Brentford rolled up at the DW Stadium as old acquaintances were renewed with Uwe Rösler’s former club, an attacking line-up was picked by Rösler, Adam Forshaw, Shaun Maloney, James McClean, Callum McManaman and Oriol Riera all picked from the off, unfortunately though it looked like they hadn’t been given any instructions on how they were expected to play as it was much of the same old dross that was served up.
The Latics had to be grateful to Scott Carson, who has been in top form so far this season, for claiming the solitary point from the game, the former England keeper pulling off three excellent saves, that’s just four points from a possible 21 since we last tasted victory back in August.
We played like a team in serious trouble, which we are, there was no cohesion, no real threat going forward, some players looked nervous on the ball, James Tavernier was left isolated down the Latics right time and again and players shied away from the ball when we were in possession.
The defence and as previously mentioned, Scott Carson were the only pluses, Barnett and Ramis put in strong performances, there were times during the game though when I really felt for Leon Barnett, the lack of a midfield player dropping to take a short ball off him was criminal, leaving the big centre back with little or no option but to give it a hoof up field, Barnett is on the pitch to defend not ping the ball around and set up attacks, surely someone wasn’t doing their job and helping out.
For the record we had three chances, two falling to Shaun Maloney, one in the first half, he saw his effort turned out for a corner by Brentford keeper David Button after he had been set up by Riera, Maloney also had a free kick in the second half that was comfortably held by Button. James McClean went close with a header late on, he met a good Tavernier cross eight yards out but saw his powerful effort go over the bar.
There were also two comical decisions from the officials, both in the first half, James McClean was flagged offside…from a throw-in! The referee bottled the ineptitude of his assistant and gave Brentford a throw, very bizarre, and the visitors were awarded a corner on the stroke of half time by the assistant on the other side when Scott Carson had clearly gathered the ball at least a yard in play.
Scott Carson saved superbly from both Alex Pritchard and Jota in the second half as the visitors carved out the clearest chances, the game finally petered out to a goalless draw and when the whistle sounded there was a smattering of boos from the home fans, all very poor and with the unattractive fixture of Millwall due at the DW next, there isn’t too much to look forward to.
We have played well once this season, Birmingham at home, and been up for the fight on one occasion, the Forest game, the rest, to be perfectly frank has been exceptionally dire and simply not good enough. There will undoubtedly be changes for the Millwall game on Tuesday, again giving the starting eleven little to no chance of formulating partnerships on the pitch, there is something seriously wrong at the club for a squad of players that are as talented as we have to be performing as poor as they are, something needs to give, we have passed crisis point, that for me was Bournemouth away, now we need some action from the top.
One statement made by Uwe Rösler is his post match comments left me a little flabbergasted to be honest and I just have to mention it – ‘I would like to highlight the fact our players could easily have given up in the second half, but they didn’t.’ – Says it all really.
Latics – Carson, Tavernier, Taylor, Ramis, Riera (Delort 63), Maloney (c), McClean, McManaman (Fortune 63), Cowie (Kvist 78), Barnett, Forshaw
Unused Subs – Al Habsi, Perch, Kiernan, Waghorn
Brentford – Button, Bidwell, Craig (c), Douglas, Odubajo (Diagouraga 66), McCormack, Judge, Gray (Proschwitz 71), Pritchard, Jota, Tarkowski
Unused Subs – Bonham, Dean, Tebar, Toral, Betinho