Your Brentford v Bristol City match report powered by Utilita
A 98th minute goal from Bristol City’s Bobby Reid denied Brentford their first win of the Sky Bet Championship season. The Bees led 2-1 with time just about up but the City attacker poked home from close range to give his team a share of the spoils. Brentford had deservedly recovered from conceding an early goal to lead in the dying seconds. Ollie Watkins first second tier goal had levelled matters after City led following a first half in which they barely had a kick. And Neal Maupay’s goal looked like it had won it for The Bees before Reid’s late intervention.
The equaliser was a kick in the teeth for a Brentford team that dominated the majority of the match. They fell behind five minutes in but put together some superb football before half time only to fail to find a way through. City’s superb goalkeeper Frank Fielding was eventually beaten twice in the second half and The Bees had the upper hand before late pressure from the visitors – which only really came in stoppage time – enabled them to find a way through.
Bristol City went ahead before the pattern of the game had been established. The visitors started by pressing high up the pitch, Brentford were unable to play through and the goal came as a result of the City pressing. A Yoann Barbet ball hit an attacker and rebounded to Famara Diédhiou, Harlee Dean managed to stop him getting a shot off but the ball broke fortunately to Josh Brownhill and he drilled a low shot past the outstretched arm of Daniel Bentley and in to the corner.
It was the worst possible start for The Bees and gave City a boost. They may not have intended to come to Griffin Park and sit deep but with a goal to hold on to, they proceeded to do that for the rest of the first half. They pressed high on occasion, and at times looked like they may force another opening, but Bentley was a spectator for the rest of the first period and the only surprise was that Brentford did not fashion an equaliser before the break.
It did take The Bees a while to build their momentum. Much of the first 20 minutes was unspectacular with Brentford trying to play through a packed defence with little success. Watkins was the bright spark for the hosts and as he got more and more involved, Brentford looked likely to create a chance. Romaine Sawyers saw a shot blocked after early involvement from Watkins before Jota stepped away from Joe Bryan and Jamie Paterson before forcing Fielding in to a fine low save.
Watkins himself almost created something from nothing soon after with a fine turn and barnstorming run but his shot was blocked. Watkins then set up Jota for a low shot that Fielding saved before getting on to a Maxime Colin pass and finding a shooting opportunity taken away by Eros Pisano. Referee Peter Bankes decided the City defender’s actions were fair and waved play on, not the first or last time he was called on to adjudicate in a similar situation.
A Jota shot deflected away for a corner and when that was half cleared, Colin lifted it to the far post, Dean headed down and Sawyers’ superb shot was pushed away by Fielding. Lasse Vibe should have levelled ten minutes before the break when Watkins cut a Colin pass back in to his path but he shot straight at Fielding from ten yards. Watkins then saw a volley blocked before he delivered a far post cross that Dalsgaard met with a powerful header, Fielding made a miraculous save and Brentford’s Danish defender then fired the loose ball against the outside of the post.
Jota sliced a shot well wide and Nico Yennaris did likewise before, in the dying seconds of the half, Sawyers set up Watkins and the shot curled inches past the far post. Brentford would have believed if they continued playing the same way a goal would come. And it did come just before the hour mark. Dean played a ball forwards, Jota cut inside and lifted a cross to the far post where Watkins got above Pisano and diverted his header in to the net.
The goal actually came at a time when Brentford’s control of the match had slipped a little. City started the second period slightly higher up the pitch and were not defending in the deep and desperate way they had for most of the first period. Diédhiou had a shot blocked and then looked as if he would score when he found space but Dean got in half a block and Bentley saved. Watkins had a shot blocked and the other end and then levelled but the game was more even after the break.
And City could have been back in front on the hour. A long ball found Brownhill isolated on Colin and he nodded it inside the Brentford defender but fired straight at Bentley when he had the whole goal to aim at. Bentley also saved a looping header from Bailey Wright at City looked to regain the lead.
But Brentford soon regained the initiative and were back on the front foot. Josh McEachran had the same control of the match he did for long periods of the first half with Sawyers and Yennaris providing options in front for him to find. Vibe could have done better when he met a Jota cross at the far post but he tried to find Watkins with a nod down and the ball was lashed clear. The Danish striker then fired over from the edge of the penalty area.
Sawyers fired wide from distance before he combined with Jota to set up Vibe for a shot that may have been curling in before it was blocked by Wright. McEachran and Watkins then combined to set up Jota for a curling shot that Fielding pushed out at full stretch and Vibe turned a low cross wide soon after.
Vibe was withdrawn soon after and Maupay, his replacement, scored with his first touch. Sawyers had seen an initial shot blocked but recycled the ball and found Jota, the Spaniard’s path to goal was blocked but Maupay reacted quickest, toe-poking a shot in to the top corner from 18 yards. It was a superb piece of finishing from the French attacker, his second goal in two competitive appearances at Griffin Park.
Sawyers had fired well over before his involvement in the goal, the chance being created by the superb McEachran. Unfortunately for Brentford, McEachran fell awkwardly in the midfield soon after Maupay’s strike and was removed on a stretcher. The delay also enabled Mr Bankes to add eight minutes of additional time. But Brentford could have been two clear by then. Fielding saved from Maupay but his better stop came from a deflected Sawyers effort that looked as if it was arrowing in to the bottom corner.
When eight minutes were put on the board, City’s confidence grew and they threw bodies forward. They went back to front quickly and went looking for a point. Callum O’Dowda fired wide at the near post after good work from Paterson and went even closer soon after. A poor Bentley kick presented the ball to O’Dowda 45 yards out and he fired it towards goal, it seemed to be drifting in before Barbet rose and somehow flicked a header to divert it wide of the post.
Brentford almost had a similar chance from the resulting corner but a cynical hack by Gary O’Neil stopped Maupay getting away a shot in to an unguarded bet with Fielding up for a corner. And that proved to be crucial. With more than 97 minutes played, City threw another ball in to the box, Bentley made a fine save from a Nathan Baker shot but The Bees couldn’t clear, after a series of ricochets the ball dropped to Reid eight yards out and he poked home to give his team a point.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Dean, Barbet, Colin; McEachran (sub Mokotjo 86 mins); Jota (sub Jozefzoon 80 mins), Yennaris, Sawyers, Watkins; Vibe (sub Maupay 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Daniels, Egan, Bjelland, Clarke
Bookings: Barbet (49 mins), McEachran (60 mins)
Bristol City: Fielding; Pisano, Wright, Baker, Bryan; Brownhill (sub O’Dowda 73 mins), Pack (sub Hinds 83 mins), Smith, Paterson; Reid; Diédhiou (sub O’Neil 73 mins)
Subs (not used): Lučić, Eliasson, Magnússon, Hegeler
Bookings: Pack (35 mins), Paterson (74 mins), O’Neil (90 mins)
Attendance: 9,811 (1,650 away fans)