Brentford 3, Burnley 0

Image above: Burnley’s Roberts before his second yellow card

Third Season: Singing in the rain

‘Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink’, said my mate Charlie as Brentford’s secured their first victory since 19 August to the accompaniment of torrents from the skies. It could have been worse: had the clouds decided to join the afternoon action nearer the kick-off, a flotilla of small boats might have been required to rescue the players and match officials from a flood.

As it was, the Bees found some of the form enjoyed in promising performances at the beginning of the season, most satisfying a 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. But that was then and now was now, when supporters were busy calculating how close to the relegation zone their team might fall if failing to improve on the string of draws and defeats recorded since then.

With Neal Maupay making his first start since rejoining the club, hopes, while not high as kites, were certainly boosted. And with the opposition already languishing in the relegation box, three points was a definite maybe if the worrying list of walking wounded could be replaced in Thomas Frank’s squad shuffle.

Onyeka fends off O’Shea

A near-miss by Maupay – his inside-a-minute shot drifting wide as he bore down on goalkeeper James Trafford – was an indication of the Bees’ determination on the one hand, although on the other there were still those who believed the striker can’t shoot for toffee.

He did his best to convince those doubters after just eight minutes, finding the net from close in after defender Nathan Collins had contributed sterling work in attack. The VAR decision to rule out the goal because of Kristofferson Ajer’s alleged offside was about as popular with the Brentford faithful as losing to Fulham on a wet Saturday, but more of this later.

Bryan Mbeumo – the man who never stops

Later came after 25 minutes when Maupay sent Bryan Mbeumo – at his creative best for much of the game – down the right flank to provide a cross that Wissa was able to tap home at the far post. This could have been the signal for a deluge of chances that saw the Bees forge ahead, but Trafford coped well with them all. A deluge of a different type was to come.

What did arrive after the break was a more cohesive Burnley. As so often happens, Brentford appeared bemused by this and for fifteen minutes or so the game remained far from won. But a candidate for goal of the season so far was just around the corner.

Jensen and Mbeumo calculate the odds

Ajer and Maupay combined on the right with the full-back providing a cross for Mbeumo, cutting inside to find some wriggling room. His thunderbolt of a shot from outside the goal area left Trafford with nothing to do other than scratch his head as the ball zipped into the top corner.

With the balance of play restored and Burnley’s enthusiasm diminished, the visitors were once again reduced to attempts on goal that rarely troubled Mark Flekken, although an embarrassing miss of a gaping empty net by lively forward Luca Koleosho did nothing to lift the visitors’ spirits.

Second goal for Brentford as the storm clouds gather

And then the rains came; very wet rains at that.

Saman Ghoddos, having been substituted for Frank Onyeka, thumped a third goal almost as good as Mbeumo’s and, to complete a miserable afternoon for Burnley, full-back Connor Roberts was despatched to the lonely if dry dressing room for collecting a second yellow card.

Thomas Frank was to express the view that the first half was ‘a top, top performance’ in the team’s first home win of a season marred by injury as well as Ivan Toney’s long suspension. As for the rain, who cares about the weather? I asked Charlie.

‘Samuel Taylor Coleridge did’, said my erudite friend.

Brentford: Flekken; Ajer (substitute Roerslev 76m), Collins, Pinnock. Janelt; Onyeka (sub Ghoddos 84), Norgaard, Jensen (sub Yarmolyuk 76); Mbeumo, Maupay (sub Olakigbe 88), Wissa.

Burnley: Trafford; Roberts, Al-Dakhil, Shea, Taylor; Cullen, Berge (sub Brownhill 66); Trésor (sub Bruun Larsen 66; sub Delcroix 80), Amdouni (sub Redmond 76), Odobert (sub Koleosho 45); Foster.

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