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Match Reports

Birmingham City v Brentford

28 February 2015

Brentford’s attempts to make it three wins in seven days were thwarted by Birmingham City.

A first half goal, which former Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson tried to claim but will be credited to James Tarkowski, was enough to settle the match on a chilly afternoon.

It was an afternoon of toil for Brentford with no shortage of endeavour but a lack of quality, particularly in attacking areas.

The Bees had chances, and plenty of the ball, but failed to test Birmingham goalkeeper Darren Randolph enough and that enabled the hosts to sit deep, score a goal on the break and get over the line.

The game started quietly, both in terms of the action on the pitch and the noise from the stands.

The home side were content to invite Brentford on to them.

They looked to counter attack but even then seemed reluctant to commit men forward, seemingly more worried about The Bees than scoring themselves.

They did, however, create early chances.

Lone front man Donaldson looked the man most likely to create something for them.

He forced David Button in to a fine low save with a header and also saw a weak shot saved.

Donaldson should have done better when he got in behind Liam Moore from a long ball forward and then around Button but he lifted a shot wide from a tight angle.

Tarkowski also made a fine block to prevent Donaldson turning in a David Cotterill cross as the home side had the better of the early exchanges, their system working to good effect.

There were a couple of early sights of goal for Andre Gray, who twice fired off target from the inside right channel, and Tarkowski headed a Jota corner wide when well-placed but Birmingham had the upper hand in the first half hour.

The Bees had lots of the ball but were playing in front of Birmingham, unable to move the ball in an effective manner to open the hosts up.

Andrew Shinnie saw a shot deflect over and Demari Gray missed the target when a corner was half cleared while at the other end Brentford’s Gray saw a shot blocked.

A dipping free kick from Alex Pritchard was saved but just as it appeared Brentford were taking the initiative, Birmingham took the lead.

A quick break was slowed down by The Bees but there was room for Cotterill to cross, the ball was met by a combination of Donaldson and Tarkowski and the ball flew in to the net.

Brentford tried to respond before half time, Tarkowski headed a Pritchard corner wide and Jonathan Douglas missed a golden chance when he nodded a Jon Toral cross over from close range.

Birmingham sat even deeper in the second half, seemingly content to hold on to their lead.

Brentford had an early chance when Gray’s shot deflected wide but once again The Bees dominated possession without creating too many chances.

There were signs that the game would open up, with Brentford committing more men to attack but the first 15 minutes of the second half saw the game largely played in Birmingham’s defensive area but in front of a wall of blue.

When the game did open out it was initially Birmingham who had the chances.

Paul Caddis shot just wide after a run from deep before Gray missed a great chance for the hosts, firing over from six yards after Donaldson had headed a cross down.

Shinnie had a shot blocked soon after as the home side looked for the second goal that would give them breathing space.

Shinnie had another shot blocked before Button made a superb save to tip a Cotterill shot around the post.

From the resulting corner, the ball was worked to Gray and he smashed just over for the hosts.

Brentford were starting to create openings, albeit they were not finding it easy to get past the blue wall.

After nice interplay involving Pritchard and Alan Judge, Toral chipped an effort past the far post and the same man headed wide soon after.

Tarkowski missed the target with a header from a Judge corner and Pritchard then had a shot saved by Randolph.

Randolph denied Judge soon after while at the other end an effort from Shinnie was blocked.

Brentford were given a boost when Stephen Gleeson was sent off with three minutes remaining.

Referee Darren Bond showed a straight red for an off the ball incident after Gleeson had brought down Pritchard.

Pritchard fired the free kick in to the defensive wall before crossing for Toral to head over.

The Bees almost scrambled an equaliser at the death when a corner dropped loose, Gray could not force it in and Judge smashed the loose ball over.

But Birmingham’s dogged defensive play proved to be good enough to get them the win.

Birmingham City: Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Kiernan, Grounds; Gleeson, Davis; Cotterill (sub Novak 90 mins), Shinnie (sub Reilly 90 mins), Gray (sub Dyer 76 mins); Donaldson

Subs (not used): Doyle, Robinson, Thomas, Zigic

Bookings: Caddis (90 mins)

Sent Off: Gleeson (87 mins)

Brentford: Button; Odubajo (sub McCormack 75 mins), Tarkowski, Moore, Dallas; Diagouraga (sub Judge 60 mins), Douglas; Jota (sub Bidwell 60 mins), Pritchard, Toral; Gray

Subs (not used): Bonham, Dean, Smith, Long

Attendance: 15,333 (1,324 Bees fans)

By Chris Wickham

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