Brentford FC have been offering young journalists the chance to sample life in a Sky Bet Championship Press Box. As part of the Club's relationship with the University of West London, students have been invited to attend games and write match reports. The Club will publish some of those on brentfordfc.com.
As a platinum partner of the club, UWL’s logo is on the top tier of the Brook Road Stand at Griffin Park, in a visible sign of the university’s commitment to supporting the local community as a provider of first-rate higher education courses. The university’s brand also features on the rear of players’ shirts and shorts across the First Team and B Team playing kits. Fundamental to the community-focused collaboration is delivering educational programmes that help forge bonds between the Club and students, associated businesses and local organisations in Ealing and Hounslow boroughs. One of those is the Press Box opportunity.
Students Patrick Crowder and Laurence Brooks attended Brentford's Championship match with Bristol City in October. Their reports, which have only been edited in a minor way, can be seen below.
Patrick Crowder writes:
Thomas Frank’s first match as Brentford FC Head Coach was marked by sunshine, enthusiastic crowds, and defeat. Despite early pressure from The Bees and a promising first half, Bristol City cut short Brentford’s 12-game unbeaten home run with a 1-0 loss. The solitary goal of the game came late, when Niclas Eliasson got the winner in the last 90 seconds.
The first 30 minutes saw good chances made by Brentford, but that initial momentum started to dwindle following a lengthy head injury on Bristol’s Nathan Baker. Bristol had the ball in the net twice, but both goals were disallowed due to players being offside.
In the second half, Chris Mepham was sent off with 30 minutes left. He received his first yellow following a confrontation with Marlon Pack. The second offence came when Eliasson fell while running past Mepham. Thomas Frank called the decision “harsh”, citing the controversy over whether or not Mepham made contact, and stated that “it’s hard to get out of the way” in that situation.
In the frenzied final minutes of the game, Bristol City created an opening which Eliasson took advantage of skillfully. With one man down, Brentford were defeated.
While Frank admitted that it was not the way he wanted to start his reign as Head Coach, he said that the vision he has for Brentford was present in the pressure and intensity of the first 30 minutes. Following the departure of Dean Smith, Frank plans to improve the club by dialing up the same strategy that Brentford has had since he started as Assistant Coach two years ago. He says that his strategy is to “dominate on the ball and press very aggressively when you don’t have it”.
Frank believes in togetherness and hard work, and he plans to make efforts to improve every aspect of the Brentford experience, from the voracity and skill of the players to the quality of the staff.
Laurence Brooks writes:
Thomas Frank’s first game as Brentford FC Head Coach ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat at Griffin Park to Bristol City.
A bright start to the new season had been slightly overshadowed by a poor run of results for Brentford. But, sitting in a promising position at sixth in the table, the players were keen to impress new boss, Frank, appointed last Tuesday.
The early signs were promising from the hosts. Sergi Canós, Lewis Macleod, Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay were instructed to press high, with Josh McEachran and Romaine Sawyers sitting comfortably in midfield, giving Brentford some early possession.
The game’s first big chance came after a cross from the right-hand side found Maupay, who scuffed his first-time shot wide of the target. Sawyers then pulled a shot just wide of the post from distance.
Sawyers continued to be a bright spark in the Brentford midfield with some creative footwork and a dangerous pull-back to Watkins. The latter fired a fierce, first-time shot, which was effectively punched clear by The Robins’ back-up ‘keeper Max O’Leary.
Just before the break, Bristol City seemed to have their wake-up call, immediately after a shaky moment at the back which saw Lloyd Kelly head the ball over the his ownkeeper and nearly into his own net. Their light-footed midfielder Niclas Eliasson curled a delightful ball into the penalty area from the right-hand side. Matty Taylor stooped low to nod the ball past Daniel Bentley. However, the linesman correctly flagged for offside.
The feisty half that followed saw Bristol City’s Marlon Pack and Brentford’s Chris Mepham booked by referee Robert Jones after a brief scuffle and, after some half-chances for the hosts, Eliasson beat the offside trap for City to latch onto an over-the-top through-ball. Mepham brought the winger down 20 yards from his own goal, which resulted in a second bookable offence for the Brentford centre-half. The resulting free-kick, taken by Eliasson, fell to Andreas Weimann, forcing Bentley to make an impressive, point-blank save.
Tension began to build at Griffin Park and, frustratingly for the hosts, McEachran’s commanding midfield presence was no more, after picking up a minor knock before half-time. Kamohelo Mokotjo came on in his place.
Watkins showed some excellent slight of foot down Brentford’s right-hand side, shimmying past Jay Dasilva and firing a shot across goal, which rebounded off the base of the far post.
But, with just one minute of normal time remaining, Bristol City scored the winner. Brentford’s defence seemed to fall asleep and Bristol City’s quickly-taken throw-in gave Dasilva space to float in an excellent cross, which Eliasson volleyed into the corner from close range with finesse. Moments later he could have snatched another, if it wasn’t for Mokotjo’s tenacious tackle inside the Brentford box.
Despite the defeat, Thomas Franks remained in positive spirits in his post-match press-conference. He was pleased to see that his side “created chances”, but explained the team need to reach “a higher level” in certain offensive and defensive aspects.