Day to forget for Bees
Brentford’s unbeaten start to the Sky Bet League One season came to an end in controversial circumstances in Yorkshire.
The Bees were beaten 4-0 by Bradford City but the home side were given a massive helping hand when David Button was sent off 25 minutes in.
Brentford were perhaps in the ascendency when a long ball from the back released Nahki Wells in behind in the inside right channel, Button came flying out, got some of the ball and some of the striker on the edge of the penalty area.
Assistant Referee Nicholas Gibbons signalled a foul had been committed and Referee Andy Haines, following another discussion with his assistant, sent Button off.
It was not clear whether the goalkeeper had been convicted of denying a goal scoring opportunity – Wells had knocked the ball towards the corner flag and may not have caught it – or of a serious foul challenge.
But either way Bradford made the extra man count and made it an afternoon to forget for Brentford, who conceded three goals in a bad nine minute spell just after half time.
The Bees started brightly, trying to use the extra man in the centre of midfield to create openings to get it wide to Martin Fillo and Clayton Donaldson.
Marcello Trotta, as the central striker, gave away plenty in height to Bradford’s central defenders but he was able to bring his team mates in to play with some cleave lay-offs and running off the ball.
Bradford’s tactics were clear from the early stages, playing the ball long to James Hanson and hoping fellow attackers Wells, Garry Thompson and Kyel Reid could work off him.
Brentford played Jake Reeves as the deep lying central midfield player and his role, as well as keeping the ball moving in the centre of the park, was to buzz around Hanson and try to pick up those loose balls.
It largely worked until the sending off and Brentford carried the greater attacking threat.
George Saville had an early shot blocked for The Bees and he went closer soon after.
Trotta turned Andrew Davies in the attacking area and fed Fillo, he cut the ball back to Saville and his shot seemed set for the bottom corner before Davies, recovering magnificently, diverted it wide.
Harlee Dean smashed over for Brentford before Saville and Fillo linked and the latter fed Trotta, he got a shot away that Bradford goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin tipped on to the outside of the post.
Davies went close for Bradford, heading a Gary Jones cross just wide, but the closest they came to an early goal was when Brentford played themselves in to trouble and Button’s kick cannoned off Wells and over the crossbar.
McLaughlin saved an acrobatic Trotta effort and the striker flicked a header just over soon after before Saville blocked a shot from Nathan Doyle and Davies headed over.
Brentford had a measure of control before the game changed 25 minutes in and Button was sent off.
Jack Bonham came on, replacing Trotta, and Donaldson moved up front.
Reid fired the resulting free kick in to the wall and although Bradford had the extra man, Brentford were by no means out of it.
McLaughlin saved a Saville shot and Donaldson lifted an effort wide before the Bradford goalkeeper held on to a curling Reeves free kick at the far post.
Kevin O’Connor blocked a Wells shot and a Doyle effort was also cleared before Bradford went ahead four minutes before half time.
They worked the ball down the left with Reid slipping in the overlapping James Meredith, his cut back should have been dealt with but when it wasn’t Hanson was there to slot the ball home.
McLaughlin saved another Saville shot just before the break but Brentford now had to chase the game with a man disadvantage.
They tried to get the ball in to Donaldson, Fillo and Adam Forshaw, now on the left, when they could but Bradford now had extra bodies to pick up those Hanson knock downs and were playing on the front foot.
Hanson headed against the crossbar before a flick set up Wells to shoot wide.
Brentford had done a reasonable job of restricting the home side but the second goal was a defensive error.
A long ball in behind had Tony Craig racing back towards his own goal with Wells alongside him, Bonham made a late decision to come and when the Brentford defender headed back it went past the goalkeeper and Wells slotted in as the two collided.
And for ten minutes, it became a bit of a horror show.
Bradford’s third was headed in by Garry Thompson at the far post when he arrived late to meet a Meredith cross and Hanson headed the fourth from a Reid corner.
Saville shot over for Brentford but Bonham had to make a fine save to his left to prevent Alan Connell making it five.
The Bees regrouped and ended the game quite well and looked the more likely team to score in the final ten minutes.
Donaldson headed a Forshaw cross wide before a shot free kick was delivered in to the box by Reeves, hit Davies and looped against the crossbar.
A Stuart Dallas shot deflected inches wide and Donaldson headed a Harlee Dean cross against the far post as Brentford tried to give the visiting supporters something to cheer.
Mark Yeates had a shot blocked for the hosts and Bonham held on well to a low cross-cum-shot from the same man before a rasping Forshaw shot was tipped over by McLaughlin.
The resulting corner dropped loose in the penalty area and Bradford defenders smothered shots by Fillo and Craig before McLaughlin grabbed it.
Connell shot over for the hosts and a Donaldson effort deflected wide in the dying seconds but Brentford could not get a consolation goal and headed back south with nothing from their afternoon.
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Darby, Davies, Oliver (sub Taylor 90 mins), Meredith; Thompson, Doyle, Jones, Reid (sub Yeates 75 mins); Wells (sub Connell 70 mins), Hanson
Subs (not used): Ripley, Ravenhill, McHugh, De Vita
Bookings: Doyle (56 mins)
Brentford: Button; O’Connor, Dean, Craig, Logan; Forshaw, Reeves, Saville (sub Dallas 68 mins); Fillo, Trotta (sub Bonham 27 mins), Donaldson
Subs (not used): Venta, Nugent, Saunders, Diagouraga, El Alagui
Sent Off: Button (25 mins)
By Chris Wickham