The Only Way is Essex: Colchester 1 - 3 Brentford
BillytheBee reports from the Weston Homes Community Stadium:
Brentford took a Boxing Day saunter into Essex and came back with all three points. They notched up their fifth successive league win after doing a professional job on a dogged Colchester side however the victory was made much harder than it should have been.
After the disappointment of the rained-off Stevenage game, it would fair to predict that the players would be pent up for this game. And they didn't fail to deliver as they came flying out of the traps straight from the kick-off. From their first attack, Harry Forrester fired a deep cross which Clayton Donaldson did well to head back across the goal and find Trotta with his back to goal who turned on a sixpence then banged the ball into the roof of the net to set the Bees fans potty after 4 minutes.
The second goal wasn't far behind. Forrester again the provider picking up the ball on the half way line, doing one of his little runs before laying off a perfectly placed pass to Donaldson. He then slipped seamlessly into overdrive and raced onto goal only to be hacked down on the edge of the penalty area by Josh Thompson. The 711 Brentford fans in the house immediately screamed for a red card and referee Gavin Ward wasted no time in pointing the Colchester player to the tunnel. Adam Forshaw stepped up and beautifully curled the free kick around the wall and into the top corner of the goal. Brentford were 2-0 up after 12 minutes and cruising
Forshaw's goal (terrace view)
At that stage, it all looked too easy. Brentford were totally dominating this game and there were mutters from the terrace of 'this could be five or six'. Unfortunately, that's where it all went slightly wrong. With 10 men and two down, Colchester felt they had nothing to lose and decided to go for it. They had two chances in fairly quick succession which both were put wide. It was a warning to the Bees players and fans that we shouldn't let complacency set in. Donaldson then had a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Then on 23 minutes, we lost the ball in the midfield and it fell to winger Drey Wright (who had a great game terrorising Hodson down the wing), who almost seemed to run almost in slow motion with a force field around him as the Brentford defence just seemed to just back off him leaving him a clear path through on goal. His strike seemed like it was in slow motion but still evaded the diving Lee to hit the back of the net.
By this stage, the rain had set in hard and, along with the wind, made the playing conditions tough. Colchester had another chance which Lee put around the post for a corner. Bees immediately counter attacked and Forrester found himself running in on goal from 40 yards and in the area with just the keeper to beat. Trotta was to his right with an open goal but Forrester opted to shoot rather than pass and the keeper saved.
Just on the stroke of half time, Adeyemi went after a loose ball and quite literally scythed the Colchester player down. The referee wasted no time in showing him a second yellow card and pointing him in the direction of the shower. Bees went into the break 2.1 up but we all knew they had their work cut out.
The second half saw the football deteriorate - undoubtedly the Bees were struggling to play football on the quagmire of a pitch and were resorting to playing it fast and direct. Uwe eventually try and balance things up by bringing Logan on in midfield for Trotta moving Donaldson upfront as the lone frontman ... and bringing on Diagouraga for Forshaw. We did at times however continue to slow the play down, control the game and try and wind the clock down with our newly developed 'keep ball possession game' .. A sign of how this team has matured so much from even the beginning of the season. And with the time ticking away, Brentford wrapped things up. Brentford were awarded a free kick half way in the a Colchester half. The ball was launched into the area, Dean challenged and the ball dropped to Donaldson who knocked the ball goalwards and Dean ran in and poked the ball home at the far post. Cue more delirium from the away fans including Dean's family who fully enjoyed their Boxing Day outing.
Harlee Dean's goal (terrace view)
So another great result for the Bees and any other season, we would have cracked under similar circumstances. Trotta seems to have found his feet and even kissed the badge after scoring. He's enjoying his time at Griffin Park and we need to keep him until the end of the season. Donaldson if he's not scoring he's setting goals up which isn't a bad thing. We like the Logan midfield option if required and Diagouraga was good when he came on too.
The atmosphere was fairly muted throughout the game. This would have been due to the fact that most people will have driven (as opposed to train-ing. it), the stadium is not conducive to pre-match sociability (in other words its on a motorway in the middle of nowhere with not a pub in sight) and the design of the ground somehow made the atmosphere soulless. There were more Bee fans at Colchester than Notts County but County definitely had much more of a party vibe. Brian Burgess please take note of this in future Brentford stadium designs. Also, you cannot deny that standing at football matches generates better atmosphere and safe standing is a must for Lionel Road if we are to retain a unique selling point against our West London rivals.
Anyroads, a good start to the Christmas programme. Roll on Shrewsbury
Lee, Hodson, Craig, Dean, Bidwell, Douglas, Adeyemi, Donaldson, Forshaw (Dave 71), Forrester (Kiernan 86), Trotta (Logan 58)
Subs not used: Gounet, Saunders, Reeves, Hayes