Macclesfield 2 Bees 0

A disappointing away performance

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Brentford Football Club

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A disappointing away performance saw Brentford's decent league run come to an end, without a referee to blame this week...

Brentford started off the first half quite brightly, generally passing the ball around, probing the Macclesfield defence for any holes, but with Macclesfield fans' sites predicting a draw at best, with most predicting a loss, the Macclesfield tactics were pretty clear from the outset. Sit back and hit us on the counter-attack.

Putting two banks of defenders in front of the Bees will always kill a game, and the first half was a virtual non-event. The Bees won numerous corners, but could not take advantage.

Macclesfield, frankly, were awful, barely able to string a few passes together and constantly giving the ball back to Brentford. However, a tricky midfielder seemed to pull most of the strings, and a decent run down our right flank saw plenty of problems arise in the Brentford defence, and a low shot drilled through a crowd of players was excellently saved by Hamer.

Despite the clear advantage in possession, corners, territory, and in virtually every area of play, Brentford had not even created a clear-cut chance, and in injury-time of the first half, a ball over the top caught out the Bees defence, and Hamer came out of the area to attempt to clear the ball, but was well-beaten and ex-Brentford player, Emile Sinclair, had an open goal to score into.

At half-time, the fans were still hopeful, but bemoaned the lack of chances that we had created. All we needed to do was be patient... surely? Well, you might have thought that Brentford might come out for the second half all guns blazing, but they seemed to fail to notice that Macclesfield suddenly had a bit of confidence and were starting to knock the ball about much better than in the first half. Brentford had to work harder to win this game, but instead, we got the same as the first half. Yes, we enjoyed decent possession, and still won plenty of corners, which included a glit-edged chance for Phillips to head the ball home from a free header, but headed at the keeper. However, everyone, to a man, seemed further and further off the pace, and our inability to cope with pace was highly evident, especially when Dickson dived in on their winger in our box and clearly took their winger out to concede a penalty. Evans stepped up and scored from the spot to send them 2-0 up. Surely the fightback was about to happen...

Well no, Macclesfield played more freely and Brentford's mistakes were increasing. Substitutions were made and yes, we looked livelier for the next few minutes, but Macclesfield had us sussed and their defence worked their socks off to prevent Brentford creating any real chances. No sense of a fightback looked like it was coming and we shot ourselves in the foot. Macclesfield weren't overly physical, hardly dragged us down to their level, we let ourselves down today by playing appallingly. To create 2 shots on target, with only 3 or 4 off target (no chance of scoring), against a team that was ready for the taking, was woeful. We showed them way too much respect in the first half, allowed them to come into the game, made basic individual errors (Hamer must start to learn how to come off his line or he will never make it as a top-level keeper), failed to up our tempo at any point in the game, failed to identify that the long-ball into the channels was not working, and I think I've only seen us play worse once this season, at Bury on the first day of the season.

I would love to put this down to a bad day at the office, but to me, it's been coming. We are failing to adapt to opposition during games, and we are too one-dimensional. All the players were off the pace, and in my opinion, only Beano can come out of this game with any semblance of pride. Everyone else should have worked harder, should have played more football, should have treated this game as an important one.

Team: Hamer, Osborne, Dickson, Phillips, Bennett, Williams, Wood, Bean, O'Connor, MacDonald, Rhodes

Subs Used: Newton for Williams, Poole for Wood, Hunt for Osborne

Referee's Attwell Rating: 8 - This ref pretty much let the game flow nicely, but did make a very bizarre decision towards the end of the game that baffled myself and everyone around me.

Conditions: Bit chilly, but fine.

Attendance: 1942, with about 3-400 Bees fans, albeit quiet due to the open terrace and general cold.

Player ratings:

Hamer - 4 - Had little to do, but again, made the wrong decision to come off his line for their first goal.
Osborne - 6 - Reasonable performance, defending quite well and better distribution.
Dickson - 4 - Poor, especially his decision to dive in and concede the penalty. His distribution was also poor, and how he wasn't subbed, I don't know.
Bennett - 6 - Bizarrely let the ball bounce, and wasn't the same Bennett that I've seen this season. Not totally poor though.
Phillips - 6 - Played quite poorly on the turn, and not the player to take up the reins when it is needed.
Williams - 5 - Headless chicken and woeful crossing sums up his game today. At one point, he knocked the ball 50 yards in front of him to beat his man, but the ball ran out into touch.
Wood - 6 - As always, huffs and puffs, but is not a winger. Great for the tough games when we need to be defensively tight, but not for games when we ought to be winning. Poole would have had a field day in the first half.
Bean - 7 - My MOM, but didn't get into the game enough. He was solid when tackling, headed the ball well, fought hard, positionally was excellent, but his team-mates kept hoofing the ball, rather than getting the ball to feet.
O'Connor - 5 - I didn't see O'Connor do anything in midfield today. Very poor.
MacDonald - 6 - Another hard worker, but other than one or two moments, was easily snuffed out by the Macclesfield defence.
Rhodes - 6 - Worked hard enough, has a lovely touch and turns well, but failed to win header all game. Not a target man, though, and last season, we had a similar player to him in Connell.

Subs: Newton looked hungry and lively, whilst Poole should have been on from the start, not brought on when Macclesfield were on the up and we were progressively getting worse.

Thanks to beesotted for the match report, especially Leicester Bee!

January 25, 2009