Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...  (Read 1998 times)

Offline whitejc

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Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« on: November 23, 2014, 09:22:37 AM »
Brentford 2 Fulham 1. Can it get any better?

Hugh Grant. Daniel Radcliffe. Keith Allen. Possibly Lily Allen. Are you listening? Our Brentford gave your Fulham one hell of a beating.

Like celebrity Cottager Richard Osman, Brentford left Fulham ‘Pointless’ on Friday night as the Bees stormed to fourth place in the Championship, one point off the top of the table, after an incredible stoppage time win.

In front of a sell out crowd, with the atmosphere building well before kick off, Brentford came out flying. It was a first half the Bees controlled to levels that are deemed inappropriate outside a select handful of Far Eastern brothels, such was our domination.

It was only last gasp defending and some first class goalkeeping from the visitor’s Marcus Bettinelli that kept Fulham in it as Alex Pritchard and Toumani, amongst others, did everything but break the deadlock. The Bees had the game by the throat but couldn’t make it count. With the scores 0-0 at half time I won’t pretend that I wasn’t disappointed to be going in level. And if only because we’d seen what happens next before…

But Brentford are made of stern stuff these days. Inevitably, Hugo Rodallega gave our visitors the lead after Ross McCormack had picked up a wayward pass from Harlee. That horrible deflated feeling settled over the crowd and, for ten minutes, it seemed as though we were going to have our moment in the sun ruined.

Then Harlee stepped up. A later rewatch of the game on Skyplus gave us the gem, “What a way to make amends” as the centre back leathered a piledriver into the top corner from just inside the box.

It was a hammer blow that any player would have been proud of although we must also thank the Fulham defence who left him totally umarked. Harlee had enough time to pick his spot, read the maker’s name on the ball (Mitre, for the record) and wave to his girlfriend before leaving Bettinelli flapping at air.

That made it 1-1 with 81 minutes gone. Would we have settled for it, then? With both sides pushing, a point wouldn’t have been a bad thing but the prize on offer was just too big to sit back on.

And it was Jota, with the game well into the first of three additional minutes, who sent Brentford supporters bonkers. The Spaniard fired home from distance with the goalkeeper flat footed after the ball took a slight deflection on it’s way to the back of the net.

Yesssssssss!!!!! Eight hours later I’m still buzzing at that moment and what it meant. We’d joked after the Millwall game that things couldn’t get any better than that. Into the play off zone via a comedy own goal from a former QPR player. That could be our peak.

But no, this has then proceeded to wipe that off the park. Bragging rights are ours. The derby win is ours. With the eyes of the nation watching, we took Fulham apart and have moved to our highest League position in 62 years.

If pushed, I’d say that Toumani was, again, man of the match for me. Incredibly, it seems the Sky TV panel gave the vote to Fulham’s Ross McCormack.

It’s a decision I just can’t fathom and, quite frankly, the injured Alan McCormack had a better game. Although once more, so many players took their game to such a level that to highlight anybody would be unfair.

However, that’s the least to worry about on a night that saw Brentford take an already crazy season to even crazier levels. And with Warbs appearing as guest pundit on Saturday’s Football League Show, it will be very interesting to hear what he has to say once the dust has settled.

For now, though, let’s just enjoy the moment. What a game. What a night. What a win.

Things can’t get any better than that. Surely……?

Richard Osman’s Fulham were left…pointless

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 09:25:06 AM »
Alan Curbishley set to return as Fulham's director of football... nine months after the club sacked him from same role! 
Alan Curbishley was dismissed as technical director when Felix Magath took over as manager last February
Curbishley will now be restored to his old role, having lasted little more than two months previously
Fulham now sit in 17th with 19 points from 18 games in the Championship

Fulham are to bring Alan Curbishley back as director of football – nine months after sacking him from the same role.

Curbishley was dismissed as technical director when Felix Magath took over as manager last February – but is back in favour now he has gone.

Kit Symons, Magath’s replacement, wanted Curbishley to return, but the decision was taken out of his hands by Fulham’s appointments committee.

Alan Curbishley is all smiles during his last spell with Fulham back in December, 2013

Former Fulham manager Felix Magath walks off the pitch his side’s 1-0 home loss to Wolves in October

They interviewed several candidates but have now decided that the best man for the job was the man they had at the club in the first place – and Curbishley will now be restored to his old role, having lasted little more than two months previously.

