JOTA DOUBLE ADDS TO SAD OLLIE’S PAIN
IAN Holloway refused to hide behind excuses after Rangers completed their second run of six straight defeats this season and recorded their first losing double against local rivals Brentford since 1965.
In the second half at Griffin Park Brentford were handed a debatable penalty and only a few minutes earlier referee James Adcock had refused to accept that a header from Conor Washington had crossed the line before being cleared by Yoann Barbet.
“There was a lot of comment in the dressing room about the penalty and that we should have had a goal,” said Holloway.
“But that’s not the way I feel. If the ref gives the penalty it’s a penalty and if he doesn’t give the goal it’s not a goal. That’s it.
“We had more than enough chances to take something from the match and we didn’t take them. And that’s what disappointed me.”
And the end result left Rangers needing to take at least a point from their final two matches against Nottingham Forest and Norwich to ensure safety. And that worries Holloway more than his players.
“They are not playing for their futures because they are all on contracts,” he said.
“But I am playing for my future. I have got a twoand-a-half-year contract and I am only six months into it. But if we don’t stay up I cannot imagine that I will be staying at the club.”
There cannot be many matches in any season that could provide the swift change of fortunes that this one did to hit both teams on the hour.
Having taken the lead through Barbet in the 31st minute when, while falling off balance, he stabbed home a Jota corner, Brentford had never taken control of the game.
Keeper Daniel Bentley had made several saves to deny Rangers and looked fortunate that Adcock didn’t give the ‘goal’.
Brentford survived the scares, however, and in the 60th minute Jota doubled their advantage by stepping up to convert a penalty after Ranger’s Joel Lynch had brought down Maxime Colin.
Rangers’ response was instant. From the kick-off they forced a free-kick and Luke Freeman’s cross was powerfully met by Lynch to atone for his costly mistake barely seconds earlier.
Yet just as quickly in the 64th minute Brentford restored their two-goal lead with by far the most fluent move of the match.
Nico Yennaris stretched the Rangers defence with a long pass which found Jota out wide on the right.
And after skilfully controlling the ball with one touch, he cut in from the right past both Lynch and former Brentford boy Jake Bidwell before sliding the ball under the advancing Alex Smithies.
Rangers threatened regularly through the final half-hour but Bentley did well to clutch a Matt Smith header and although he was beaten by substitute Idrissa Sylla, the shot ran agonisingly wide.
Brentford head coach Dean Smith suggested the scoreline flattered his team. “We were nowhere near the level we have been performing at. We have played better in a lot more games,” he said.
“We always knew that with the height of Matt Smith up front they would always be dangerous. But the result was always going to be important and we had to work hard to grind it out.”
OPENER: Brentford defender Yoann Barbet scores the first goal