- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, October 20th 2018
- Griffin Park
James Crawley reports from Griffin Park
Report: Brentford 0-1 Bristol City
Saturday, October 20th 2018
City have climbed up the Sky Bet Championship table as they got back to winning ways thanks to Niclas Eliasson’s 90th-minute volley at Griffin Park.
An open game in the capital saw the Bees strike the post after going down to ten men when Chris Mepham received his marching orders, before Eliasson snuck in unmarked at the backpost, to ensure the three points would be travelling back down the M4.
Max O’Leary grew in confidence as he made his league debut for the Robins, making a number of stops to keep the travelling side in the contest.
But Lee Johnson’s side ultimately did enough to snatch the win and rise above Brentford in the Championship, in what would be an open game as the match developed.
Johnson handed a league debut to Academy graduate O’Leary. The goalkeeper was picked between the sticks, with Frank Fielding (illness) and Niki Mäenpää sidelined.
The hosts would start the brighter though and looked for top scorer Neal Maupay to break the deadlock early on. Romaine Sawyer’s eye of the needle pass picked out Henrik Dalsgaard at the byline, who picked out Maupay but the striker fluffed his kick when presented the chance to tap in the opener.
Captain Sawyer then struck inches wide moments later; his first-time low effort rolled just wide of the diving O’Leary’s near post, before the young City keeper was almost left red faced. He took a touch upon receiving a pass, but was immediately closed down by Ollie Watkins. O’Leary quickly went to pump the ball downfield, only for the ball to ricochet off the Bees attacker, thankfully rebounding out to safety, rather than back towards an empty net.
Baker injury forces change
Nathan Baker would soon be replaced by Jay Dasilva after receiving lengthy treatment for a head injury but the break appeared to take the wind of out Brentford’s sails.
Now City were finding themselves in the opposition half a lot more and did have the ball in the back of ther net, but for the official’s raised flag for offside.
Meanwhile, at the other end, O’Leary produced a smart stop to parry Watkins’ strong effort, with Maupay only able to scoop the rebound over the crossbar.
Sweden winger Niclas Eliasson was forcing City’s best opportunities late on, first crossing into Andreas Weimann whose close-range effort was blocked by Bees keeper Daniel Bentley, before Matty Taylor did well to head home from another cross courtesy of the winger. However, the away fans’ celebrations would be cut short once more as the flag went up again to signal an offside call, in first-half stoppage time.
That wasn’t to be the last of the action before the break though, as O’Leary produced a fine diving save to beat away Sawyers’ long-range free kick, before the sides went in level to chants of “He’s one of our own” from the sold-out away end.
The pace of the match continued for the second half too but O’Leary’s heroics kept the scores even as he dived at full stretch to tip away Sergi Canõs’ low effort from the edge of the box.
Red card sting for Bees
But the pendulum soon began to swing in City’s favour when Mepham was red carded for a second-bookable offence after bringing down the onrushing Eliasson. They went close with the resulting free kick but Bentley spread his body to block Weimann at the backpost.
Brentford weathered the storm though and could have taken the lead but for the woodwork. Watkins powered into the Robins’ penalty area and his low shot rattled the far post, possibly taking a flick off O’Leary’s gloves on the way through, before City could clear the danger.
Substitute Famara Diédhiou brought fresh legs in the City attack when he replaced Taylor, while Liam Walsh was handed his first league appearance of the season as Josh Brownhill made way shortly after.
And Walsh almost made an immediate impact with a free kick of his own, which was well struck but a good height for Bentley who beat the effort away.
The game was considerably open as it entered the final ten minutes, with Brentford still causing problems in the autumnal sunshine. O’Leary again had to deny the in-form Maupay who struck a low shot on target from a tight angle.
City grab win at the death
It was passionate end to the game too with tough challenges across the pitch, as both sides fought for more than a share of the points.
And City battling attitude and pressure paid off at the end as Dasilva’s deep cross from the left found the unmarked Eliasson, who ghosted in at the back, unmarked, to rifle in the winning goal.
The result, City’s first win at Griffin Park since 2009, sees Johnson’s side leapfrog the Bees to ninth in the table.
The Robins return to Ashton Gate when they host Hull City on Wednesday night (October 24th, 7.45pm).
- Sergi Canos, Josh McEachran, Lewis MacLeod
- Eliasson (89')
- Nathan Baker, Josh Brownhill, Matty Taylor