Despite owner Shahid Khan gathering a five-man appointment committee of academy boss Huw Jennings, Nike director David Daly, Niall Quinn and former Fulham players Danny Murphy and Brian McBride, Symons was promoted to boss in late October having overseen five wins from his first nine games.

Fulham now sit in 17th with 19 points from 18 games in the Championship.

Kit Symons was promoted to Fulham boss in October having overseen five wins from his first nine games

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Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 09:26:52 AM »
Bettinelli: Hard To Take

Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was lost for words following the late defeat at Griffin Park having felt the Whites were perfectly placed to secure three points.

Leading Brentford as the clock ticked past 80 minutes, Bettinelli could scarcely believe the final result and held sympathy for our vocal travelling supporters, who turned out in huge numbers.

"I’m stuck for words at the moment," said Bettinelli. "Not a lot got said in the changing room between the players straight after because we’re all absolutely gutted.

"We all knew how big a game this was, not just for us in the league, but for the fans, for the club, for everyone involved.

"We fought hard in the game, there were spells where we had to defend and we did, but we’re so gutted we came out of the game with nothing.

"At about 80 minutes, I felt we could see it out. I was confident in the back four and the rest of the boys. But they are two sloppy goals from us defensively.

"We’ll have to look at them and put it right for next weekend but at the moment it’s all very raw. We’re just absolutely gutted we haven’t got a win, or a point minimum."

Bettinelli was finally beaten on 81 minutes by Harlee Dean's strike, after delivering one of his finest performances in a Fulham jersey, making numerous full-length saves to deny a Brentford side who dominated large portions of the game.

The Bees went on to score a 91st-minute winner when substitute Jota's shot ricocheted off a lunging Dan Burn, causing the ball to deviate past Bettinelli's outstretched arm, and the the 22-year-old lamented such bad fortune in the closing stages.

"The ball is coming straight at me and I would have caught it with ease, but Dan is doing his best to get a block in. I can’t fault him," Bettinelli continued.

"The amount of times Dan, Niko, Kostas and Elsad have blocked my goal when I’ve not been able to get there, that’s been numerous, so I can’t put any blame on Dan for trying the block.

"It was really unlucky. On another day, it goes wide of the post and he’s the hero but it wrong-footed me and unfortunately it went in."

Such a cruel moment capped a rollercoaster week for the Whites shot-stopper, who felt the highs of his first international call up and the lows of returning home from England Under-21s training with a thumb injury, one positive being he came through the 90 minutes on Friday evening without any further issues.

"It’s been a tough week for me personally," added Bettinelli. "It was great at the start of the week, and obviously I was really disappointed to leave the England camp but this game was in my mind and I know how important it was to come home and get that right.

"It was touch and go whether I was going to play or not, and I trained on the Thursday and got the all-clear from the doc and the medical staff, and I was delighted with that, and to start the game.

"I’m happy I came through it fine but I’m absolutely gutted we didn’t get any points out of this tonight.

"Every game that you play in the Championship is going to be a tough game and we know that when we go into it but we’re a strong bunch of lads, mentally and physically, and we’ve got to focus on next week," Bettinelli said.

"We’ll look at the videos, assess where we could have been better. We’ve got to take this hurt that we have right now and take it into next week."

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 09:29:08 AM »
Bees Rule Supreme Over Fulham As Griffin Park Erupts

On a rare night off from reporting Brentford for the Press Association, Jim Levack looks back at a monumental evening at Griffin Park.

The secret is out… harmless little Brentford, a side from the backwaters of London football, are waking from eight decades of slumber.

The fact that last night’s game was televised will, if the reports I’ve read in today’s nationals, have broadcast that fact to the football-loving nation.

Prior to last night Mark Warburton’s men were enjoying a first season bounce, running on adrenalin and a bit of luck.

We, of course, know different. We are aware that this is a team in the truest sense of the word that works to a simple yet effective system that also encompasses freedom of expression.

Lined up against Fulham’s World Cup names – the likes of Ruiz and Rodallega – the neutrals probably gave the Bees only a faint chance of a win.

The events of last night were magnificent, historic, breathtaking, whatever adjective you care to use. But still another three points.

The win meant a lot against a side that bought its way to the Premiership as their fans forgot their roots. Brentford will never lose theirs.

 “Simply put, Warburton’s side were superb. They buzzed, pressed and provided real moments of quality to suggest they are at home in the top six.” – Jack Gaughan, Mail Online *

For me, though, last night’s game epitomised in 93 minutes what this new Brentford squad is all about and, in a way, encapsulated the season so far.

Two substitutes joining the fray late on to play pivotal match-winning roles in the outcome.

