An American travels to see Championship playoff between Brentford and Middlesbrough

As the referee flashed for six minutes of stoppage time, I was really excited as Brentford was the only team that looked like winning the match. There was six additional minutes in this engrossing atmosphere and potentially more drama. Six more minutes for me to experience Griffin Park and all its glory. Then, Middlesbrough won a corner. The ball was whipped in and Fernando Amorebieta met the end of the corner and the ball was in the back of the Brentford net. 2-1 to Middlesbrough. No one in the Brentford ends moved, it was too heartbreaking. The Middlesbrough end did not even celebrate that wildly because I think they were too shocked to believe that they would be heading back to the Riverside with a lead. A child two rows behind me started openly weeping. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed and neither could anyone else around me. Brentford had played so well for long periods of the match and really deserved to win the match but instead found all their hard work undone by one moment. Goliath had just slayed David even though David had looked so close to emerging victorious.

At the full-time whistle both sets of supporters stayed to applaud their teams and both sets of supporters sang the “we’re by far the greatest team” chant at the same time in tune (just with ‘Middlesbrough’ instead of ‘Super Brentford’) which was a really nice touch. It is not often you see a team get a standing ovation leaving the pitch when they lost but the Brentford fans were immensely proud of how their team has performed all season and would never in their wildest dream have thought that the Bees would be in the playoffs. And for that, the fans showed their appreciation. They also showed their appreciation for outgoing manager Mark Warburton in what will definitely be his last match at Griffin Park with a chant of “Warburton” as he walked down the tunnel. The Middlesbrough fans stayed for a full 10 minutes after the players left the pitch and continued with their promotion and Wembley singing. None of them wanted to leave Griffin Park on what surely was one of their most memorable nights as a supporter of Middlesbrough Football Club.

While Brentford still have a chance of promotion, it looks really unlikely and most of their fans have already accepted defeat after losing the home leg in such gut wrenching fashion. Brentford lost 4-0 at the Riverside in September and the chances of a two-goal victory are very slim. With that being said, the Championship (in my opinion) is one of the most exciting leagues in the world because of its unpredictability so Brentford overturning this deficit is still possible. You really never know what is going to happen next in this league. Last weekend Watford were cruising to the title and then all of a sudden Sheffield Wedensday stole it from them in injury time. Brentford even got into the playoffs when Derby lost 3-0 at home to bottom half Reading.

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  1. Dave May 11, 2015
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