Journey’s end for the 2018-19 season came at Griffin Park, Brentford and in all honesty there was very little to write home about from a North End perspective.
A lack lustre 3-0 defeat was just about as miserable as it could get for the 812 travelling fans who decided on making the trip to the capital and were, quite frankly, rewarded with an awful performance.
North End were slow to the ball all over the park and didn’t really look like scoring in any part of the game. Gally called for some perspective after the match but getting up at 5:30am on a Sunday morning for a 13-hour day to watch that certainly puts things in perspective, alright, from a fan’s point of view.
I don’t know about us running out of steam at the end of the season but the hosts certainly didn’t run out of steam and made us look like relegation candidates. Alex Neil named the same team that drew with Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday once again resisting the temptation to play Ben Pearson who was just one booking away from another suspension.
The game was held up for 11 minutes just after the kick off when Stockley collided with a Brentford defender and, quite rightly, every precaution was taken to ensure the defender left the field in a safe manner.
The game was very open in the early stages but it was always the Bees who looked more dangerous on the attack and looked the most likely to score. With about 50 minutes on the clock, the home side took the lead when Konsa fired home from close range after North End had failed to clear properly from a corner kick.
After the interval the manager replaced Stockley with Nmecha but to very little avail as North End’s threat almost disappeared completely once Brentford had gone 2-0 up five minutes into the second half when Maupay scored unmarked just six yards out.
North End tried to rally but we just could not get a telling ball through to the forwards who were having a tough afternoon against the Brentford defence. North End went to a 4-4-2 when Moult came on for Robinosn on the hour mark but it was Brentford who had the final say with Forss scoring easily in front of the home fans with just six minutes to go.
Ginelly had a good chance late on for North End but his shot was blocked and an afternoon to forget was just about complete for a well beaten North End. There is no getting away from the fact that this was a very poor display even if it was the last game of the season.
We seemed to have gone right off the boil since the Leeds’ game and whether that is through injury or tiredness or both is a debatable point. Alex Neil is not stupid and he will be hurting as much as anyone after this late season fall off and those in the board room at Deepdale must make sure he is supported in the transfer market in the close season.
Before the game at Villa I would have gladly taken 14th position in the league but when the inquest is held into this season we might well look back at an opportunity missed three-quarters of the way through. Time to reflect and then re-change our batteries for another go come August.