A fine start fizzles out as we look back on the month of March in our 2018/19 Season Review
QPR put to the sword (again)
March began with a West London derby at Griffin Park against Queens Park Rangers. We’d won all three previous Sky Bet Championship meetings in TW8 and that became four thanks to a Neal Maupay penalty plus goals from Saïd Benrahma and Sergi Canos. As well as securing bragging rights for another year, the win was a seventh straight on home soil and closed the gap on the top six to just eight points. It also was a record-breaking afternoon for our red-hot French striker.
History rewritten on Teesside
Before March’s visit to The Riverside Stadium, you’d have to search pretty hard for a Brentford fan who could claim to have seen us beat Middlesbrough anywhere, let alone in the North East. Our last victory over Boro had come back in January 1964 while it was March 1938 for our most recent success on Teesside. The omens didn’t look good as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the final 20 minutes against a patched-up Bees side. However, Ryan Shotton deflected into his own net before, three minutes later, Saïd Benrahma swept home to make the journey back down the M1 a happy one for once.
Lars Friis announces his departure
Midway through the month, Brentford B Head Coach Lars Friis announced that he would leave at the end of the season to return to his native Denmark. Lars arrived in West London at the start of the 2018 when he was appointed Individual Development Coach. He took over as Brentford B Head Coach late in 2018 when Kevin O’Connor stepped up to the First Team coaching group, leading the B Team to two cup finals in his first few months in charge.
International ambitions fulfilled
A record 16 players were involved with their nations during the March international window. Kamohelo Mokotjo set up both goals as South Africa booked their place in next month’s Africa Cup of Nations while Saïd Benrahma earned his first cap for Algeria since 2015 during their friendly against Tunisia. Henrik Dalsgaard’s first international goal couldn’t have come at a better time, the right-back netting a 93rd minute equaliser to snatch a remarkable draw for Denmark who had found themselves 3-0 down away in Switzerland with six minutes to play. Elsewhere, Jan Zamburek helped Czech Republic Under-18s win the SportChain Cup in the UAE.
Yoann Barbet’s last game
Following the victory over Middlesbrough, defeats to Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion had stalled our late charge towards the top six. Returning after the international break with a trip to Wigan Athletic, Yoann Barbet was forced off with an ankle injury just after the break. It would turn out to be the last time the popular Frenchman was seen on a pitch in Brentford colours, his injury ruling him out for the rest of the campaign. The 0-0 draw also opened up even more of a gap between us and the Play-Offs ahead of the final seven matches.
Saïd Benrahma 2
Sergi Canos, Neal Maupay, Own Goal 1