A defender reportedly dejected at not being included a month or so ago scoring a technically brilliant striker’s goal for the equaliser.

The same defender learning that a misplaced pass can spell disaster at this level, but having the guile, contained rage and desire to put it right.

A midfielder rumoured to be on his way out on loan in the summer looking like Brentford’s answer to Yaya Toure in the heart of midfield for the fourth game on the spin.

Mark Warburton’s post match pressers constantly feature the mantras “Squad game, tight margins, clinical finishing” – never were they more relevant than in this game.

Freed from the demands of reporting for Press Association last night I was also able to pick up on nuances of the game’s mechanics to watch body language, look at the benches reactions. Small things that you miss with a notebook in hand.

* “These have been long, tortuous years for the Bees and Friday night under the lights felt very much like the outpouring of 16 seasons of frustration.”

One thing I didn’t miss, midway through the second half, was a response from the Griffin Park crowd I haven’t heard in more than 40 years of watching the Bees and never ever thought I would.

Maybe I was imaging this – so it would be good if anyone who has read this far could confirm it for me – but it came when Harlee Dean hoofed a ball high in to the TW8 night.

His agricultural clearance was greeted not by a groan but by a collective gasp of shock or incredulity from the home supporters. “How could this happen?” “A hoofed clearance – surely not”.

That reaction, in a millisecond, summed up for me just how far we have come under Mark Warburton and his squad of players.

Where once such a ball out of defence would bring a mass groan to be followed by another wave of attack against us, Brentford fans now marvel at the tight triangles this squad use to turn defence into attack. Fast.

We have players capable of bringing a 40-yard crossfield ball down with the outside of their foot or wrestling a giant defender twice their size off the ball, but they are, above all, a team and that is where they have the edge over many sides in the Championship.

Bees fans will wake up looking at the league table wondering if it’s as much a  dream as the Trotta penalty was a nightmare, but they – we – are a realistic bunch with sensible expectations and that too is good for this squad.

It was strange last night but I actually told a friend that we’d score 30 seconds before the equaliser and fancies us even more with the momentum that gave us… but had we lost I’d have still gone home happy after a performance like that.

I berated Stan Collymore on Twitter last week for flagging up the achievements of every Championship side except Brentford on his radio phone-in.

He’ll be noticing us now, but here’s a plea Stan – keep ignoring us mate.

Jim Levack

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 09:30:04 AM »
Symons Rues Mistakes but Praises Brentford
It was a bitter pill to swallow last night.

Losing in the manner in which we did against Brentford whereby we were leading 1-0 with ten minutes to go and then lost 2-1; didn`t sit too well with Kit Symons.

After the dust had settled Kit had this to say to the media afterwards, commenting,

"Having gone in front with such a short period of time to go makes it very disappointing to come away with nothing at all."

"It was poor decisions and poor defending. Both were preventable."

"But full credit to Brentford, they played very well and looked a very good side."

They did and perhaps we should aspire to be like them if we are to make that late dash for a Championship play-off place.

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Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 09:33:19 AM »
Mark 'delighted' as West London rivals beaten at Griffin Park

Brentford Manager Mark Warburton hails tremendous comeback as his side recover from a goasl down to beat Fulham at Griffin Park

Brentford Manager Mark Warburton said he was delighted with the “tremendous” way his team fought back from a goal down to beat Fulham in a West London derby last night.

The Bees dominated most of the match but fell behind to a Hugo Rodallega goal after Harlee Dean conceded possession in his own half.

Dean responded to level inside the final ten minutes and Jota, on as a substitute, fired home the winner in stoppage time, with the help of a deflection from Fulham defender Dan Burn.

Mark, speaking after the match, said his team were “excellent” in the first half and hailed Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli for his performance including a save from Toumani Diagouraga that was described as “magnificent”.

He said they dropped a little for a section of the second half, when Fulham scored, but responded, added energy and won the match.

“I was delighted,” said Mark.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half.

“We had no problem at half time, we had created lots of chances and their keeper was outstanding.

“The save from Toumani, especially, was magnificent, a world class save.

“That was good; we were playing in the right areas, moving the ball quickly and with quality and we were delighted at half time.

“All we lacked was reward for our efforts.

“We started off brightly in the second half, which was good, but then we had a period, from 55 minutes to 70 where we were deeper, weren’t moving the ball with the same purpose and precision and we paid the price.

“They scored and we had to recognise that.

