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Match Reports

Bristol City 0 Brentford 1

A single goal settles it at Ashton Gate

2 April 2018

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Neal Maupay came off the substitute’s bench to score the winner as Brentford beat Bristol City at Ashton Gate for the fourth successive time. The French striker showed composure to finish off a Nico Yennaris pass as the only goal came inside the final ten minutes of a game Brentford completely dominated. It meant The Bees added three points in 2017/18 to wins in the past two seasons and in December 2013.

And it was a win they deserved. The Bees had the upper hand almost from first whistle to last. Daniel Bentley, in the Brentford goal, did not have a save to make and was a spectator in the second half as The Bees attacked at will. It looked at stages as if the visitors would not break through but Maupay came up with the winner in the closing stages to give The Bees the win.

The two teams started the game in a patient fashion. Both seemed happy to keep the ball and play in their own half of the pitch. Much of the first 15 minutes was played at a pedestrian pace with few tackles of note and nothing resembling a chance. Aden Flint headed wide from a tight angle for the home side when he found a bit of space from a free kick but neither goalkeeper was tested.

As the half developed it was Brentford that started to take control. City had begun with a fairly high line that The Bees were forced to play in front of but as the discipline of that approach started to prove difficult, there were gaps for Brentford to play through. Romaine Sawyers started to find pockets of space to play in City territory and with Ollie Watkins’ movement across the front line causing the home defence problems, Brentford started to create.

Watkins saw a shot blocked after a clever one-two with Florian Jozefzoon and was then cautioned by referee Keith Stroud for simulation when it looked as if he had been brought down in the penalty area by Bailey Wright. Watkins then saw a shot saved by Frank Fielding after a nice spin on the edge of the box before, following some patient approach play, Henrik Dalsgaard was crowded out when well-placed in the penalty area and Sawyers fired across the face of goal. Fielding held on to a Josh McEachran free kick and Jozefzoon fired wide from a good position after Watkins had fed a Dalsgaard pass in to his path.

As the first half moved in to its final stages, Brentford were in complete control. Sawyers and McEachran were knitting the play in midfield, Jozefzoon was tormenting Joe Bryan on the right, albeit he wasn’t having things all his own way, and Alan Judge, making his first start for almost two years after a serious broken leg, was drifting over the pitch and picking passes. The only thing missing from the first half performance was a goal.

Sawyers pulled a shot wide from 25 yards and Judge then fired across the face of goal after popping up on the right-hand side of the penalty area. Watkins volleyed wide on the swivel after another good run by the dangerous Jozefzoon and Yoann Barbet saw a shot blocked as the half drew to a close. The hosts were largely forced to play on the counter-attack. They saw a shot from Josh Brownhill blocked late in the half but had been forced back by The Bees and would have known the visitors had the initiative.

And Brentford continued to hold the upper hand in the second half. They were forced in to a change at the interval with Josh Clarke replacing Dalsgaard and an early clash of heads halted early momentum but The Bees soon had control again. Kamohelo Mokotjo, Sawyers and McEachran swept up everything in midfield and Brentford’s high position meant City could not get out of their own half at times. Brentford dominated possession and started to turn it in to chances.

Judge narrowly curled a shot over from 20 yards after being fed by Watkins and Fielding then saved a low shot from Barbet after the French defender had stormed forward. Jozefzoon had a shot blocked after robbing Liam Walsh and heading towards goal and then missed a better chance moments later. Brentford again won the ball in midfield and McEachran split the defence, Jozefzoon raced clear in the inside right channel but blasted over with only Fielding to beat.

Sawyers had a shot blocked before a clever cut back from Clarke found Judge 15 yards out but he steered a shot wide. Watkins shot over after weaving in to the box before Fielding saved from Maupay moments after the striker had replaced Judge. The next time Maupay got a sight of goal, however, he made no mistake.

For the umpteenth time Brentford won the ball in midfield, Yennaris fed Maupay, he cut inside and sent Fielding the wrong way with a low shot that arrowed in to the back of the net. Maupay took his Sky Bet Championship tally in to double figures for the season with the low shot and could have added to it moments later. Brentford broke quickly and Jozefzoon sped away, he found Yennaris and the ball was worked on to Maupay but Fielding made a superb save from the low shot. The ball bounced up and Maupay looped a header that appeared as if it would go in before Flint stuck out a telescopic leg to acrobatically clear.

With City somehow still in the game, despite barely mustering a second half attack, that could have been a vital moment. But Brentford refused to let it affect them. They continued to dominate possession and look for the second goal. They even survived playing the final stages with Jozefzoon limping after a horrible hack by Bryan, who had been second best in the second half.

Flint made a brave block to divert a Sawyers shot wide and a Barbet free kick was blocked deep in the City area. Fielding then made a super save to stop a deflected Maupay shot and the follow-up from Jozefzoon was, again, blocked. Even in the dying seconds Maupay saw a shot blocked by Lloyd Kelly after Watkins had fed a Barbet throw in to his path. On another day there may have been a sting in the tail but City were well beaten and Brentford’s one goal was enough.

Bristol City: Fielding; Pisano, Wright (sub Kelly 68 mins), Flint, Bryan; Brownhill, Walsh, Smith, Kent (sub Paterson 57 mins); Diédhiou (sub Đjurić 68 ins), Reid

Subs (not used): Steele, Baker, Pack, Diony

Bookings: Smith (18 mins), Brownhill (76 mins), Bryan (86 mins)

Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard (sub Clarke h/t), Egan, Mepham, Barbet; McEachran (sub Yennaris 74 mins); Jozefzoon, Sawyers, Mokotjo, Judge (sub Maupay 74 mins); Watkins

Subs (not used): Daniels, Emiliano, Ogbene, Canós

Bookings: Watkins (15 mins) (seventh of season), Clarke (83 mins)

Attendance: 22,049 (895 Bees fans)

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