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Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 Match Report -As Steve Bruce’s life raft floats away

4 weeks ago
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Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Tuesday 22 December 5.30pm

Just over a week ago, in a match report after the WBA game, I said that the opportunity was there to capitalise on that win and turn it into a bit of a run, if the front foot style was recognised as being affective against beatable opponents, and utilised accordingly.

As expected, Steve Bruce decide to revert to standing on the edge of our own box, looking frightened of Leeds and Fulham and handing them massive dollops of possession to hammer at our patched up defence.

So it had come to this then.

The League Cup suddenly becoming a life jacket for Bruce against the ever choppier seas of a disintegrating league campaign. With a string of defeats coming up against Man City, Liverpool, Leicester and a cup exit at Arsenal, Bruce could do with the prospect of a semi-final at the end of it to point to, when excusing a league position set to grow increasingly perilous.

But could he and a coronavirus ravaged squad even manage that against a top Championship side looking upwards? The fact that Brentford sent out a weakened team meant either this was going to be another stroke of luck, or it was going to be even more embarrassing than we may have thought.

The early goings were quite open, with Brentford clearly not up for compromising their game for any Premier League types. United had a couple of chances, with Wilson almost hammering his way through from a narrow angle, then just failing to connect with a wicked Fraser cross, but the best opportunities were going to the Bees. Pinnock headed over when well placed, then from a later corner the same player knocked it back across goal where the unmarked Canos had an easy header which he nudged poorly wide. Let off.

With Wilson failing to pull the trigger when through on goal in the closing moments, it was goalless at half time, which raised cause for concern. With no extra time, Brentford would likely reintroduce some of their rested regulars, including current Championship top scorer Ivan Toney who is in the sort of form that doesn’t need extra incentive like the opportunity to sink the club you feel didn’t give you a chance.

With Brentford seemingly winning all set pieces and the turf seemingly feeling the effect of the efforts of London Irish, I estimated Newcastle had about 20 minutes to get the game under control.

So those twenty minutes passed without incident and Brentford scored a simple goal. Yedlin dithered a bit to allow Canos to float a cross over. Dasilva was given a load of space to bimble into the box and smash it past Darlow.

To add to the misery, Toney then arrived on the field and, while Bruce introducing Gayle and Joelinton seemed a positive, the removal of Fraser and Almiron took away a large part of our creativity. This was then exacerbated by Carroll replacing Lewis for a top heavy system that should get you goals. However, you need someone to provide the opportunities and Shelvey passing back to the centre halves, or Longstaff passing to Brentford, wasn’t helping to carve out the chances.

A few desperate lofts into the box came but Carroll’s wild shots and Joelinton’s mazy run failed to trouble the keeper and force an undeserved shootout.

So, the league cup will not provide Steve Bruce with a life raft as the season drifts further away. As I have said, the coming weeks will bring further misery and I don’t know quite where we go from here. Perhaps a more perilous league position might force action from Ashley, but I think we’re all getting past caring.

Another pathetic evening of back passing, uninspiring sitting back and inviting the opposition on. I wonder how vehement the defence will be from Sutton, Savage and the like in the coming weeks about Newcastle’s failure to utilise our players to force a competitive game, or if they’ll just not talk about it until we scrape another win. Another rubbish result in a very rubbish year.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Tuesday 22 December 5.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Brentford:

Dasilva 66

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Brentford 49% (46%) Newcastle 51% (54%)

Total shots were Brentford 14 (6) Newcastle 12 (5)

Shots on target were Brentford 5 (1) Newcastle 3 (3)

Corners were Brentford 7 (4) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Robert Jones

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Hayden, Clark, Lewis (Carroll 80), Fraser (Joelinton 65), Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Murphy, Almiron (Gayle 65), Wilson

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Ritchie, Krafth, Hendrick

Crowd: 00,000

(Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Tuesday’s cup knockout – Read HERE)

Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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