JOHNSON RAGES AT SLOW START
Rampant Bees pip lacklustre Robins
LEE JOHNSON slammed his Bristol City side’s start to the game as their recovery proved too little too late to prevent defeat at Brentford.
City dropped to within one point and one place of the relegation zone – despite not losing in their previous four – after Brentford’s January signing Sergi Canos continued to prove his worth with his third goal in two games, before Lasse Vibe netted the second.
It was a game of two halves in many ways, but Brentford took their opportunities while the visitors were left to rue missed chances.
Johnson said: “Second half we created chances, but first half we didn’t start strong enough and that is frustrating.
“It is easier to play and have bravery when you are 2-0 down. They sat back and protected the lead, but we had some decent chances.
“Tammy’s header hit the post, a free-kick on the edge of the box you expect Tomlin to beat the wall, Taylor missed a sitter and Reid clipped the outside of the post.
“That is no excuse, and we have to make sure we improve on that start. You cannot start like that and expect to win games.”
Home fans were on their feet within five minutes when Romaine Sawyer’s cushioned header landed at Canos’s feet, but Frank Fielding stood up to the effort.
The winger made no mistake with his second chance. Yoann Barbet’s free-kick was blocked by the wall but Ryan Wood found Canos in acres of space and he finished calmly.
Vibe doubled the home side’s lead in the 25th minute. Jota’s deep corner was put into the danger zone by Harlee Dean for Vibe to nod past the keeper.
David Cotterill’s free-kick saw the visitors’ first chance of the game just past the half-hour mark, but Aden Flint couldn’t find the target.
An excellent first half was almost capped with a third goal, twice, on the stroke of halftime. First the referee’s whistle disallowed Barbet’s header before Fielding denied Vibe.
The first minute of the second half saw Joe Bryan’s low ball poked towards goal by Tammy Abraham but easily saved. Soon after Abraham combined with Bryan well again, but this time struck the post with a good header.
Despite an underwhelming performance, City should have pulled at least one back with first Reid, and then Taylor, failing to hit the target inside the box with less than ten minutes to play.
Brentford manager Dean Smith insisted there is no chance of them taking their foot off the pedal despite having little to play for.
“Our performance for 70 minutes was very good,” said Smith. “The final 20 we had to make substitutions, and we got very sloppy for the final minutes. We gave them opportunities by giving the ball away, but for 70 minutes some of our players were terrific.
“That was the message over the international break – we want to keep winning games and playing good football, with half an eye on next season, trying things on the training ground we can bring into games and some of that was on show today.
“I might need some fresh legs on Tuesday with the amount of cramps out there today, but I am really pleased with the attitude and application of the lads even though we are reasonably safe.”
PUSH AND SHOVE: Frustrated Bristol forward Tammy Abraham challenges for the ball