Ryan and Yoann put Whites on

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sean O’Brien

WITH the two sides head­ing in such markedly dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, per­haps it should have come as no sur­prise that Brent­ford dug deep to ex­tend Leeds’ re­cent mis­ery, leav­ing Dean Smith to claim his faith in the squad has never wa­vered.

Brent­ford’s eight-game win­less streak to start their league cam­paign is fast be­com­ing as much of a dis­tant me­mory as Leeds’ spell atop the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble, with the Bees’ cur­rent eight-game run an un­beaten one.

Con­trast­ingly, the Whites have won just one of their last eight games in all com­pe­ti­tions and al­though they were in with a chance when Ezg­jan Alioski can­celled out Neal Mau­pay’s opener – both goals com­ing from calami­tous goal­keep­ing er­rors – Yoann Bar­bet and Ryan Woods struck late to keep the Bees buzzing.

“I know some peo­ple were look­ing at me think­ing I’d gone mad when I was say­ing how good our per­for­mances were [in the win­less run] and that we had to con­tinue and be­lieve in what we were do­ing,” said Smith. “But I felt the re­sults would come.

“I felt we de­served the win. In the first half we were very good and prob­a­bly de­served to go in two goals up.

“But there is a big to­geth­er­ness here and we need to har­ness that and keep it go­ing. We have a lot of be­lief in the way we play so we need to make sure we don’t drop off the work ethic.”

And un­der-fire Leeds boss Thomas Chris­tiansen in­sists it is only the rub of the green cur­rently lim­it­ing his side.

“It’s not a ques­tion of the coach or bad play­ers, it’s a lit­tle bit of bad luck,” he said. “When you have a good run, they hit the post and go in and not it’s post and out.

“No one will recog­nise this ef­fort that the play­ers did to change the dy­namic of the game be­cause we also have to recog­nise that the first half was very bad.

“But the strength in the team that they fought back and dom­i­nated the sit­u­a­tion – they de­served much more”

Dean Smith’s side started brightly and Mau­pay gave them the goal they de­served with the sim­plest of head­ers af­ter Bar­bet’s cross from the left was in­ex­pli­ca­bly spilled by Andy Lon­er­gan on 23 min­utes.

Leeds had a glo­ri­ous chance to level in the 37th minute but Piere-Michel La­sogga chipped over with only Daniel Bent­ley to beat.

Brent­ford should have gone in two goals up at half-time when Pon­tus Jansson fouled Mau­pay in­side the box, but the heav­ily-in­volved Ol­lie Watkins blazed over from the spot.

He al­most atoned for his er­ror in the 58th minute when he beat his man bril­liantly and fired on to the cross­bar.

Vis­it­ing mid­fielder Ron­aldo Vieira so nearly lev­elled from dis­tance but he found Bent­ley at his best in the 66th minute.

Chris­tiansen’s side did equalise 25 min­utes from time with what was a car­bon-copy of the game’s open­ing goal, Bent­ley fum­bling a cross and Alioski beat­ing two men on the line with a sim­ple header.

But Bar­bet then struck a free­kick left-footed into the bot­tom right-hand cor­ner in the 85th minute and Woods col­lected Kamo­h­elo Mokotjo’s pass be­fore lash­ing a fine 20-yard strike into the cor­ner to make it nine points from nine for Brent­ford in the past week.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

ER­ROR: Neal Mau­pay scores for Brent­ford af­ter Andy Lon­er­gan drops the ball

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