RAMBLE: Brentford 1-2 Wednesday

RAMBLE: Brentford 1-2 Wednesday

I had a good feeling about this game from the moment I woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning in south London.

­Normally I wake up on a Saturday morning with a thick head and a sore throat but a particularly manic week at work had caused me to bail out of the usual Friday night escapades in favour of watching the rugby league on tele and an early night.

It was Wednesday’s first away day in London of the season and, based in Streatham, 10 miles as the crow flies is about as good as it gets when it comes to away day travel.

Having arranged to meet Chris, Jordan and Adam at Clapham Junction I decided to set off at 11 and catch the bus, which would give me plenty of time to get a few beers in for the long 20-minute train journey to Brentford.

Unfortunately a four-mile journey in London can take anywhere between 10 minutes and 45 minutes, usually closer to the latter, and unexpected roadworks on the way through Wandsworth meant I was cutting it fine.

Luckily I made it with minutes to spare, with Chris already waiting on the platform, while Jordan and Adam made it just as the train was pulling in. We kicked off by discussing Wednesday night’s win and the upcoming tie with Arsenal, not to mention the fact we had several Sky games plus a QPR trip to look forward to next month.

The Griffin: Perfect away day pub

The Griffin: Perfect away day pub

Before we knew it we had landed at Brentford and after a brief discussion we decided to head for The Griffin, one of the three* pubs on different corners of Griffin Park.

*The fourth, The Royal Oak, sadly closed last March due to the rent being tripled.

It was a beautiful late summer afternoon, the queue at the bar was manageable and the beer was going down almost too well. Spirits were high and we were joined by several familiar faces for a good pre-match chinwag.

At one point a camera crew came round asking various Wednesday fans what they thought the score would be. To a man, everyone said 2-1 apart from Chris who piped up with the slightly optimistic 11-1.

The beer was beginning to take its toll by now so it was a good job that 2.50 rolled around and it was time for the long trek (50 yards) to the away end. We piled inside and took our place in the bottom tier, halfway back to the right of Brentford ‘keeper David Button.

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THE MATCH

I’ll admit now that my memories of the match itself are impaired somewhat by the sheer amount of beer supped in the three hours before kick off, not to mention the dodgy view, but I’ll try my best.

Carlos Carvalhal continued his rotation policy, making nine changes to the side that started at Newcastle with Keiren Westwood, Michael Turner, Barry Bannan and Atdhe Nuhiu made up the spine of the team, not forgetting the undroppable giant of a man Tom Lees.

After a scrappy start, Wednesday grew in confidence and Nuhiu had the first real chance when he had a header saved by Button.

Wallace's wand-like left foot caused Brentford problems

Wallace’s wand-like left foot caused Brentford problems

The Owls were certainly prepared to test Button as Kieran Lee fired over from the edge of the box and then Ross Wallace cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce drive, which moved around in the air and Button did well to push out.

This was really good stuff from Wednesday and Wallace’s wand of a left foot nearly created the first goal when he picked out Nuhiu from a corner, but the big man only skimmed the ball as he stooped low to head towards goal.

Bannan showed he’s got a decent left peg as well as he swung in a low cross but Marco Matias could only head wide.

Nuhiu should then have really opened the scoring when another perfect Wallace cross was headed onto the crossbar by the big man.

How hadn’t we scored by now?

The goal simply had to come and we had the perfect chance just before half time when Nuhiu was tripped in the box after another perfect ball from Bannan.

By the time James Tarkowski took Nuhiu’s leg from underneath him, it looked like Jake Bidwell had got across to challenge the Owls striker but the referee showed a red card and we weren’t complaining.

Bannan tried his best to persuade Nuhiu to let him have the pen but the big man was never going to give it up.

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!

He sent Button the wrong way with the coolest of penalties and the away end went absolutely mad.

I jumped on Chris and sent both of us tumbling, someone next to us let off a flare and the noise was deafening.

It was no less than we deserved and the party atmosphere continued in the away end all the way through to the half time whistle.

HALF TIME: Brentford 0-1 Wednesday.

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Normally half time is the longest 15 minutes of an away day, especially if you’re behind, but we were deservedly ahead and nobody was prepared to let the break dampen our spirits.

‘Carlos had a dream…’ rang out from the 1,700 Wednesdayites as the players walked in front of us to leave the field and when they re-emerged 15 minutes later the same anthem was still going.

People were bouncing up and down throughout the interval and I can’t remember seeing anything like it, certainly not inside the stand anyway.

Nobody was checking their phone or asking how the Pigs were getting on, we were all having a good old sing-song and celebrating the fact we were playing good footie and were leading against a good Brentford side.

