Bees ease past Sky Blues at Northampton
Coventry City: Joe Murphy; Cyrus Christie, Andy Webster, Jordan Clarke, Blair Adams; Conor Thomas, John Fleck, Adam Barton (sub Mathieu Manset h/t), Franck Moussa; Leon Clarke, Callum Wilson
Clayton Donaldson’s fourth league goal of the season and a late Martin Taylor header gave The Bees a deserved victory away at Coventry City.
After a scrappy opening 20 minutes Donaldson pounced on a defensive error to put Uwe Rösler’s side in front and after that The Bees were in complete control.
Joe Murphy pulled off a number of fine saves to deny Brentford and it took until mid-way through the second-half for The Bees to get their deserved second as Taylor flicked home Sam Saunders’ cross.
The Bees had further chances to extend their lead but found Murphy in inspired form and in the end had to settle for the two goal victory away at Coventry’s temporary Sixfields home.
Uwe named an unchanged starting 11 from the game on Monday against Leyton Orient with the only change being Saunders replacing Stuart Dallas on the bench.
The hosts made one change from the 3-2 defeat at Port Vale last time out with midfielder Carl Baker failing a late fitness test, his place filled by Adam Barton coming in to make his first start of the season on the right wing.
League One’s joint top scorer Callum Wilson partnered Leon Clarke up front for a side who had scored 22 goals in their opening eight games of the season.
It was a scrappy opening to the game with both sides trying to get to grips with the strong wind blowing into the faces of The Bees.
Coventry created the first opening of note in the 11th minute as Christie dispossessed McCormack deep inside Brentford territory but Barton’s cross was touched away from danger at the back post by Shaleum Logan.
As the half wore on it was the hosts who settled quicker, moving the ball around the pitch sharply with John Fleck directing things from a deep role.
Wilson came close to his 10th of the season when he glances Christie’s out-swinging cross just wide from eight yards.
The Bees switched from the 4-3-3 they had started the game with to 4-4-2 to match The Sky Blues and they began to get more joy with Adam Forshaw pulling the strings in the midfield.
Leon Clarke passed tamely into the hands of Richard Lee from the edge of the box after good work on the right wing by the lively Franck Moussa and less than 60 seconds later The Bees were gifted the lead.
Will Grigg touched a long Logan pass into the path of Martin Fillo who turned the ball into the box, there looked to be no danger but Christie completely missed his kick allowing Donaldson to steal in and lift the ball over Murphy and into the back of the net.
The goal settled Uwe’s side and they began to take a grip of the half from that point on.
Murphy had to be alert to come well outside his box and head clear as Grigg ran out to Toumani Diagouraga’s floated pass which held up on the strong breeze.
Grigg had a glorious chance to make it two with 10 minutes of the half to go but he turned Donaldson’s excellent cross wide of the far post from six yards.
Alan McCormack pulled a shot wide from 20 yards before Donaldson beat Murphy to a long ball and his cross was cleared with Grigg waiting to sweep home.
Donaldson saw a shot from a tight angle saved by Murphy with Fillo waiting unmarked eight yards out for the pull-back as Brentford ended the half far the stronger.
And last year’s top scorer should have got a second right on the stroke of half-time but he was on his heels as Grigg’s cross-cum-shot rolled across the face of goal waiting to be tapped home.
The home side replaced Barton with Mathieu Manset at half-time but The Bees began the second-period as they had ended the half.
McCormack pulled a shot wide from 30 yards after Forshaw had teed him up from a free-kick.
At the other end Lee made a fine block save from Leon Clarke after good work between the front-pair for the Sky Blues and Fleck fired well over from 25 yards but aside from that it was one-way traffic in the second period.
McCormack lifted a shot from 30 yards over the bar after Murphy’s punch had landed at his feet before Grigg passed up a great chance, nodding over from eight yards after good work on the right by Donaldson.
Coventry’s offside trap was being found out time and again and Donaldson fired a half-volley straight at Murphy from 18 yards after he had got in behind the home defence once more.
Murphy was working overtime to try and keep the rampant Brentford side out and he made another fine block save as Fillo bore down on goal.
That was the Czech man’s last action of the day as he was replaced by Saunders for the final half-hour and Saunders was immediately in the action as he found McCormack who tamely shot straight at Murphy.
Donaldson turned a Diagouraga cross into Murphy’s arms from 12 yards before the home side nearly punished The Bees for their profligacy but Lee was alert to block Wilson’s shot.
From Lee’s save Brentford broke and Saunders played a raking cross-field ball to free Donaldson, he was held up by Clarke but he set it back for Forshaw who forced Murphy into a full-stretch save to turn his shot around the post.
From the resulting corner Brentford got the second goal which was the least their performance deserved as Saunders’ corner came back out to him and he fired a wicked ball in which Martin Taylor flicked home from four yards.
Saunders was everywhere following his introduction, harrying his opponents and delivering with real quality from wide areas.
He stung Murphy’s palms from the corner of box before Donaldson fired over from 30 yards with Farid El-Alagui, who had replaced Grigg with 20 minutes to go, in acres of space in the middle.
Taylor could have grabbed a second from a Saunders set-piece as the game entered injury time but this time his flick header from close range flew just over the bar.
The Bees were still looking for a third right up to full-time and Murphy made another fine block save after Saunders had set Donaldson free before Christie got back to clear an El Alagui shot off the line from the resulting corner.
In the end Uwe’s side had to settle for two, which was the least their dominant performance deserved, extending the run to one defeat away from home in the league in the last 11 games.
Subs: Lee Burge, Aaron Phillips, Jordan Willis, Louis Garner, Ryan Haynes, Lewis Rankin
Booked: Callum Wilson 63 mins
Brentford: Richard Lee; Shaleum Logan, Harlee Dean, Martin Taylor, Tony Craig; Alan McCormack (sub Jake Reeves 84 mins), Toumani Diagouraga, Adam Forshaw; Martin Fillo (sub Sam Saunders 61 mins), Will Grigg (sub Farid El Alagui 72 mins), Clayton Donaldson
Subs: Liam O'Brien, Kevin O'Connor, Joao Teixiera, Marcello Trotta
Goals: Clayton Donaldson 22; Martin Taylor 68.
Attendance: 2651 (914 away)