Match Review – Brighton 0-2 Brentford

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Setting the scene
Brentford arrived at The Amex after a mixed start to the season with two wins, a draw and two defeats while the Albion were yet to be beaten at home having won both of their previous games by three goals to nil. The Amex had in fact become something of a fortress in the second half of last season with our last defeat in any competition coming on New Years Day when James Wilson was wonderfully sick before kick off. This also represented a first Saturday 3pm kick off at home for 211 days.

The teams
Shane Duffy was handed a home debut and it became readily apparent just how he managed to score three own goals and get sent off in five games for Blackburn Rovers this season. He could’ve conceded a penalty early on and was extremely entertaining in a more-expensive, less error-prone Colin Hawkins kind of way. Oliver Norwood started alongisde Beram Kayal with Dale Stephens only fit enough for a place on the bench after the strain injury he picked up throwing his toys out of the pram over not being sold to Burnley with Jamie Murphy replacing Jiri Skalak and Tomer Hemed returning at the expense of the suspended Sam Baldock. The lack of new striker signing was highlighted by Elvis Manu not only being on the bench, but also coming on and worryingly looking like our most dangerous forward now he seems to have sort of learned to understand the offside rule.

Goals
Brentford were clinical, scoring with two of their five efforts on goal. The first owed a lot to some questionable work from David Stockdale as he was more out of position than an ISIS member at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to allow Scott Hogan to score with ease at the near post after he’d latched onto a Lewis Macleod ball forward. Their second arrived after some nice passing football allowed Hogan to skip past Dunk and rifle home into the roof of the net to cue a mass exodous with 20 minutes to play. By full time, there were probably less than 12,000 left in the stadium #Together.

Chances
Stockdale atoned for his cock up for the opener with two smart one-on-one saves as Hogan continually got joy from latching onto through balls and racing in on goal while Gatean Bong cleared a header off the line as well. Going forward, the Albion did very little as Brentford’s defence were solid against one of the slowest strike forces in living memory in Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray. Murray had a couple of decent chances but it was just one of those days for him while Hemed saw one cleared off the line as well. Our over reliance on Anthony Knockaert to break a team down became glaringly obvious as he had a rare quiet performance which meant we struggled for ideas. There was a spark of danger once Manu was introduced and he could’ve won a free kick right on the edge of the box within 90 seconds of his arrival, only to be quite amazingly booked for diving.

WeAreBrighton.com Man of the Match
Gaetan Bong was a lot better than he has been in recent weeks but it goes to Lewis Dunk. Another commanding performance. Fingers crossed no Premier League scouts were watching that one, otherwise the bids will be flooding in again come January presuming he doesn’t have his annual Dodgy December.

Overall
A frustrating day at the office but games like this will be commonplace now we aren’t the surprise package that we were last season. Brentford were well organised, difficult to break down and able to utilise Hogan’s pace on the break to great effect. The fact that the only game changer we were able to offer from the break was Manu is a sad indicement of the clubs failure to land another striking option, different to those of Murray and Hemed. Can they play together? The jury is still out, especially when a game is crying out for pace to offer a different route of attack. Things don’t get any easier with early leaders Huddersfield Town to visit on Tuesday night but it still early days and there is plenty of football to be played.

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