Bristol City 1 Brentford 2
So in the end all it took was a substitution or two, the introduction of Sam Saunders, and collectively experimenting with kicking the ball very hard in the direction of the Bristol City goal.
City didn’t get where they are today – winless, luckless – without being a bit rubbish. But truth be told, the first half was probably theirs on points. Yet as the game wore on the Bees snuck a win that ended up feeling slightly more deserved than may be fair.
Everything had been a tad scrappy and frustrating until the 79th minute, when Saunders, fresh on the park, walloped it via a deflection beyond the City keeper, who hadn’t had a great deal to do until that point.
Ten minutes later, Donaldson scored the second, straightforwardly knocking in from a corner.
Brentford being Brentford, there was time for some squeaking of bums. City, via the weighty Marlon Harewood, clawed back a rather soft consolation well into stoppage time. And hearts were in mouths a minute later when a tumble in the box saw the referee, for a fleeting second, appear to point to the spot. But no penalty, and job done.
The starting lineup would have been met with broad approval from the 512 travelling and noisy Bees fans, with Lee restored between the sticks and a sturdy looking line-up including new boy, Harris. But for most of the first half we seemed desperately short on ideas, panache, and fight.
The game plan appeared to be long balls or crosses aimed in at Donaldson, with the hapless Grigg stuck unhelpfully on the wing, but more often than not through balls went astray or when they did find their targets, were spurned. Grigg in particular will not want to see the replay of his first half header zinging past the gaping net when it seemed easier to hit the mark than not.
Had this game ended up a scoreless draw, or even a defeat, no one in the travelling support would have been particularly surprised. City had few chances, but for the most part neither did we.
The league table suggests we should have won this one comfortably, and it feels a little bit as if we pulled out the kind of performance you need to do when you are attempting to wrestle back some form. It was attritional, industrial, messy, but at the end of the day somehow, we nabbed all three points.
That’s back to back wins for the Bees for the first time this season, and Uwe will have taken succour from the chants of ‘being sacked in the morning’ from Brentford fans being aimed, for a change, not at him.