Sadly the second half performance didn’t live up to the first.

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Wednesday were under the cosh throughout the second half

Wednesday were under the cosh throughout the second half

In many ways it was reminiscent to last season at Brentford where we played well first half, then completely sat back second half and were lucky to cling on for a draw.

This time we were 1-0 up, had been playing good football and were up against 10 men so it was baffling that we sat back so much.

There was an early warning when Bidwell was allowed to get a cross in far too easily from the left and Marco Djuricin thumped a header into the crossbar. It turned out he was offside but it was a sign of things to come.

Five minutes later Alan Judge swung in a free kick from the left with his right foot and it beat everyone, including Westwood, but just grazed the outside of the post and went wide.

Kieran Lee battled hard

Kieran Lee battled hard

At this point Carvalhal decided to bring on Lucas João for Matias to try to give us a different attacking outlet but we were struggling to get out of our own half.

Brentford got the equaliser their second half performance probably deserved with 10 minutes left.

The Bees had everyone forward for a free kick which was punted clear. Button was nearly on the halfway line as he hammered the ball back towards the danger area and Judge took it down superbly on the left-hand corner of the box.

Our defence had rushed out to try to force an offside but Judge beat the trap and no defender could get near him as he cut inside and unleased a curler with his right foot which nestled into the bottom corner.

It was a hammer blow but no less than the 10 men had deserved.

Helan was sent off and Wednesday were staring down the barrel

Helan was sent off and Wednesday were staring down the barrel

The crowd were really urging Brentford on now and when Jeremy Helan was sent off for a second bookable offence, a horrible feeling seeped through the away end that we were going to lose this game.

The Bees were still pushing for the winner as we entered the final minute and I was nervously awaiting how much time would be added on.

Judge lobbed a hopeful ball into the box but stand-in left back Bannan was there to head away.

Under plenty of pressure Lee managed to move the ball out wide from the edge of his own box and in a flash Wallace had sent a curling ball forward towards João.

It looked like it would go beyond him but he just managed to get a touch which wrong-footed defender Jack O’Connell.

Suddenly the ball bounced up and into him and he was stuck. He ended up in a right tangle and he didn’t know where the ball was, whereas João was in the perfect position to run onto it.

Suddenly the young Portuguese striker saw Griffin Park open up in front of him and as he made it towards the edge of the box he only had the ‘keeper to beat.

From where we were stood there was a crowd of bodies in front of us but the only thing that mattered was Joao, the ‘keeper and the gaping net.

Sharp intake of breath…

João was coolness personified.

He slowed down to a job and opened his body.

He didn’t try to overhit, he just sidefooted into the bottom corner with his right foot.

The ‘keeper was helpless, O’Connell was helpless and the net rippled.

Pandemonium.

Joao showed coolness beyond his years to win the game

Joao showed coolness beyond his years to win the game

We’d been outplayed by 10 men for 45 minutes, we’d thrown away a 1-0 lead and we were clinging on for a point.

Then in a matter of seconds the game was won.

Well played, young man!

Well played, young man!

The party was now in full swing and it didn’t matter that there were still six minutes of added time.

The game was up. The points were ours.

The final whistle went and the roar went up.

I jumped on anyone and everyone I could grab and we celebrated like we’d just won the league.

FULL TIME: Brentford 1-2 Wednesday.

Badge Owl POSTAs the players made their way over we were again belting out ‘CARLOS HAD A DREAM…’ and a few of them threw their shirts into the crowd.

Wooooooooaaaaaahhhhhhhh

Wooooooooaaaaaahhhhhhhh

Nuhiu was deep in conversation with Daniel Pudil and quickly a ‘wooooooaaaahhhhhh’ went up in the away end, like you get at the cricket when a fast bowler is running up to deliver the last ball of a match.

The striker knew what the crowd were waiting for and he dragged Pudil in front of the away fans for his trademark European celebration. A great moment.

As we streamed out of the ground the singing continued almost to the point we got back to the bar at The Griffin, at which point it seemed a bit rude to continue rejoicing in a pub full of gutted Brentford fans.

The sun was still shining, the beer still tasted brilliant and we had a good chinwag before heading back to Brentford station.

It was barely half 6 but I was spent.

Whether it was the emotion the last minute win, the energy exerted singing for nearly 90 minutes non-stop, or the excessive drinking, I knew I was done for and made a beeline for home.

Handily the journey is a lot more bearable when you’ve only got 10 miles to travel…

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

Creg
Owls Alive
E-mail: admin@owlsalive.com

Twitter: @CraigSWFC and @OwlsAlive


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