had taken anything from a ‘big’ team during the campaign.
It also ended Wednesday’s 100% home record, so preserving the Bees’ place in the record books for winning all 21 home games in one season – in 1929/30.
The next league match was a fortnight later and saw leaders and London rivals Charlton come to town.
Brentford turned in a superb performance and could have been a couple of goals to the good at half-time. But they could not find the net and paid the price when the prolific Bradley Wright-Phillips made the most of his solitary chance to win it for the visitors.
Although it was very disappointing to lose, fans left Griffin Park feeling proud of and heartened by the team’s performance.
The final league encounter of a shortened month was at Rochdale, where Brentford earned their fifth away triumph of the campaign.
A good victory, but those three results indicate where Brentford’s main problem appears to lie – in the goalscoring department.
Three league games in the month and just two goals, and one of those from the penalty spot. That follows five goals in six league matches in October.
Only one team in the top half of the table (Tranmere) have scored less than Brentford’s total of 22 league goals from 19 matches.
By contrast, only three of the top 12 teams (Charlton, Huddersfield and Stevenage) have conceded fewer than the 20 goals Rosler’s side have shipped.
So what should Rosler do about it?
There were signs, especially against Charlton and Rochdale, that Clayton Donaldson and Alexander had started to work together well as a combination.
Should he stick with them or is the answer to give Grella a run in the team – especially after his four-goal burst against Bournemouth in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy?
The American just had one of those nights where everything worked out perfectly.
Grella waited a long time for his chance with Brentford, after weeks spent making short cameo appearances from the bench.
He seemed determined to make the most of his opportunity and did just that as he showed the instincts of a penalty box predator to find the net four times.
Brentford will be hoping for plenty of support over the next few games as six of their next seven are being played in London.
Between now and the start of January, they have four home games, one in the FA Cup and three in the league, and away matches in the capital at Barnet in the JPT southern semi-final and Charlton in the league.
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02/12/2011 @ 8:16 pm
Alexander, Grella and Donaldson are all good players but I’d have Charlie Mac ahead if them all.
02/12/2011 @ 3:09 pm
Is it a striiker thats needed or a creative mid-fielder? Plenty ot talent up front and perhaps no cutting edge but also a lack of quality in the middle at times if it wasnt for Saunders and Mcgill on the flanks the goal count would be even lower for sure!
02/12/2011 @ 3:07 pm
Grella and Donaldson all the way. Uwe and lots of fans seem to love Alexander and to be honest I’m not sure why. Give Mike a run in the side he deserves it and showed against b’mouth what he can do.