Friday, 10 May 2013

League One play-off final preview: Brentford v Yeovil Town

From League Two to League One and the play-off final this year will be between Brentford and Yeovil Town on Sunday 19th May. Last season's final was a nail biter as Huddersfield narrowly edged out Sheffield United on penalties to gain promotion to the Championship. This season two sides many might not have expected to make it to Wembley, particularly Yeovil Town who were favourites to go down at the beginning of the season.

Yeovil Town:
Under Gary Johnson, Yeovil Town upset the applecart by making the play-offs this season despite being favourites to take the drop at the beginning of the year. Finishing in fourth in the league, Yeovil came from a 1-0 deficit in the first leg of the play-off semi final against Sheffield United to win the tie 2-1 thanks to a 2-0 victory at Huish Park in the second leg of the tie. Johnson was appointed manager of Yeovil during January of last season, and having kept them in the division, now find themselves 90 minutes from the Championship. Johnson is in his second spell as Yeovil boss and it was him that took them from the non-league to the Football League back in 2003. The season after, Yeovil reached League One, again under the management of Johnson. The last time Yeovil were at Wembley was back in 2005/06 playing in the League One play-off final where they were beaten 2-0 by Blackpool.

It has been quite an eventful season with Brentford, missing out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season, as well as taking Chelsea to a replay in the FA Cup. The Bees have been in League One for four seasons now and having missed out on the play-offs in the previous two seasons, now find themselves within an arms length of the Championship.

We spoke to Brentford fan Adam Rosario (@poeticjustice92) on his team's chances next weekend.

First of all Adam, how is your health after the semi final against Swindon? Must have been quite a drama for a Brentford fan?
Adam: Being a Brentford fan for many, many years, I've seen us come close, and always somehow lose in the face of glory. Sunday, showed that we've turned the corner finally. The players love taking the fans on a rollercoaster of emotion, as we went through apprehension, elation, despair and elation again, all in approximately two hours! It's a relief especially after the game against Doncaster, we've got the best squad in the play-offs and we should already be promoted, so it's rewards in my honest opinion.

After the drama of Swindon and of course Doncaster, how much would it mean to see Brentford get promotion?
Adam: It would probably be the highlight of my fandom. Being a fan for the past 13 years, I've seen us have big upsets, and some very low lows. In the past, I've witnessed Brentford turning over Sunderland in the FA Cup, beat Everton on penalties in the League Cup, and take Chelsea to a replay earlier this season in the FA Cup. I've also seen us lose at Wembley, so if we were to win it, the players would be rewarding all of the loyal fans for what we have had to endure. A crazy 16 seconds last Saturday cost us a place in the Championship, and this season has proven that we deserve to be there.

Going back to Doncaster, describe your feelings in those last minutes of the game?
Adam: Unfortunately I wasn't in attendance for the game, but when it was announced on Sky Sports that we had a penalty, my first reaction was 'we've missed this'. When Marcello Trotta was announced as the man to take it, my reaction was we've really missed this!'. And then we all know what happened afterwards. I was confused to why Trotta had taken the penalty to be honest. I felt the only man who should be able to miss a penalty to take us up was Brentford stalwart Kevin O'Connor. So in the end I was distraught and confused, but not overly surprised at the result.

How do you see your chances against Yeovil in the final?
Adam: I feel that we will go into the match as favourites to be perfectly honest. we've lost the least amount of games in the league this year and boast the best home record too, the stats don't lie. Wembley is six miles away from us, so effectively we are at home for this match. The main problem will be whether the team get swallowed up by the size of Wembley and the whole occasion. As long as we get the ball down and play our game, we will be fine.

Yeovil beat you home and away this season, do you think this matters going into the game?
Adam: Not at all. This team has a spirit, desire and mentality which is screaming for the Championship. Uwe Rosler has instilled a sense of never say die in the team and the fans. As shown with late goals throughout the season, like against Portsmouth, Sheffield United, and Swindon in the first leg, Rosler has a team which plays for him and plays to the whistle for him and the fans. Rosler declared that the fans were the most important part of the play-offs as we can be the 12th man and give the players a boost when it’s needed. This is a cup final, all other games and results mean nothing even if we’ve been the best team at home. The players have the mentality, the spirit and the manager to complete the fairytale season we’ve had. If you had offered us this position at the start of last season, all the fans would’ve taken it.

Harry Forrester
Who is the one player to look out for Brentford?
Adam: I'm going to cheat for this and pick a player out for each position!
GK: Simon Moore has been a revelation in goal, quick and commanding in the air, he’s been linked with Manchester United and deservedly so. He’ll be a key part of the machine if we do go up, as he is one for the future.
DF: In defence, the vice captain for the year, Harlee Dean. Joining after a spell on loan from Southampton, he’s been a leader when we’ve needed him. At 21, he’s got time on his side, and would not look out of place in the Premier League with a show-stealing performance against Chelsea this year, making him one to watch.
MF: Midfield maestro, and one of the best young players in the league, Adam Forshaw scored the winning penalty and had a match to remember in the semi final. Two-footed, calm, and with a great footballing brain, Forshaw can mix it with the best, and he’s one of the first names on the team sheet, with the eye for the killer pass and link up play to match.
FW: In my opinion, our best player this season, has been the forward, Harry Forrester. The boy can play, and he’s shown it this year. Joining Brentford after a trial at Ajax, in which he scored a hat trick in a reserve game, he’s had to wait for his chance and this year he has shown why he’s so highly rated in the league. Small in stature, but stamina, pace, two feet, tricks, set pieces, and a great shot, all point towards our talisman. Even if he starts on the bench, he can change any game he wants and we wouldn’t be here now without him.

What do you think has been the key to your successful season having missed out on the play-offs in the last couple of years?
Adam: Quite simply, Uwe Rosler. He’s come in with new ideas, a clear goal and he commands the respect of the players. He galvanises the team, even when we score. He’ll grab a player and tell them what they’re doing wrong and to filter in tactics. He’s always turned on, and is a great tactician. He knows when to switch game plans, and as I’ve stated, he’s got the spirit of never say die into the team. He likes to play positive free flowing football but doesn’t like to restrict the players to their positions, as seen with Forrester, who has been given a free role to move where he wants and where he feels he will make the most contribution.

Predicted line up for?
Adam: Moore; Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell; Forshaw, Diagouraga, Adeyami, Forrester; Donaldson, Wright-Phillips.
Subs: Gounet (GK); O'Connor, Hodson, Douglas, Saunders, El Alagui, Trotta
* Adeyemi suffered a shoulder injury in the semi final which may rule him out, so if that is the case I think Saunders will replace him,

Adam's score prediction: 
Brentford to win 2-1, although penalties wouldn't be a surprise! 

Yeovil Town v Brentford will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday 19th May from 13:00. 

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