“We wanted to be higher and wanted more energy from the substitutes – Stuart Dallas, Jota, Nick Proschwitz – and we got that.

“To come back in that manner was tremendous.”

Fulham’s goal came when Dean slipped and passed straight to George Williams, the midfield player moved it on to Ross McCormack in the inside left channel and when the ball was played square, Rodallega slotted home.

Mark said he had no problem with his players making errors looking to play that way.

“We have to be brave,” he said.

“I am not concerned about a mistake from Harlee; I am more concerned if he doesn’t want the ball.

“Mistakes will come and he will learn.

“There was a tremendous reaction to go and get the goal.

“You can’t say ‘Be brave, get on the ball but don’t make a mistake’, it doesn’t work that way.

“It is about the character and commitment of the players but also their fitness levels, which is worked on every day in training with the medical and conditioning staff.”

Mark said his side dropped deeper, particularly Diagouraga and Jonathan Douglas in the centre of midfield, for a section of the second half.

He said he called on them to get further up the pitch and praised the way they didn’t hide.

The Bees equalised when Dean strode forward and played it wide to Dallas before heading in to the penalty area, when the ball came back in the centre half was there to lash in to the top corner.

They then won it as the clock ticked past the 90th minute.

Alan Judge played a superb cross field pass to Jota on the right touchline and the Spaniard killed it first time and set off, he weaved his way inside and let fly with a shot that flicked off Burn and beat Bettinelli.

“We were a bit deeper,” said Mark.

“Toumani and Dougie were deeper and they are influential players so we were ten yards deeper as a team.

“We won’t hurt the opposition from there.

“We wanted to be higher and play with more energy, be brave and want the ball.

“The players didn’t hide after conceding a goal.

“We showed good quality and we threatened.

“I was delighted for Harlee and for Jota to come on and finish in that fashion was tremendous.”

Mark said his side needed to lift the crowd in the second half.

“We were very good in the first half,” he said.

“This is becoming a tough place to come to.

“We have to maintain that and then go on the road and get the results we hope.

“The players are delighted for the supporters.

“When the winning goal went in it was tremendous.

“The fans went a bit quiet as we took our foot off the pedal.

“It was important for us to get Griffin Park rocking again.

“The goal from Harlee was a great strike and it was intimidating again, Fulham dropped deeper and we could impose ourselves.

“The supporters play a massive role in what we do.”

Brentford climbed to fourth in the table after the win and Mark said his side could get better.

“There is more to come,” he said.

“The belief is starting to flow now, which is excellent.

“We have to be more clinical and take the chances.

“We have Jon Toral, who is 19, Jota adjusting to life in England, Marcos Tébar, Sam Saunders, Tommy Smith and James Tarkowski, all not involved tonight.

“We are doing OK; we have to make sure we have cover.

“There is more to come and hopefully we can maximise what there is in the squad.


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff (23/11/14)...
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 09:34:45 AM »
Brentford star: We didn’t realise how big the Fulham game really was until we started playing in it

Moses Odubajo has revealed that the Brentford squad had not how realised how important Friday’s 2-1 win over Fulham was until they saw the passionate Griffin Park crowd.

The Bees fell behind to Hugo Rodallega’s 57th minute strike after Harlee Dean’s error but the defender made amends as he fired home an equaliser with nine minutes remaining.

And when Jota fired home, via a deflection from Dan Burn, the home fans erupted as they celebrated their first win over their west London rivals in the league since they beat the Whites 4-0 on their way to winning the Division Three title in 1992.

Odubajo told London24: “We didn’t realise how big this game really was until we started playing in it and you saw the fans’ reactions from all of the goals today.

“It’s an unbelievable night for the club as a whole.

He added: “You could just see the passion in the fans and how much it meant to the fans to win this derby.

“Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about next week [against Wolves].”

In Alan McCormack’s absence through an ankle ligament injury, Odubajo, a naturally attacking player by trade, has been forced into the right back position.

And he won the sponsors’ man of the match award for his part in keeping Bryan Ruiz, Hugo Rodallega and Ross McCormack quiet for the majority of the game as the Bees outclassed Fulham in all areas of the park.

“I think it’s tough playing against those kind of players,” he added. “You can’t switch off for one second as you saw with the goal.

“Unfortunately Harlee got caught on the ball and it led to a goal. It shows their quality. To keep them quiet for that long, shows us how well we did off and on the ball.”

He added: “I’m taking the games as they come. The manager has put me there to do a job and I’ve got to do it whether it’s right back, right wing, right forward. I feel I’m learning each game.”