To be two down was disappointing considering the way Brentford played for the first 75 minutes of the game. When the third goal went in that disappointment turned to anger followed by embarrassment with the fourth.
It ended in total humiliation for the 889 North End fans inside Griffin Park when the home team made it 5-0. Let’s be clear on one thing, the turning point was not going down to 10 men when Vermijl pulled his hamstring. It was North End’s poor finishing with three or four good chances going begging and the tactics of lumping the ball up to the inexperienced Hugill and the totally ineffective Doyle. Yes, it might well have been a bad day for the players and the manager, but not half as bad as for the loyal fans who paid good money to see their team humiliated on an early Autumn afternoon in West London. North End started brightly, as you would expect after an good result in midweek against the now rock bottom Cardiff City. Once that initial burst was over the game got bogged down in midfield with the two lines of four just content to snuff Brentford out and to hurl the ball forward. This was very frustrating as we had Gallagher, McGeady and Robinson who are all creative players just standing in a line of four trying to repel the opposition.
I don’t think the Bees scored against the run of play, I actually think they scored against the general run of the game which became a bit of a bore fest in the middle of the first half. North End rallied and Vermijl forced a save right on the stroke of half time. North End had their usual 10 minute spell after another losing half-time team talk but although we huffed and puffed, the forwards were getting very little service and the game reverted to a midfield contest once again. We brought on Makienok to try and win some balls in the air but it was the hosts who won the game in the 74th minute. A corner from the right eventually found Dean who made it two with a shot in the right hand corner. North End then had two chances to reduce the arrears when a McGeady shot was saved and Makienok missed an absolute sitter right in front of the away support as frustration turned to anger. Vermijl hobbled off holding his right hamstring and North End just never got organised from that moment on. Hogan made it three after a mix up from a Johnson header back to Clarke. Chris Humphrey, unluckily, turned the ball into his own net and when Hogan made it five it completed the worst performance I have ever seen from a Simon Grayson team in his three and a half years at Deepdale.
The inquest started immediately after the game as the faithful made their way home by road, rail, coach and some of the southern based fans on foot. We didn’t go out to play attacking football, we actually went out to stop Brentford playing for a while. Questions were asked as the North End fans dispersed. Why was Joe Garner sold and not replaced? Where is the investment promised after promotion? Is the club line of achieving Premier League football just talk? Is Grayson the man to take us forward?Is relegation a certainty after the start we have had and confidence rock bottom amongst the fans? After defeats like this it is only human human nature to look to blame someone or a number of people and you need to step back and assess things in the cold light of day. Tuesday is a free hit at Bournemouth as we are not expected to win anyway but Friday against Wigan is a mighty big game.Simon has a big job to do this week to get the players minds right after this absolute shocker in the shadow of the Chiswick Flyover.