Brentford cruised back into the automatic promotion race yesterday after a bright second half display in the spring sunshine.
Mark Warburton brought Alan McCormack and Will Grigg back into his team, but despite having most of the possession before the interval, created little of real note.
Alan Judge and George Saville hit a couple of scuffed chances from the edge of the box whilst Bradford’s Adam Reach blazed over after being allowed to carry the ball half the length of the pitch… But the Bees were certainly the more adventurous team.
The Bees started the second half with far more purpose, playing their football in more dangerous areas and at a higher tempo… Bradford were clearly going to be another tough nut to crack however, set up not to concede rather than take the game to Brentford.
Grigg will rue missing a good chance on the stretch at close range whilst Clayton Donaldson, a target of boos from his home town visiting fans, headed wide.
Then, on the hour mark, Clayton produced a moment of magic to silence the Bantams and provided the viral breakthrough moment… he stepped inside his marker and fizzed a low drive inside Jon McLaughlin’s post. “Ole Ole” sang the Ealing Road in the afternoon sunshine. Nothing to do with OGS’s Cardiff tonking Fulham though!
Mark Warburton then went for the jugular, bringing on Marcello Trotta who showed immediate purpose in breaking clear and crossing to Donaldson, who somehow hooked the ball over the bar rather than into the net.
Jonathan Douglas then headed against the bar before another Trotta-inspired attack found George Saville who saw his bobbling scuffed shot double Brentford’s lead. A rather fortuitous finish but no more than the Bees, and Saville’s performance in particular, deserved.
The impressive Saville was denied a brace when a crisp counter from sub Reeves and Judge saw his flying header miraculously saved by McLaughlin.
The Bees continued to pour forward – Trotta appealing for a penalty after a tangle in the box, whilst Judge produced an air shot from a good position.
The final whistle came and went without Brentford adding further to their “goals for” column but this ended a comfortable and professional home win.
Bradford, and their moany boss Phil Parkinson, worked hard defensively but got the “nil points” that their attacking endeavours showed. In fairness they were without John Hanson to lead their line but Brentford always looked the better side.
Whilst the plaudits will go to the attacking players; Jonathan Douglas worked his socks off in midfield, whilst Tony Craig and James Tarkowski are already forming a commanding defensive partnership.
Adam Forshaw had a quieter game by his high standards and was withdrawn with a back twinge in the second half – just a precaution according to Warbs.
Next up are Tranmere at Griffin Park on Tuesday night before the Bees travel to Orient for a lunchtime cracker next Saturday.
Bees – Button, McCormack, Craig, Tarkowski, Bidwell, Saville, Forshaw (Reeves), Douglas, Grigg (Trotta), Donaldson (Dallas), Judge