The Twickenham Tribune


Football Focus Is Back!

Football Focus

FOOTBALL FOCUS (Edition 189)

By James Dowden


Football returns as Bees travel to FulhamBrentford FC
Football is back – though not quite as we know it. 104 days after they last kicked a ball competitively in a 5-0 home demolition of Sheffield Wednesday 11 Bees players will don the famous white and red stripes and emerge from the tunnel. There will however be no great roar from the crowd, no pre-match pint with your best mates before the game and no standing alongside your fellow supporters on the terrace. In times like these needs must and football will have to be completed behind closed doors for the remainder of the season.

The great AC Milan manager Arrigo Sacchi once said that “football is the most important of the least important things” and for Brentford these final 9 fixtures are crucial. Chasing promotion to the Premier League for the very first time it would crown a remarkable chapter in the club’s history that has seen the west London club rise from League Two to the Championship in little over a decade. These final nine games are quite simply nine cup finals for Brentford. Stories to be written. Heroes to be created…

The Bees’ first game comes up this Saturday and it couldn’t be a game of greater magnitude. Brentford Head Coach Thomas Frank will make the short trip across London with his team to Craven Cottage for a West London derby with a difference.

In preparation Brentford have played two behind closed doors fixtures against Premier League opposition in the form of Arsenal and Watford. Goals from Tariqe Fosu, Halil Dervişoğlu and Shandon Baptiste gave the Bees a 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates before Brentford went down 2-0 against the hornets at Vicarage Road despite an encouraging performance.

Speaking to the Tribune ahead of the game Frank praised the quality of the Fulham side. “I think that for me Fulham are one of the best sides on the ball so we need to be able to close that down, to defend extremely well and that’s everything from the high pressure to the middle block to the low block” Frank commented. Whilst Fulham have dangerous threats such as Championship top scorer Alexander Mitrovic the Bees Head Coach still believes his side can gain a result, “We need to try to take it to them and stuff like that but can we do that? I think that will give us an advantage.”

With the return of football in such unique circumstances various measures have been taken to manage the physical demands on players and teams. One of these is that managers can now make 5 substitutes, up from the standard 3 in one game, although these are only permitted to be made in three intervals.

Frank believes these could tactically influence games. He said, “Yeah it definitely could. I would say tactically that depends on the game of course. Of course, if you need to change something it’s easier to put on three players instead of only two or one if that’s what we have left. So that definitely gives us some tactical flexibility but I think it’s about using that freshness or extra energy in the right moment of the games especially when the loads are increasing

Final with the late finish to the season and the division that Brentford will play in next season still to be confirmed Frank and his management team will face many challenges with recruitment and player retainment although the Dane has experience in his native country of dealing with a short turn around between seasons. Whilst at former club FC Midtjylland Frank recalled how “In Demark we had that experience. We had very short spells between two league seasons because we started the European qualifiers. So, we had more or less ten days” and he backs his team “just need to deal with it”

Opponent: Fulham (A) Saturday 20th June 12:30 Craven Cottage
Competition: Championship
Opponent record: P37 W18 D10 L9 GF52 GA38 (3rd in the Championship)
Top scorer: Aleksander Mitrovic (23)
Manager: Scott Parker

Previous game: A sole goal from Bryan Mbeumo proved to be the difference as the Bees emerged victorious at Griffin Park in the derby. Neeskens Kebano hit the base of the post early on for the visitors but Brentford were the dominate side in the first half. Mbeumo claimed his fourth goal in as many games on 22 minutes after a mazy run from Said Benrahma. Brentford themselves were then denied by the woodwork twice; first through Ollie Watkins and then Pontus Jansson. In the second half Brentford were the stronger side and unbelievably hit the post for the third time in the game when Marek Rodák in goal for Fulham tipped the ball onto the woodwork from a Mathias Jensen effort but it did not matter in the end as the single goal was enough for all three points.

Interesting fact: Craven Cottage was used as a host venue for several football games at the 1948 London Olympics.

Come on you Bees!



HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGHHampton and Richmond  Borough FC

Hampton cruelly miss out on playoffs after season of renaissance
Hampton & Richmond Borough have missed out on a place in the end of season National League South playoffs by the barest of margins following a vote by National League clubs to end the season on an ‘unweighted’ points-per-game basis.

The Beavers has finished in 8th place just one place and less than 0.2 points on the PPG calculation behind Dorking Wanders in 7th and the final playoff sport. Hampton’s 47 total points from 33 league games accrued 59.818 points when averaged out across a full season whereas Dorking’s 50 points from 35 games proved marginally better when the National League administrators got their calculators out. What is so heart breaking for the fans from the Beveree is that Hampton had played two games less than Dorking as well as still having to play them at home.

The season began slowly under manager Gary McCann with 8 defeats in the opening 11 games of the season but the side turned it around and by the time of the season’s suspension were heading into the final games full of confidence that they could achieve a playoff place.

Highlights of the season include a 2-1 victory at home against eventual league champions Wealdstone, a last minute winner against Maidstone United away from home that provided some chaotic fan celebrations and a run in the FA Trophy that saw the Beavers travel to former Championship side Yeovil Town.

See you next season Beavers fans!



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