On the evening before his Crucifixion, Jesus pulled an all-nighter in a garden in Gethsemane, Jerusalem. On the evening before my trip to Brentford, a bunch of students across the road decided to pull a noisy all-nighter.
It might be Sheffield-seven and not an olive grove in the formerly-unacknowledged capital of Israel, but a call to the council to explain the sleep-depriving consequences of the student’s ‘music’, is certainly due.
Drowsy and Jaded. My gut told me that today was not going to be a good Friday, though it couldn’t be much worse than Jesus’s. Having said that, as I hit the M25 I realised that I’d left my tuna and cucumber sandwich on seeded batch on the kitchen table.
Things went from terrible to more terrible when I finally parked up in Brentford. Not only was I in Brentford, but The Cube had only achieved a measly 27 mpg. I had plenty of time before kick-off. Although not enough to visit the popular nearby attraction Queue Gardens, as I didn’t fancy waiting around. What can I tell you of Brentford that can be neatly summarised in a few words? Most of it actually. London’s answer to Selby.
Like X-Men’s Professor Xavier, Dean Smith is known for his tutelage of youth and for being an intelligent enough bloke. Unlike Professor Xavier, Dean Smith is a stand-up guy.
A less irritating Eddie Howe.
DEM 90 MINUTES
Hungry and thirsty, I arrived at the ground at two-thirty and headed straight for the kiosk. I asked the lad behind the counter for a strong cup of tea and a Wispa.
“[Indistinguishably quiet],” the lad replied.
And so I told him, I can’t hear you mate.
“That’ll be £3.50,” he said, this time audibly. And so I made my way to my seat. When I eventually sat down, I had an epiphany. Two actually. That lad never bothered to give me a Wispa and hebrews a poor cup of tea. The latter doesn’t surprise me. In London, you regularly find a layer of soft-water scum atop your brew. In the same way that the top of my road is regularly inhabited by soft student scum.
But away from those vexations – away! Away to Brentford and the game kicked off. It started out fairly scrappy. Brentford made the early yards but most of their chances came to nothing.
DEM BLADES should’ve opened the scoring, however, a peach of a left-footed cross by John Fleck was met by a plum of a finish by Billy Sharp, who failed to find the onion bag at close range. There was solid attacking intent shown by both sides, but the first half ended 0-0.
The second half was a tale of two goals, two goalkeepers, a ginger holding midfielder, nineteen other players and six substitutes. The first goal went to DEM BLADES. Chris Basham accurately struck the ball against the legs of the unsuspecting Bs defender. He struck it hard and true and it flew into the bottom corner to set the score at 0-1.
Minutes later, DEM BLADES came unstuck from a set-piece. An attacking freekick was swung into the box. A clearance found its way to the left-leg of Mepham and he drilled home to make it 1-1.
A melée did not ensue after the equaliser went in. Instead, the flame-haired Ryan Woods attempted to carry the ball to the centre circle, but Nick Blackman had other ideas. DEM BLADES’ goalkeeper held the ball at a height that Woods couldn’t reach. Woods jumped, but quickly realised that is wasn’t endeavour that prevented him from retrieving the ball, but a full metre. Almost-slaps were exchanged and the ref brandished two red cards, which is more than I’ll get for Easter (but slightly less than I’d get for a birthday or Christmas).
DEM LADES had een in the ascendancy efore the sending off and, afterwards, rentford looked like they’d totally lost their ottle. The Bs had gone missing. What Brentford lacked in flair, DEM BLADES didn’t – they even let one off in the first half. Wilder’s men looked at the races. They weren’t, they were at the football, but they looked to have found the verve from the early-season form.
Twenty minutes to go. DEM BLADES on the attack. Cue fist clenching, pangs of nerves and sweaty psalms. Basham had another chance but David Bentley diverted his strike away from goal. Leon Clarke had a mazy run at goal. He jinked past a couple of defenders but was shown a red light by the onrushing Bs’ keeper. Donaldson came on from the bench and had two guilt-edge chances to make it 1-2. But, once again, Bentley was in Rolls Royce form to deny him.
The final whistle blew. The moral of the story was that it’s probably worth investing in a Bentley. Whilst I can’t afford such an automobile, I could afford to reflect on the day as a whole: with an excellent performance fresh in the mind, the facilities at Northampton services soon-to-be-enjoyed and a tuna sandwich on seeded batch waiting for me at home, it was going to be a good Friday after all.
God said, “Come forth.” There’s not much chance of that happening, but defeats for Middlesborough and Derby keep DEM BLADES in the hunt for the play-off places. With Neil Warnock’s in-form Cardiff team visiting Bramall Lane on Monday, could it be the perfect opportunity to ressurect DEM BLADES season? I pray that it is.
Man of the Match