Stewart Purvis sees Brentford lose out in '14 minutes of pain'


On Saturday lunchtime they got special treatment on the BBC’s 'Football Focus' as the team 'that could go top of the Championship table tonight'. By Saturday teatime they had come down to earth with a real bump on the damp turf of Pride Park. 

Dean Smith made two changes from the Ipswich game; Jeanvier got his first League start at right centre back instead of Konsa and Macleod returned in midfield in place of Mokotjo. Perhaps just as significant was the appearance of Moses Odubajo on the subs bench, putting pressure on Henrik Dalsgaard whose form at right back has not been as consistent as it was before the World Cup.

For Brentford the game had started so well, again. The very first move of the match led to Said Benrahma winning a corner on the right. The Algerian put over a good cross which Dalsgaard headed into the far corner of Scott Carson’s net.

‘The Bees are going up’ sang their supporters in the away corner. 13 minutes later Benrahma won another corner. Was it too much to hope for, could he possibly set up a second goal which might help clinch Brentford's first victory at Derby since 1939? Instead of one of his trademark pacy crosses Benrahma achieved something completely different. He sent the ball straight to a Derby player just a few yards away. With most of the Bees players up for the corner Derby’s counter-attackers set off into great acres of space. Sawyers seemed to consider tripping up one of them but thought better of it and Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool, easily put away his first goal for Derby.

There then followed half an hour in which white waves of Derby attacks washed over Brentford. At the heart of them were Wilson and another loanee, 19 year old Mason Mount from Chelsea, who Gareth Southgate is considering for that elusive England playmaker slot. At the back Fikayo Tomori, another player loaned by Chelsea to old chums Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, was keeping a close eye on Neal Maupay. The Brentford defence found it much more difficult coping with Wilson, Mount and a full decade and a bit older- David Nugent.In the 21st minute an exquisite pass from Bradley Johnson over the top of the Brentford defence found Nugent ahead of Jeanvier and experienced enough to chip over Bentley.

14 minutes of Brentford pain came to an end only after Mount scored directly from a free kick on the edge of the box. Dean Smith would later dispute that it had been a free kick in the first place but the Bees were lucky they were only 3-1 down at half time. Derby had worked out what to do with the team that is now ‘above the radar’; disrupt Bees playing out from the back by an almost continuous press and be ready to anticipate and intercept those long midfield passes which are meant to split defences but sadly often don't.

After one of the goals half of the Brentford team stood in the centre circle debating/arguing about what to do in response. The captain for the day, Lewis Macleod, stayed out of it just as the captain at Villa Park Josh McEachran had done during a similar deliberation there. At half time Dean Smith sorted a few things out and the man who most players seem to regard as the real captain anyway , Romaine Sawyers, came into the game more. Credit to them- subs and all- Brentford prevented an embarrassing scoreline while never really threatening to draw level with a better team. ’Super Frankie Lampard’ sang the Rams fans and the Derby manager, a dad for the second time round this week, said it had been a good few days for him at home and at work.

On the day that Leeds and Middlesborough both dropped points at home, Brentford weren't top. In truth it would have taken a big change in goal difference to achieve that even if they had won. Instead they'd dropped out of the top six and Derby had moved above them.Winning at home and not winning away is becoming a habit. But it's a long old season and there’s always Arsenal to look forward to on Wednesday.  

Derby County: Carson, Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Forsyth, Bryuson, Bennett (sub Jozefzoon), Mount, Wilson (Malone), Nugent (Marriott)

Brentford: Bentley,Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Mepham, Barbet, Macleod (sub Yennaris),McEachran (Mokotjo), Benrahma (Canos), Sawyers, Watkins, Maupay.