A goal that came off the back of Maxime Colin was enough to give Brentford a second win in four days. The Bees beat Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate to follow up Saturday’s win over Burton Albion with a second on the spin. The goal came with just over 20 minutes to go when Colin deflected a Romain Sawyers shot home but it was a story of missed chances and good goalkeeping. Both teams will wonder how they did not score at least two goals in the first half alone and if a reasonable percentage of chances had been converted it may have finished 4-4. But Colin’s goal was the difference between the teams.
Brentford may have just about shaded it over the 90 minutes. The Bees certainly had the better openings in the first half with Scott Hogan seeing the whites of the home goalkeepers’ eyes – both starter Frank Fielding and his replacement Ivan Lučić – on three occasions. But City hit the woodwork after the break and the prolific Tammy Abraham had an evening to forget, missing the sort of chances he has converted already this term. Although pressure was applied in the later stages Brentford held firm and did enough to get the win.
The game started at a thrill-a-minute pace and both teams could have scored at least once before 15 minutes had elapsed. The best chance of a frantic opening fell to Hogan. A first time ball from Lasse Vibe, who started the game superbly, set Hogan away and the striker was faced with only Fielding to beat but could not slot his low shot past the goalkeeper. At the other end, Daniel Bentley made a fine save low to his left to deny Luke Freeman and then a fingertip stop to prevent Joe Bryan heading in at the far post.
The Bees stuck with the three central defenders they had used in the win over Burton but with Vibe restored to the team they had a slightly more attacking midfield. Vibe was pivotal in the early exchanges. The home side found it very difficult to pick him up and he was able to find space and pick his passes. With Sawyers also drifting in to the gaps in City’s lines, Brentford started brightly. A Sawyers pass almost put Colin in with only Fielding to beat but Bryan got back to make the tackle and a Vibe shot deflected wide moments later.
Bobby Reid missed a good chance for City at the other end, pulling as shot wide after twisting and turning his way past Harlee Dean, and Aden Flint failed to test Bentley with a header soon after. But the better chances were coming for The Bees. Fielding got a vital touch on a Tom Field cross to prevent Colin heading in and the City goalkeeper proved his worth again moments later. A mistake from Hörður Björgvin Magnússon left Hogan with another run at Fielding but once again the goalkeeper made himself big and denied the Brentford striker with his legs.
After a slight lull, the pace of the game picked up again as the half hour approached, albeit there was another break as Fielding had to be replaced in the City goal. City should have scored when Bryan lashed a Freeman cross back across goal but Abraham failed to turn it home from four yards. Unable to get his foot around the ball, the striker sent it out of the penalty area and away. At the other end, Dean set up Vibe but the Danish attacker pulled his shot wide of the near post.
Chances continued to come at both ends as half time approached. Abraham headed a Marlon Pack cross over and moments later the City striker missed a better chance. A poor Sawyers pass sent Abraham in on goal but Bentley was out quickly to save at the feet of the home forward. Hogan went close again for The Bees just before the break, capitalising on a poor Pack touch to head in to the penalty area but his low shot was kept out by Lučić, albeit a little unconvincingly.
Somehow the teams headed in to the break without either of them breaking through but given the chances created, both would have believed they would find a goal after half time if the match continued in the same way. And both could have scored early in the second half. Hogan had Brentford’s chance, he capitalised on a poor Scott Golbourne back pass and let fly with a first time shot that Lučić managed to block behind for a corner. The better chances, however, came at the other end.
Abraham was the man missing them for the hosts. He should probably have done better than flick the crossbar with a rising effort after Bryan had laid the ball into his path 15 yards out. And when a pass from Korey Smith split the defence the striker failed to shoot before John Egan got back with a recovery tackle. Reid also missed a great chance when Pack cut the ball back to him ten yards out in the centre of goal but he pulled the shot wide. Reid blasted over soon after and Adam Matthews failed to find a man when he got in behind Field on the left with City players steaming in to the penalty area.
Abraham’s best chance came when it looked as if Brentford might score. Vibe was held up on the edge of the City penalty area and Yennaris was then robbed as he looked to continue the move, City broke quickly and Reid released Abraham in behind with only Bentley to beat, he drew the Brentford goalkeeper and lifted it over him but put it wide of the post. It was to prove a crucial moment as Brentford took the lead four minutes later.
The move started on the left and Hogan played the ball inside to Vibe he moved it on to Sawyers and the Brentford man let fly from 25 yards, the ball took a wicked deflection, wrong footed Lučić and ended up in the back of the net. On first viewing it was not clear who the ball deflected off but with it hitting the back of Colin, the French defender was able to claim the goal, albeit Sawyers may try to take it off him.
Lee Tomlin saw a free kick deflect wide as City tried to respond and Freeman smashed a shot well over after good work by Abraham. And Bentley had to rush out to prevent Gustav Engvall getting to a long ball forward. But Brentford could have sealed it at the other end. A Ryan Woods corner dropped to Egan, who saw his shot blocked before Josh McEachran’s follow-up was also blocked. City could not clear their lines and Vibe set up Sawyers for a shot that deflected narrowly over the bar. Vibe also blasted wide for The Bees.
Tomlin had a shot blocked for the hosts but Brentford’s defence was holding firm. City’s desperation was plain to see as first Flint was thrown forward as a striker and then Lučić came up for a corner. That almost led to a memorable moment as McEachran tried to score from 75 yards with Lučić in the centre circle. The shot bounced about five yards wide but it proved not to matter as the game was brought to a close seconds later and Brentford had the win.
Bristol City: Fielding (sub Lučić 31 mins); Matthews, Flint, Magnússon, Golbourne (sub Engvall 64 mins); Pack (sub Tomlin 64 mins), Smith; Freeman, Reid, Bryan; Abraham
Subs (not used): Brownhill, O’Dowda, Moore, Wilbraham
Bookings: Tomlin (73 mins), Smith (87 mins)
Brentford: Bentley; Egan, Dean, Bjelland; Colin, Yennaris (sub McEachran 68 mins), Sawyers, Woods, Field (sub Barbet 78 mins); Vibe (sub Kaikai 85 mins); Hogan
Subs (not used): Bonham, Kerschbaumer, Saunders, Hofmann
Attendance: 16,444 (592 Bees fans)