Brentford 0, Fulham 0

It promised to be a London derby of thrills (Regulión v Castagne)…

Third Season: Double dishwater

Flashback to a year ago, when Brentford travelled to Anfield with high hopes of beating Liverpool in their own backyard. After all, the Bees had beaten them 3-1 at the Gtech Stadium earlier in the season and were nestled at number nine in the Premier League, having already been victorious over both the Manchester clubs as well as Chelsea, Thomas Frank and his team were on a roll.

Liverpool didn’t oblige that day by handing the Bees another win, Mohammed Salah – who else? – scoring the game’s only goal, but the visitors produced a spirited performance and to retain their ninth place come season’s end. Brentford had properly arrived in football’s top flight in only their second season.

No such glory this season, however. Avid supporters are familiar with the catalogue of injuries that have contributed to Frank finding it difficult to field the same eleven players for consecutive fixtures (Aaron Hickey, Ethan Pincock, Rico Henry and Ben Mee were four of the first-teamers present at Anfield who suffered long absences during the present campaign).

…and spills    (Mbeumo and upended Robinson)…

So, although only mildly flirting with the relegation box this term, the Bees have buzzed less successfully, achieving safety with three-point wins over strugglers Sheffield United and Luton.

Everton, plagued with League protocol punishments, still managed to beat Brentford twice, the second time with a solitary goal in April to save their own bacon (see below). And the penultimate home match of the season found Fulham visiting the Gtech, bringing with them a better record than Bees but not one that could be written or boasted about.

Sad to report, the contest between two of West London’s also-rans did not produce much of note. Brentford failed to control the play, but then so did Fulham. The result: a dull contest without little to commend it and containing about as high an excitement level as a kickabout on a Sunday morning in many local parks.

…but despite Mbeumo’s ever-effervescent energy…

Fulham, sporting pink shorts but little else in the way of natty kit, started well, winning a corner inside a minute but nothing made beyond it. Bryan Mbeumo forged into Fulham territory and was unlucky to see his shot hit the crossbar and keeper Bernd Leno snaffle the rebound. Toney made a promising run into the penalty box but shot wide.

And there was some of the same, but nothing to send the pulses racing.

Toney appeared worryingly disinterested in the match going on around him, which left Bryan Mbeumo to launch forays on the right without much success. At the other end, lone striker Rodrigo Muniz spent considerable time running down Mark Flekken without getting very near him.

Mostly, the best of the interest centred on referee Graham Scott, whose whistle seemed something with which which he had little infinity and, when reluctantly used, found critics from both sides who thought he was a one of several ribald adjectives at their employ.

It would be remiss not to mention that most effective of the Bees’ players was Mikkel Damsgaard, who is becoming a midfielder of considerable talent and when the times comes up deserves his promotion into starting line-ups where other more recognised are first call.

Two further games will see the season out. Here’s hoping they are livelier than this one.

Brentford: Flekken; Ajer (substitute Roerslev 45+3m), Collins, Pinnock, Reguilón; Nørgaard (sub Onyeke 82), Damsgaard (sub Schade 82), Janelt (sub Yarmoliuk 66): Mbeumo, Toney, Lewis-Potter (sub Wissa 66).

Fulham: Leno; Castagne, Diop, Bassey, Robinson; João Palhinha, Lukic (sub Cairnev 75); Iwobi (sub Wilson 90+2), Pereira (sub D Cordova-Reid 75), Willian (sub Traoré 64); Rodrigo Muniz (sub Jiménez 54).

Bill Hagerty is a contributing editor to the Bees United website. Photographs by Liz Vercoe.

Bill, who lives in Chiswick and is a former Fleet Street editor, was named Journalist Laureate 2023 the London Press Club awards:

READ ALSO: Former Fleet Street editor, Chiswick resident Bill Hagerty, is named Journalist Laureate 2023

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar