Bees beaten by second half goals at Griffin Park
Two second half goals condemned Brentford to a home defeat against Birmingham City. The Bees were the better team for long periods but were unable to find a way through. They were then hit by a sucker punch as Michael Morrison scored from a corner to put the visitors in front. Clayton Donaldson raced through in stoppage time to seal the win.
Although his team were beaten, there would be much for new Brentford Head Coach Lee Carsley to take heart from. His team created the chances to be ahead at half time and hit the crossbar late on when only a goal behind. But ultimately they found a well-drilled Birmingham defence tough to break down and the visitors took the points.
Brentford started with their four midfield players in central areas. Toumani Diagouraga sat deeper with Alan Judge at the point of a diamond midfield supporting Lasse Vibe and Marco Djuricin. Vibe and Djuricin linked well early on and once Ryan Woods and Konstantin Kerschbaumer got in to the game, Brentford started to take control.
The Bees had the better of the first 25 minutes after a slightly hesitant start and an early shot from David Cotterill for the visitors turned out to be a rare forward foray. At the other end, Paul Robinson sliced a Judge cross on to the roof of his own net and Djuricin volleyed just wide after a sweeping move from back to front involving David Button, Diagouraga, Kerschbaumer and Judge.
Djuricin went close again soon after for The Bees, firing across the face of goal after exchanging passes with Vibe, and another effort from the Austrian striker – after Woods had knocked down a Judge cross – was saved by Tomasz Kuszczak. Vibe also had a shot blocked after capitalising on a Maikel Kieftenbeld slip and Kuszczak saved from Djuricin after a fine weaving run from Jake Bidwell on the left.
Birmingham had been second best in the first quarter of the match. Their midfield was deep and Donaldson was ploughing an unsuccessful lone furrow in attack. They had a better spell later in the half when wide players Cotterill and Demarai Gray got in to the game. And they probably came closest to grabbing a first half lead. Cotterill shot wide and a Stephen Gleeson shot was blocked. But the best chance came when Gleeson delivered a ball to the far post and Cotterill arrived late to meet it at the far post forcing Button to go full stretch to palm the header away.
A Gray shot was blocked and Button made a good save from a Morrison header, albeit the Birmingham defender was in an offside position. Button then saved comfortably from Gray and Robinson headed wide. Brentford ended the half with a low shot from Judge that forced Kuszczak in to a save but the visitors ended the opening 45 with the initiative.
Brentford soon regained it after the restart, however. Birmingham sat with ten men behind the ball for most of the early stages of the second half. They invited The Bees on to them and looked to counter attack. It meant Brentford dominated possession in the early stages of the second period and they had chances to go ahead. A low Kerschbaumer shot was tipped around the post by Kuszczak, only for referee James Linington – who had replaced Keith Hill at half time – to award a goal kick.
Vibe stung the palms of Kuszczak soon after with a fierce shot after getting on to a Diagouraga pass and when a cross was half cleared, Woods nodded down and a Diagouraga volley wasn’t far over the top. Donaldson shot over for the visitors after Alan McCormack and Harlee Dean left a long ball to each other and as the game wore on they became more adventurous.
Gleeson fired over after cutting inside and Gray fired over from distance before the same man saw a deflected effort saved by Button. Cotterill fired a free kick in to a defensive wall and a Jonathan Grounds effort deflected wide but the goal the visitors were threatening came from the resulting corner. Cotterill delivered it to the far post and Michael Morrison got up to power a header low in to the bottom corner.
Birmingham’s spell of pressure probably meant the goal was merited and with something to hold on to the visitors became even more dangerous on the counter-attack. Cotterill fired across the face of goal after a quick free kick as Birmingham looked to double their lead but they seemed content to let Brentford have the ball in less dangerous areas.
The game seemed to be drifting to a conclusion when Judge almost scored a sublime equaliser. Picking up the ball on the right he cut inside two men before smashing a shot against the crossbar. Jacques Maghoma almost repeated the trick at the other end, weaving away from two men and in to the box before firing over. Substitute Andy Gogia shot wide for Brentford as time started to run out and Dean almost equalised with a header that was blocked deep in the six-yard box.
Bidwell saw a header deflected wide in stoppage time but as Brentford pressed for a leveller, Birmingham broke clear. The ball was played long and Donaldson raced clear, he drew Button and then lifted an effort over the Brentford goalkeeper to seal the win with the last kick of the game.
Brentford: Button; McCormack, Dean, O’Connell, Bidwell; Diagouraga; Kerschbaumer (sub Canós 69 mins, Judge, Woods (sub Gogia 88 mins); Vibe, Djuricin
Subs (not used): Bonham, Yennaris, Barbet, Udumaga, Clarke
Bookings: McCormack (75 mins) (suspended for one match – Derby County, 2 October), Dean (78 mins) (second of season)
Birmingham City: Kuszczak; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Gleeson; Cotterill, Kieftenbeld, Davis (sub Maghoma 67 mins), Gray; Donaldson
Subs (not used): Legzdins, Solomon-Otabor, Brown, Toral, Spector, Brock-Madsen
Bookings: Caddis (79 mins)
Attendance: 9,528 (1,149 away fans)