If you hadn’t seen or listened to the game and looked online yesterday morning to see Brentford 1 [Toney 28], Norwich City 1 [McLean 87] I’m pretty sure you’d have been happy with that.
A point away against what appears to be a genuine candidate for the promotion mix ain’t half bad.
And I was happy with the result too. Very much so in fact. We seem to be floating in and around the top six. A few more good results before Christmas could see us cement ourselves there.
But there were several *buts* you would have picked up on if you did watch the match itself. In the exact opposite of traditional court procedure I’ll start with the mitigation.
Xavi Quintilla didn’t fancy it following the warm-up and Daniel Farke quite rightly didn’t risk him. Whether hip or hamstring issues depends on which reports you might have read.
So in comes Jacob Lungi Sorensen, who is naturally right-footed, for his Norwich debut at left back with all of five minutes notice. And we were reduced to six substitutes. Well, them’s the rules. And I’d guess that’s the first time the Championship has featured a Sorensen on either team. Our Lungi acquitted himself very well as it happens – eventually ending up on the right flank of a back three towards the end.
Todd Cantwell was rated a doubt before kick off which has to be a mitigating circumstance for a very nondescript first half performance which meant he was hooked for Przemyslaw Placheta at half time. Not before he’d given the ball away to set up a Brentford counter from our own throw-in that led to Ivan Toney’s opener of course.
Circumstantial excuses made, let’s take a look at the negatives, beginning with a trivial one. I’m starting to dislike our second kit very much indeed. Under the lights it looked to blend in with the Brentford Community Stadium grass.
I’m sure it was fine for the players but watching on a 15″ screen it was quite difficult to pick up the numbers. Of course, we know our players well enough but a Brentford supporter might have found it a tad confusing.
Tim Krul’s distribution was poor whenever he took a place kick, Emi Buendia was, erm Emi Buendia. One brilliant turn on a defender to fashion a shot on David Raya’s goal apart, this was not one of his most effective games.
At risk of an accusation of scapegoating, Grant Hanley was culpable for completely losing Ivan Toney at the cross for Brentford’s goal and nutted over a fine opportunity from eight yards after an excellent Buendia free kick. Not all Emi’s free kicks were excellent of course.
Yet again the opposition scored first and we were a bit dodgy for a long while afterwards. There’s no hiding that. It’s yet to flow.
At risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious, our defensive resources are looking a bit thin. Yes I know Max Aarons, the Stieperdude and obviously, now Sorensen too can cover at left-back and Lukas Rupp or maybe Bali Mumba can fill in at right-back but surely we need a fit Zimbo asap.
Okay, let’s have some positives.
Disjointed and maybe even fragmented at times we never gave up and although some folks would think we were lucky to get a result a friendly neutral would have thought the draw was bordering on a fair result.
I can’t remember the last time I felt sorry for an oppo keeper but Raya was so unfortunate with Mayor MacLean’s late strike which was going wide until it took a wicked deflection and rolled into the net in slow-mo despite a despairing dive. But if you don’t shoot you don’t score of course.
Despite my earlier criticism Krul made a blinding save from a Toney header, dropping low to his right like a circus acrobat. Equally his block from Henrik Dalsgaad in the second half was a brilliant reaction save. Sure it was close to him but it might have got through a lesser keeper.
Our last four vital goals have arrive at minutes 90+1, 87, 90+5 and 87 again – or something like that – in a four-match unbeaten streak.
And I ain’t moaning about 14 points from eight games no matter how we’ve accumulated them.
I’ll leave you beloved readers with a couple of questions.
Does anybody else think Brentford keeper David Raya looks a bit like Grant Hanley?
And can any of the MFW clan tell me exactly why the Millwall kick-off has been brought forward to 7pm on Tuesday?