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Boro v Brentford (A) Play off S/F 1st leg 2-1

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Ladies and Gentlefolk

 

Welcome to the match thread no-one really wanted us to be doing with five games to go. For the third time this season Boro will be facing Brentford, this time in the lottery (or not, depending on your viewpoint) of the play-offs.

 

By virtue of finishing fourth Boro have the advantage of playing the first leg away from home, which means we will know what we need to do back at Fortress Riverside.

 

The game:

 

Boro are away to Brentford in the semi finals of the play-offs. The first leg is this Friday, 8th May, at Griffin Park.

 

Last match:

 

Boro signed off the regular season with a distinctly underwhelming bore draw with Brighton. Conspiracy theories abound as to whether we played for a draw to manipulate who we played in the next round, played at 50% to avoid injuries and/or suspensions, whether we were just awful and have no momentum going into the play-offs, or whether this was all a clever plan to ensure Boro's white third kit gets another outing. Only Aitor and the players will know the truth, but whatever the reason we are now masters of our own destiny once again. Win the next three games and we will be back in the promised land of the Premiership next season.

 

Brentford, on the other hand, smashed already relegated Wigan 3-0 at home. A deflected Pritchard free kick set them on their way and second half goals from Jota and Gray sealed a comfortable win.

 

Form:

 

Is momentum important? Does it even exist in professional sports? How many games do you go back to calculate it? 6 matches seems a popular figure, so on that basis:

 

Boro (10 points):

 

Loss v Watford (A) 0-2

Win v Rotherham (H) 2-0

Win v Wolves (H) 2-1

Win v Norwich (A) 1-0

Loss v Fulham (A) 3-4

Draw v Brighton (H) 0-0

 

Brentford (9 points):

 

Draw v Nottingham Forest (H) 2-2

Draw v Derby (A) 1-1

Loss v Sheffield Wednesday (A) 1-0

Draw v Bolton (H) 2-2

Win v Reading (A) 2-0

Win v Wigan (H) 3-0

 

So it seems fairly even points wise. The optimists a*** us will point out that Boro picked up more points than the Bees despite having a tougher run in, and that includes the topsy-turvy 3-4 loss to Fulham (which would have been worth at least point mid-season) and Boro's manipulated/calculated/underwhelming (delete as appropriate) draw with Brighton on the final day. Those for whom the glass is more often half-empty will say that the momentum is very much with Brentford going into this game, with two wins in their last two, five scored and none against.

 

No matter how you choose to view our respective recent form, I don't think many Boro fans will be taking Brentford lightly and I certainly hope Karanka and the troops won't be.

 

Brentford:

 

One of the surprise packages of the Championship this year, Brentford have performed above expectations by finishing in the play offs. Despite the bizarre rumblings surrounding Warburton leaving at the end of the season, the Bees have continued to impress despite many predicting them to fade away in the second half of the season. Jota and Pritchard seem the two obvious dangermen to an outsider, although I hope Brentford fans will join in the discussion and let us have some tips on who else to watch out for.

 

Boro:

 

Taking nothing away from Brentford, Boro have to be favourites over two legs to secure a return to Wembley. Boro did the double over the Bees this season, winning 4-0 at home and 1-0 away. Whether those results have any relevance on this match remains to be seen however. A lot will rest on whether we have a fully fit Bamford up front, as to me the Brighton game was reminiscent of those horror shows against Sheff Wed and Reading earlier in the season. Leadbitter's form, and particularly his passing, has been hit and miss (mainly miss) of late, and Tomlin was another to put in a sub-par performance on Saturday. Aitor will want all of his big guns firing on Friday evening. Griffin Park will be a tough place to go, and Boro will need to put in a performance more akin to Norwich away than Watford or Bournemouth. Adomah's counter-attacking pace may be vital on the day.

 

View from the other side:

 

[TO BE INCLUDED]

 

Questions:

 

1. What team will AK choose?

2. Who will fill in the problem left wing area for us, and why would you choose them?

3. Will AK play for a draw in the first leg?

4. Will playing both legs on a Friday night actually suit us, or is it all mind games?

5. Who do you want to win the other play off?

6. If we fail to go up, will this season be a success or failure in your eyes?

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Like it MB. it's a tough one to call but that's what the play offs give you I'd take a draw right now but think if we set up right there's no reason we can't go and win, and win Convincingly.

 

Strongest team possible for me so that would be

 

-------------------Dimi----------------

Fredricks--Ayala---Gibbo----Friend

-------Clayton------Leadbitter-----

Adomah------Vossen------Reach

----------------Bam Bam-----------

 

With getting 21 clean sheets this season I'd love another one (or three) now. I don't think it's about momentum as much as it is about pressure. And who rises to the occasion.

 

Pro/cons for us.

Incredibly hard to break down. Set up for counter attacking football. Pretty much full rested team and we've beaten them twice this season agg 5-0

Bit of a damp Squibb ending the season may be feeling sorry for ourselves blowing autos

 

Pro/cons for them

Will be on a high qualifying. Could be Mark Warbortans last ever game at Griffin park. Crowd and players may give extra. Payback

As the home side a little more pressure to get a result may start flapping after 70 mins or a goal down

 

Can't wait for this one. Couldn't get tickets so will be watching this one at home. Cmon Boro !!!

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Nice match day thread MB...

This is going to feel like a long week.

Hopefully the trip to Marbella gets everyone on song for the playoff's..

UTB.

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I know it should have no reflection on the two legs of the semi final but with what is about to happen with the Brentford Manger there are going to be so many willing Brentford to actually win the whole play offs for promotion just to send out a message to their owners about how stupid it is to get rid of him at the end of the season.

 

I really do feel that Brentford will go at the Boro right from the off putting aside that it is a two game semi final

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Nice match day thread MB...

This is going to feel like a long week.

Hopefully the trip to Marbella gets everyone on song for the playoff's..

UTB.

 

Has this been confirmed or is this due to what was posted earlier on by a rare forum visit by a member?

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I know it should have no reflection on the two legs of the semi final but with what is about to happen with the Brentford Manger there are going to be so many willing Brentford to actually win the whole play offs for promotion just to send out a message to their owners about how stupid it is to get rid of him at the end of the season.

 

I really do feel that Brentford will go at the Boro right from the off putting aside that it is a two game semi final

 

I think its all about how we play... If we start like we did V Wolves & Norwich and keep it up for most of the game we could have the tie all but over in the first leg... Hopefully we aren't cautious because they will be up for it and punish us.

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Nice match day thread MB...

This is going to feel like a long week.

Hopefully the trip to Marbella gets everyone on song for the playoff's..

UTB.

 

Has this been confirmed or is this due to what was posted earlier on by a rare forum visit by a member?

 

Pics of them on an aeroplane have been posted by our players on twitter.

Phil Telantire has also tweeted about it.

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Ok so insider got it spot on much to the annoyance of some I would think!

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brentford will smash us at home this time. hopefully we dont have to much to catch up in the home leg as i believe we will win that. its all down to who has the most bottle and often see some high scores in these games. keep it tight and make no mistakes and we'll get through. utb

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Is it away goal rules? Then we cant affod to sit back on friday, then we need to play offensive and score.

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Thankfully not apparently ladyspite. I was worried about that too but have been informed on another thread that it's not the case in the playoffs : )

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