- English Football League - Championship
- Wednesday, December 26th 2018
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-1 Brentford
Wednesday, December 26th 2018
A rare goal from Eros Pisano helped earn City a 1-1 draw at home to Brentford, as they extended their unbeaten run to six games.
Pisano nodded in his first goal in City colours to give the Robins a half-time lead at Ashton Gate but Neal Maupay pounced from close range ten minutes after the break to equalise.
The away side, with only two wins in their last 16 league games, gave the hosts food for thought as they battled for more but Lee Johnson’s side hung on, before late pressure of their own almost forced the festive fixture back in their favour.
Notably, Famara Diédhiou missed the target with a header and a fierce strike, before Daniel Bentley placed his body on the line to deny City moments before the full-time whistle.
The result means City’s wait for first a home win since October continues, but they sit 12th in the Sky Bet Championship.
Consistency is key to building success and that reflected in the starting XI, with Johnson making just one change in Adam Webster's return to defence ahead of Nathan Baker. And City looked good value too, finding the ball early on but slowed the play when, perhaps, there were the chances to break more quickly.
However, their first real chance fell inside only the seventh minute when Marlon Pack spread the ball wide to Andreas Weimann, whose first-time floated cross met Diédhiou’s header, but he couldn’t steer the ball on target.
They were working the ball nicely in front of the home support, but the travelling side were not without moments of their own, particularly from wide positions with crosses from Ollie Watkins and Henrik Dalsgaard narrowly evading players in black and orange.
But while City had to wait until the dying embers before breaking the deadlock in the reverse fixture, Pisano needed just 20 minutes of this one to grab his first ever goal for the club. Jamie Paterson’s pinpoint corner found the Italian right-back, whose free header had too much power for Bees’ keeper Bentley.
Now it was a question of holding on to the advantage and Kelly’s lackadaisical pass put that in jeopardy; Watkins intercepted and looked to make the youngster pay but his shot from the edge of the box was parried by Niki Mäenpää.
The game started to stretch with City soon racing up the other end. Diédhiou did well the flick the ball on to the advancing Pisano who cross was headed goalwards by Callum O’Dowda, although it lacked the power to test Bentley.
Maupay would have a header of his own not long after, following a neat one-two with Saïd Benrahma, but Mäenpää only watched the ball sail over the crossbar and Watkins drilled a low ball across the face of goal but the quick reactions of Tomas Kalas guided the ball away from danger.
The forward was causing the home side troubles again when he darted towards the penalty area unchallenged but flashed his shot wide of the target.
For their chances in front of the South Stand, it was City who almost grabbed a second goal of the game via a fortunate rebound. The ball pinged off the Brentford defence into the path of Kalas but he couldn’t quite do enough to take the ball around the advancing Bentley, who quick to smother the ball from the Chelsea loanee’s feet.
The hosts were back on the attack immediately after the interval, with Paterson trying his luck from long range but it was an easy one for Bentley to deal with.
But the home crowd could sense another goal in this game - the Robins just needed to find that cutting edge.
Bees sting to draw level
Unfortunately, it was back of City’s net which rippled when Maupay smashed home in front of the away supporters. Watkins did well to get the ball across from the byline, and French forward Maupay peeled away to rifle the ball high into the roof of the net.
Johnson’s side wouldn’t allow the momentum to shift though and created themselves a glorious chance to retake the lead just two minutes later. Paterson teased his marker before whipping in a cross from the City left where Diédhiou, with his back to goal, flicked a header not far wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
Benrahma blazed over from distance, Mäenpää tipped over a strong strike from Watkins and Maupay drilled a low effort inches wide as the Bees tried to force the festive fixture in their favour as the floodlights brightened under the darkening Bristol skies.
Then came Johnson’s double substitution as Matty Taylor, fresh from his hip flexor injury, and Jay Dasilva replaced Andreas Weimann and Kelly, respectively, as City looked to bring more energy to the field.
Robins roared on to the end
They had that as the decibels rose inside Ashton Gate when the City faithful roared from a penalty; Diédhiou was at the centre of it as he looked to take the ball beyond Bentley, but the Brentford keeper blocked him while taking the ball.
Thomas Frank’s side were soon back up the other end and when a pass ricochet into the path of Watkins his low effort rolled wide of the far post, before the forward was substituted.
The introduction of Niclas Eliasson, the scorer of the decisive goal back at Griffin Park in October, would be Johnson’s final roll of the dice as City pushed for the full three points.
They almost arrived courtesy of a well-struck Diédhiou volley but his effort sailed wide, before Eliasson’s late free kick forced Bentley into a close-range save after a deflection.
But Brentford held on to deny City a first home win since October, although the unbeaten run remains intact.
The Robins return to BS3 in three days when they host Rotherham United in their final outing of 2018.
- Pisano (20')
- Lloyd Kelly, Andreas Weimann, Callum O'Dowda
- Maupay (53')
- Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma