Brentford fans walked away from Griffin Park on Saturday having witnessed their ten-man side come within an ace of turning over Birmingham City… against all the odds.
Tony Craig’s clumsy challenge on his former teammate, Clayton Donaldson, culminated in a penalty and a red card… And, depending on who you speak to, depends on the interpretation of the referee’s decision. Clayton looked for contact for sure, but few could argue that Craig was the last man, or that it was his mistake that lead to the ex-Bees striker being clean through on goal. Harsh yes, an injustice probably not… It would be fair to say that the ref seemed to have the red card out within three milliseconds however.
Jotta was withdrawn immediately (which was a shame as after exciting at Blackpool I was looking forward to see a 90-minute display from him) with Harlee Dean coming on to sure up the defence, which he did extremely well.
Birmingham had several chances to increase the lead if we are being honest: David Button pulled off two fantastic saves to keep the Reds in the game, while the unmarked Thomas missed a sitter, heading over from a peach of a cross. Getting into the dressing room no more than one goal down was critical and Warburton’s charges once again showed that if we are to be beaten in matches this season, it won’t be without a mammoth fight from the Bees.
Brum started the second period the brighter, but after the Bees had ridden the wave and survived, the game turned. Stuart Dallas, who came on for Tommy Smith at the interval, made a huge difference, as did Moses Odabajio’s introduction for Alan McCormack… Both substitutions were hugely positive steps and helped the home side ramp up the pressure by attacking in waves for the last half-hour.
Pritchard’s tricksy style will see him score a wonder goal soon, I have no doubt, and he almost played the perfect ball through to a team mate on a couple of occasions only to see passes blocked, but it was Jake Bidwell who should have seen the Reds level when he was tripped in the box… The one-sided ref ignoring what looked a certain penalty.
Brentford kept plugging away regardless, with Alan Judge finding a shot that the Blues’ keeper fumbled around the post… The hard working Andre Gray had a couple of half-chances, and Dougie, who was once again everywhere yesterday, spooned a good chance over.
Brentford’s endeavor was not to go unrewarded, and it was Moses Odubajo who scored the leveler, his first goal for his new club, after a slip by a Brum defender allowed him straight through on goal after a great pass…. Moses looked to have taken a slightly heavy touch, but his electric pace allowed him to catch the ball, then perfectly time a little dink over Darren Randolph and into the net to send Griffin Park potty.
There were a few half chances that followed but, in the circumstances, a point was a fantastic achievement against a direct Birmingham side who didn’t impress.
After the game Mark Warburton was rightly proud of his players… “We showed tremendous character going down to ten men so early to ride it, come back and get something out of the game.”
Whilst Blues boss, Lee Clarke, rightly observed; “To be honest, I know we have had some good chances in the first-half to extend the lead, but I think Brentford can say they deserved something from the game…. Their use of the ball was very good, they passed it. In fact, they looked like they had the extra man.”
Brentford once again showed that they are not out of their depth at this level … just a shame the game was flipped by the early sending off… Otherwise the Bees would have won yesterday I believe.