NEIL HAS X-RATED VERDICT ON 2016
ALEX Neil was more concerned for his players than his own future after Norwich spurned several chances in a goalless draw with Brentford.
Cameron Jerome missed several opportunities, having a close-range effort blocked before shinning one straight at the keeper just before the break.
The striker didn’t find his shooting boots at half-time, blazing a giltedged chance into stands on 73 minutes before a straight red for Robbie Brady turned the tide.
The Bees looked to press home their advantage but were denied by a fantastic last-ditch tackle by Ryan Bennett at the death.
“I would probably describe 2016 in one word: sh*t. The one thing about football, you’ve always got a chance to make it better,” Neil said.
“My main worry is how it affects the players. For me, as a manager, sometimes you’re dead if you do and dead if you don’t.
“You’re never going to please all the people all the time. What you’ve got to do is do your best. I just hope it doesn’t affect the players.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself, you just need to roll your sleeves up and keep going.
“My overriding emotion is disappointment because I thought we deserved to win.
“I thought we did more than enough to win the game.”
The first chance fell to Jerome on seven minutes, but the striker headed Brady’s cross straight at Daniel Bentley.
John Egan unleashed Maxime Colin down the right on 13 minutes, but Sulley Kaikai snatched at his cut-back and John Ruddy saved comfortably.
Jerome had another chance on 33 minutes after Brady exchanged passes with Nelson Oliveira and found the striker at the back post, but Andreas Bjelland blocked his shot at close range.
Brady found Jerome once more on 42 minutes, but he scuffed the ball into the turf after outpacing Bjelland.
Brentford went close on 69 minutes, when Kaikai’s dangerous free-kick was nodded back across goal by Josh Egan, but Tom Field’s header ballooned onto the roof of the net.
Norwich countered immediately, a neat one-two with Oliveira playing Jerome through, but the striker dragged his shot wide.
Jerome then made a mess of the best chance of the match on 73 minutes. Ivo Pinto bombed down the right before pulling it back to Jerome on the penalty spot, but he wastefully fired over with the goal begging.
Bentley pulled off a superb save with his legs minutes later to deny substitute Jacob Murphy an immediate impact.
The momentum shifted on 80 minutes when Brady saw a contentious straight red for a challenge on Woods that was reckless if not malicious, much to the Irishman’s disbelief.
Ryan Bennett appeared to bring down Hogan in the box on 90 minutes, but the defender just got a touch on the ball to deny him a chance and secure a point.
“I certainly didn’t think it was a Sky classic!” said Brentford boss Dean Smith.
“The unfortunate thing for me is I don’t think we created enough chances.
“We never did enough to win the game and the two best chances fell to them, which they didn’t take. I thought it was a pretty even game.”
MARCHING ORDERS: Robbie Brady is sent off by referee Oliver Langford
STAR MAN RYAN WOODS Brentford