by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (August 2nd 2014)
Mark Warburton saw his Brentford side bounce back from last Tuesdayʼs 0-4 defeat to Osasuna in style. The five goal thriller saw Brentford emerge with a morale-boosting win over Crystal Palace. Last seasonʼs Manger of the Year Tony Pulis saw his team lose by the odd goal in five. “Obviously, weʼd just come off the plane 48 hours ago, so we needed a good run-out and we knew this would be a good run-out today for us and I thought that Brentford played really well”, Pulis said.
He took positives from the match. “The game got stretched, which was again good for us, because it was end to end”, he said. “I thought our lads worked their socks off. You know quite a few of them were tired and it was a good game for them – really good game”.
All the scoring came in the second half. Brentford raced to a two goal lead, but were rapidly pegged back before scoring the winner.
Wayne Hennessey was quickly called into action, tipping over Stuart Dallasʼ header after a minute. He denied Alan Judge from the left of the area shortly afterwards. Mile Jedinak squandered a chance before calling keeper David Button to save his header. The impressive André Gray lobbed Hennessey, but was thwarted by Adrian Mariappa on the line. He made a total hash of a far better opportunity – the last of the half – blasting over from close range.
Jason Puncheon wasnʼt worried by the result. “Oh I thought it was a pre-season game”, he said. “You get games like that. Some teams are obviously a week ahead of us and thatʼs obviously a good game.
Jonathan Douglas opened the scoring in the first minute of the first half by curling an excellent effort past Crystal Palaceʼs goalkeeper Julián Speroni, who replaced Wayne Hennessey for the second half. The Man of the Match turned Damian Delaney inside out before beating Speroni.
The Argentinian international was disappointed not to make Alejandro Sabellaʼs squad for the World Cup run. “It was great They managed to win the games over there up to the semi-final. Yeah it was fantastic”, Speroni said. “Well itʼs a dream for me to play for my country so maybe if I get another good season in the Premier League I will get that recognition”.
André Gray doubled the Beesʼ lead ten minutes into the half after making space on the right of the area to beat Speroni at his near post. Within two minutes the lead had been squandered, both from close range. Glenn Murray got the first, dinking it over a prone defender on the line after Button failed to deal with Yannick Bolasie cross and Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh tapped in from a yard out to level with over half an hour remaining after Button spilled Joe Ledleyʼs shot.
With fifteen minutes remaining Moses Odubajo emphasised what a prodigious talent he is. Odubajo lifted the ball over Joel Ward on the right of the area before shooting across Speroni to score a magnificent winner. “He [Odubajo]was okay”, Puncheon said. “Like I said it was a pre-season game and I think everybody played their part”.
Crystal Palaceʼs ambitions for the coming season are clear – survival. “Stay in the Premiership”, Pulis said. When questioned further on whether that was the limit of his ambitions Pulis said “Yeah. Just that? Here we go”. Puncheon and Speroni agreed on the priority, but hoped for more.
“My ambitions for the season?” Speroni said. “Well just what I said before. I want to have a good season. We all want to have a good season. We did fantastic last season. We end up half way up the table and really we need to carry on in the same way. Well weʼre always trying to improve and we finished eleventh last season and try to improve this season”.
Puncheon agrees. “We take one step as it comes and the next step is the Arsenal game, so weʼll take that step and obviously the main objective is to stay in the Premier League and then see where we go from there”, Puncheon said. “The most important thing is the Premier League. A cup run is a bonus”.
Speroni is glad there is competition for playing time at Crystal Palace. “Of course, as I said before this is the Premier League and we always have high competition for places, so I think itʼs healthy, yeah” he said. “Yeah, I think they are good signings. We need new players to strengthen the squad. And I think the Chairman said they are not going to be the last ones, so looking forward to see who else is joining us”.
So what about ambitions for the club? “I think we need to establish ourselves as a Premier League club and obviously the first two or three seasons are key” Speroni said. “If you manage to stay in the Premier League for two or three seasons, then you can say, we are now an established Premier League club, but it takes hard work. Thatʼs our aim”.
And if and when they achieve that, what then? “To improve every year try to go as high as we can” Speroni said. “I think every club is the same”.
The Final Word
Brentford, promoted to the Championship last season, begin their season next weekend. Mark Warburton wonʼt outline his plans, but sees aiming for survival as negative. Defender Kevin OʼConnor agrees. “To do as well as possible and win as many games as possible”, OʼConnor says is his ambitions for himself and his club.
He doesnʼt rule out promotion to the Premier League either. “Who knows”, OʼConnor says. “I think itʼs possible. Every team starts with zero points, so you just have to try and win as many games as possible and see where it gets you”.