‘Ryan Woods, he’s staying with us’ sang one soloist with a hint of uncertainty in his own voice. Woods had got off the team coach rather sheepishly, a cap pulled down over his eyes, perhaps uncertain of the reception he’d get. Earlier in the day a BBC Sport story, which seemed to have been sourced in Swansea, said they wanted to sign Woods using the loan loophole Brentford feared but thought had gone away. The fact that he was playing his first competitive match of the season was something of a story in itself. Once the game started Woods was back to his usual boss role in midfield directing the traffic with his passes and his pointing.
However ’Said Benrahma’ to the tune of ‘La Bamba’ turned out to be the song of the night, delivered in unison and with passion by the Bees choir. Optimistic after what they’d seen in his substitute appearance at Stoke, the fans got the full Benrahma. The Algerian, think Riyad Mahrez with muscles, threatened with pace and power all evening and eventually smashed the ball into the net for Brentford’s third, completing a trio of maiden goalscorers on the night.
Earlier Marcus Forss and Julian Jeanvier got their first goals for the Bees. The French central defender began the game paired with fellow debutant Mads Sorensen but a cross field pass from Jeanvier stretched the Dane into a collision with Southend striker Robinson and after just half an hour and with a consolation pat from Dean Smith that was the end of Mads’s match.
In the second half Brentford were twice caught out at the back and it became one of those games where fortunately we could score more than the opposition. Mokotjo got the fourth.
At the end Benrahma came to the away end to acknowledge the songs of praise and give a double thumbs up to the 390 fans. Dean Smith will now have to decide whether to start him or Canos against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday. His other decision is what to do about Ryan Woods. After the game Smith was careful; Woods had been ’good at times, rusty at times’. As Brentford return to normal Championship business, does Smith stick with the tried and tested Woods-anchored midfield of last season or start with McEachran again whose link up play with Macleod and Sawyers has served Smith well in the Championship so far this season?
Southend; Oxley, Demetriou, White, Kyprianou, Coker, Robinson, Klass, Dieng (sub Mantom) McLauglin (sub Kightly) Cox (sub Ba) McCoulsky
Brentford: Daniels, Clarke, Jeanvier, Sorenson (sub Mepham) Field, Woods, Benrahma (sub Canos), Mokotjo, Yennaris, Judge, Forss (sub Maupay).