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Match Report: Brentford 2-0 Bristol City

City left themselves too much to do after Brentford scored twice in a first half in which Lee Johnson’s men were outplayed in West London.

A much-improved second period in which the hosts were pushed back saw City twice hit the post, but ultimately fail to trouble the scorers in front of a sold-out away end in the capital.

Sergi Canos and Lasse Vibe were on target for the Bees in a nine-minute spell that proved decisive.

Head coach Johnson named an unchanged starting line-up following the stunning 4-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at Ashton Gate before the international break – a full 15 days ago.

Even the substitutes remained the same as the head coach stuck with his winning formula.  

But it was the hosts who started the brighter, almost taking the lead inside three minutes when Romaine Sawyers nodded the ball down to Canos, whose thunderous half-volley from 15 yards was brilliantly repelled by Frank Fielding high to his left.

 

Lee Johnson's men have taken 8 points from their last 15.

Canos would soon find himself in the wars, but only after City launched their first notable attack. Lee Tomlin’s approach play opened up great space to his left for the onrushing Joe Bryan, who saw his low shot deflected behind for a corner.

When the ensuing delivery was headed clear, Bryan charged to the opposite touchline and slid straight through Canos to concede a throw-in.

The Bristolian, rather harshly, was booked for what was certainly an “old school” tackle, but one in which he seemed to win the ball first.

From writhing in agony, the Spaniard was soon celebrating the opening goal after Brentford reacted quickest to a free kick.

Yoann Barbet stood over the dead ball 25 yards from goal, but saw his attempt blocked by the City wall. When the ball bounced back, Ryan Woods was sharply on to it, picking out the unmarked Canos to find the net with a low shot.

The Bees were living up to their name, swarming around the gold-shirted City players who were stung for a second time eight minutes later.

Another set-piece was not dealt with, as this time Jota sent a high corner to the far post that was nodded down, hooked on and headed in by Vibe, who beat Fielding to the punch to help the ball over the line with a deft touch.

 

“It’s so frustrating because when the players are at it, as we saw against Huddersfield, we’re a match for anybody."

Lee Johnson

Johnson’s men responded with a long shot from Bryan that just veered high and wide, before Aden Flint met David Cotterill’s corner and probably should have done more than head the ball into the stand behind Daniel Bentley’s goal.

When the influential Canos forced a save from Fielding, the keeper’s instant clearance sent Tammy Abraham racing beyond the Brentford defence.

Having rolled his man, the striker went for goal from a tricky angle on his left foot rather than attempting to pick out the unmarked Tomlin to his right, and blazed over.

In truth it had been a first half to forget for City, who might even have gone in at the interval 3-0 down when Vibe latched on to a long ball and took his time before sending Fielding plunging to his left to make a very fine one-handed save, keeping his team in the contest.

Johnson needed a response from his players, who did show signs of carrying a greater attacking threat early in the second period as Bryan’s low cross was stabbed goalwards by Abraham but not past the well-positioned Bentley.

After Jota dragged a low shot narrowly wide, the same City pair almost combined to goalscoring effect.

This time Bryan delivered a wonderful airborne cross from the left that Abraham attacked and headed towards the far corner, only to see the chance crash against Bentley’s left-hand post with the keeper unmoved. It deserved better.

Johnson turned to his bench just after the hour, introducing Bobby Reid and Matty Taylor for Marlon Pack and Cotterill, while Jens Hegeler followed in place of the hobbling Gary O’Neil.

City were struggling to create presentable openings. A free kick right on the edge of the box after Callum O’Dowda was fouled offered a decent glimpse of goal, but Tomlin hit the wall.

With ten minutes to go, City upped the ante. Hegeler strode menacingly into Brentford territory but failed to find Abraham, before Korey Smith’s cross from the right was well collected by Reid on the turn, whose low shot struck the outside of the near post.

Then the best chance of the lot fell to Taylor, set up by Abraham, who sidefooted wide as Bentley rushed out when he had to score to give his side hope.

When a late flurry of corners came to nothing, City’s four-match unbeaten run was over.

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