21 matches unbeaten firmly thrust Brentford into the automatic promotion scene but 2 defeats in 4 days made today’s game v Coventry a must win to ensure they stay in the hunt but also halt their slump. 5 changes were made, but the one enforced due to injury caused the biggest pre match headline. Championship top scorer Ivan Toney did not even make the bench due to a minor ankle injury, Finnish 21 year old Marcus Forss was offered the chance to show he is good enough. Coventry came into the match off the back of a 5 match winless streak, 20th place in the league so a win was vital for both sides.
Brentford attacked the first few minutes with a firm positive attitude, Forss was able to get in between the 3 Coventry centre backs, earning a corner which after a near post header by Janelt the ball was cleared from sneaking in the back post. In hindsight this was one of 2 bright moments for Brentford, the Coventry press started to take shape. The Bees take risks with their passing from the back, when it works teams are cut open but like the last few matches it didn’t work today. No one player was the main culprit, as a collective errors were made. Confidence was growing within the Coventry ranks Hamer, Kelly & O’Hare we’re winning their battles in the midfield. The opening goal of the game came via the penalty spot, a long ball from the Coventry backline was headed into the midfield by right back Rasmussen, the 2nd ball was played into Coventry striker Biamou who’s viscous shot from the edge of the box was well saved but from the rebound as Rico Henry went to clear Biamou nipped in first. In all honestly the ref or assistant was not going to give the penalty but the reaction of the Coventry players won the spot kick. If it’s against your team you are disappointed but a similar weak decision was given in favour of Brentford when they played Wycombe a few weeks ago, swings and roundabouts! The subsequent converted penalty was awful by Tyler Walker but over the course of the game he earned some luck with his continual hard work and persistence. The only other good moment for Brentford was in response to the penalty, a free kick earned 25 yards out centrally was cleverly chipped into the box by Ghoddas to captain for the day Jensen but his header 8 yards out was weak into Ben Wilson’s hands. From this point the score nearly become 2 nil when O’Hare snuck in around the back post and his booming shot was well saved by Raya, instinct more than anything.
The balance of the 1st half from this point was akin to 2 boxers jabbing feeling each other out, energy was seeping all over the place if you was in a Coventry kit unlike The Bees bar Janelt & Henry who endeavoured to push the team along. You could name half the Brentford team as being poor but centre back Sorensen was the weakest by far, nervous in every aspect of his game. As half time approached Thomas Frank was becoming increasingly agitated, it seemed multiple changes and a rollicking ensured.
The start of the second half did not produce changes for either side or a change in the flow of the match. As the TV cameras became fixated on the possible subs Brentford could make a goal kick by Raya to the edge of the box was robbed by O’Hare who passed inside to Walker, his sweet swivel and shot showed class way above his penalty effort earlier in the match. 2 nil and it was now time for Dasilva, Dalsgaard & Fosu-Henry from Brentford to join the match, despite 2 of them being forward players the one who made the most impact in the game was Dalsgaard from right back, he pushed out an effort of a man knowing they could be chucking away promotion hopes. The killer moment was on 65 mins when Rico Henry exited the match with a hamstring injury, all hopes disappeared as with Ivan Toney he is the star man of the team. Coventry continued to work hard barely letting their opponents out of their half even at times winning free kicks due to similar challenges which won them a penalty, nipping in on touches. Brentford was never going to score or get back into the game and the final 15 minutes flowed that way, both teams knew it. Football matches are not won by talent listed on a piece of paper and this is why Coventry deserved this victory, majority of their players are not known or highly rated but they wanted this win.
The narrative being written now is teams know the game plan to compete and beat Brentford (high press and work rate), I don’t see that though their way of play works when players are on it and the press will leave you exposed. Before the defeats they was not wiping teams away by performance they was clinical with their finishing, now they have only scored 1 goal in 3 matches. Also clearly too many players are not in form and ultra low of confidence. Manager Frank needs to earn his corn over the next few days building his squad back up for the game on Wed v Sheff Wed. Coventry face another team near the top of the table in Swansea City on Wed, another win may be a tough ask but if it occurs their survival hopes will be hyperdrive.
featured image credit sky sports