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Season Review: Jota returns as Bees end 2016 with two draws

Part 11 of our season review concludes December

28 May 2017

Back-to-back wins set Dean Smith's side up nicely for the traditional festive feast of football over the Christmas period.

However, Kyle Bartley’s 88th minute goal denied Brentford a well-deserved point from their trip to Leeds United in their final game before Christmas. It could have been so much more though as Scott Hogan had a first-half goal incorrectly disallowed for offside. After wins over Burton Albion and Bristol City, The Bees looked set to make it seven points from nine, until Bartley stole in and headed home from a short corner in the dying seconds.

A bumper Boxing Day crowd at Griffin Park were treated to a grandstand finish as Sullay Kaikai netted twice late on to secure a point at home to Cardiff City. Peter Whittingham gave The Bluebirds a controversial first-half lead from the penalty spot before Sullay lashed The Bees level inside the final ten minutes. Kenneth Zohore re-established Cardiff’s advantage but Kaikai rose highest in injury time to head home the equaliser.  

The curtain was brought down on 2016 with an instantly forgettable affair at home to Norwich City. After a 5-0 defeat at Carrow Road at the start of December, The Bees put in a much more resilient performance as both teams cancelled each other out at Griffin Park.

Injured midfielder Lewis Macleod received a real boost as he signed a one-year contract extension taking him through to the summer of 2019. The 22-year-old had endured an injury ravaged first 18 months at Griffin Park before suffering a season ending knee injury during the 2-0 win over QPR in October.

Lewis wasn’t the only Brentford player to sign a new deal as young left-back Tom Field also put pen to paper on a deal taking him through to the summer of 2020. Tom, who had been at the club since he was 15, had recovered from a groin injury to make four appearances in all competition before agreeing his new contract.

The dreams of Brentford fans everywhere were realised as Jota was recalled from his loan spell at SD Eibar. The Spanish winger had spent a year back with his former club but would now return to Griffin Park to become part of Dean Smith’s plans.

Brentford B lost for the first-time under Kevin O’Connor as Tottenham Hotspur U23s ran out 3-1 winners in a behind closed doors friendly. Philipp Hofmann was on target for The Bees but the Spurs youngsters proved too strong.

In non-playing news, former defender Tommy Higginson was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Tommy made himself a firm favourite at Griffin Park with a number of spirited displays, which arrived in a number of positions. He finished his Brentford career at the age of 33 with 388 league appearances and 433 in all competitions - he also scored 15 goals for The Bees, picking up a Fourth Division Championship winners’ medal in 1963.

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