CHARLTON ATHLETIC 1 BRENTFORD 0

Stewart Purvis reports on how Brentford's first London derby of the season was another away disappointment.

Presumably one day there will come a game, maybe one which Said Benrahma and Kamo Mokotjo are fit enough to start and a 'recognised' striker is up front, when Brentford not only have more posession and shots but also score and win.Thomas Frank says 'everybody knows it will turn around'. It won't come soon enough, especially for loyal supporters like the 2,250 Bees fans at the Valley. 

For many their journey by boat up the Thames was more fun than what happened after the crew and passengers docked and came ashore at what turned out to be a hot but not very Happy Valley. After hours on deck in the sun and with not a little ale taken it was perhaps just as well that the away end was in the shade for the whole game.

On the pitch Thomas Frank preferred Luka Racic to Julian Jeanvier at centre-back and Emiliano Marcondes returned in place of Bryan Mbeumo. There was no place on the bench for Marcus Forss. 

In the first twenty minutes the Bees had four good chances and didn't take any of them. You don't need to look much further to know why Brentford are not winning games like this.

10 minutes, chance Number One: Pontus Jansson wins a head tennis battle, it falls to Sergi Canos who puts the chance over the top. He walks away, his head in his hands.

12 minutes, chance Number Two: Ollie Watkins gets round the back on the right, chips it to an unmarked Canos who heads over. 

14 minutes, chance Number Three: Canos on the edge of the box tries and fails to curl it round the keeper and it goes wide.

22 minutes chance Number Four: Marcondes only has to cross for an unmarked Canos to put it away. Instead he fiddles around and a defender gets his foot in.

Coach Brian Riemer could soon be seen holding four fingers up at Sergi, we could only guess the meaning. Brentford's attacks were mainly down the left where Rico Henry, with a new four-year contract under his belt, was targeting Bermondsey boy Adedeji Oshilaja, currently Charlton's only fit right back. When Oshilaja went off after half an hour Charlton improvised a back three with Darren Pratley moving from midfield. They set up shop for the remaining hour.

Brentford's three centre-backs looked to be in complete defensive control at the other end until Christian Norgaard gave away possession in midfield and Marcondes- trying to help out- couldn't clear it. Johnny Williams for Charlton switched it inside where Conor Gallagher was in a vast space between a split Brentford defence.He fired past David Raya. 

Which is how the stats at half time read:

Possession: Charlton 36.1% Brentford 63.9%

Shots; Charlton 1 Brentford 4

Goals: Charlton 1 Brentford 0.

After another 45 minutes the possession figures weren't much different, Charlton had added one more shot while Brentford added 8 but still didn't score. You can probably guess the rest from previous games this season. Said Benrahma came on as a sub but didn't make that much difference nor did a restructured formation.There were shots from Mathias Jensen and Ollie Watkins but Charlton deployed the full repertoire of black arts. The most comical moment came when two defenders, clearly not sure whose turn it was to disrupt the game by pretending to be injured, dived to the ground simultaneously like synchronised swimmers. In added time shots rebounded around the Charlton box pinball style as efforts by Bryan Mbeumo, Henrik Dalsgaard and Sergi Canos were blocked by various parts of Charlton bodies. 

According to Thomas Frank it was just like Birmingham again, Brentford had 'dominated massively.. should comfortably have walked away with three points'. Instead Brentford are 19th in the Championship with just two goals in five games, Charlton are 2nd. Not quite what you would have forecast at the start of the season. They celebrated wildly in the Charlton home end, known as The Covered from when it was one of the few sections with a roof in what was otherwise a vast open bowl that once held 75,000. Lyle Taylor, so nearly signed by Brentford in the last minute transfer window search for a striker after selling Neal Maupay, came back out to do a victory jig. Fortunately most Bees fans had gone home by then, it could have been a bit painful for them to watch, wondering what might have been if that deal had gone through.

In the main stand one man stood alone in the VIP visitors area looking out over an emptying Valley.  Jon Dahl Tomasson, who played a season at Newcastle and won a Champions League medal with Milan, is now an Assistant Manager of the Danish National Team. He had travelled to South-East London to scout the five Danish players in the Brentford team: Norgaard, Jensen, Marcondes, Dalsgaard and Racic. He looked totally bemused by what he'd witnessed. His wikipedia entry says Tomasson, who's 42, 'was known for his positional strength and fine finishing as a forward'. For just a moment I was tempted to ask if he fancied a game.

 

Charlton Athletic: Phillips; Oshilaja (sub Lapslie), Lockyear, Pearce, Purrington; Cullen, Pratley; Leko (Hemed), Williams (Field), Gallagher; Taylor

Brentford: Raya; Racic (Benrahma), Jansson, Pinnock; Dalsgaard, Jensen, Nørgaard (Mokotjo), Henry; Marcondes, Watkins, Canós