Brentford Head Coach Dean Smith was at a loss to explain why his side put in the performance they did as they slumped tamely to defeat at Barnsley, a result which ended any lingering Play-Off hopes. A deflected Kieffer Moore cross gave The Tykes an 11th minute lead against the run of play but after that The Bees struggled to land a meaningful blow. Oli McBurnie then added a second just after the break as Smith’s Bees fell to a first defeat in eight.
Speaking after the match, Dean said: “I know there’s one game left but what we have been trying to achieve has gone in 45 minutes. I thought we were good in the first 45 minutes; we were in total control and created opportunities but the final ball let us down. However, we conceded a spawny goal which deflected off Chris Mepham’s shin and into the top corner. You had to turn round and laugh because we were in total control. I wanted the players to go out and be a little bit tidier on the ball but they got a corner, we didn’t do our jobs, and they scored. From then on, we lost our discipline and were sloppy on the ball. I didn’t see that second-half coming and they thoroughly deserved the win.”
The defeat, coupled with Derby’s draw against Aston Villa, put the Play-Off places out of reach ahead of next Sunday’s season finale at home to Hull City. A victory for The Bees against The Tigers could still see them end the season in seventh on 71 points which Dean believes has to be the aim despite the obvious disappointment at today’s result.
“It’s a very deflated dressing room because that is an opportunity gone,” admitted Dean. “We will look back all season at games which we lost points. That was another one today. It wasn’t to be but we have to learn from it and move on. [Finishing seventh] has to be an incentive for everyone. You don’t want the season to finish on that second-half performance that’s for sure. We will work this week and hopefully get a really good performance on Sunday.”
The Bees were roared on by nearly 1,500 travelling fans at Oakwell this afternoon after the club laid on free coaches for the trip to South Yorkshire. Dean was thankful to those fans for their support and apologised the team couldn’t give them more to shout about.
“It was tremendous backing today and I feel sorry for them because they didn’t deserve that second-half showing,” explained Dean. “We have played some scintillating football at times this season but today was just a step too far I suppose.”