BRENTFORD 0 BRISTOL CITY 1

Stewart Purvis sees Frank’s first day fall flat.

Brentford's Danish Head Coach Thomas Frank says his football philosophy is 'togetherness between staff and players'. All very ‘hygge’, the Danish way of creating wellness and contentment. It was all very togetherly before Frank's first game in his new role at Griffin Park, as he walked with the players to the ground he gave an interview live linked to the fans, at the gate he posed for selfies with fans and shook hands with security staff and inside he got a warm ovation as he took his place at the dugout with fellow Danish coach Lars Friis. Standing there as Head Coach had, he said later, been 'lovely'. But he wasn't to be lucky.

Frank’s team selection was back to the future, it was the same home game line-up that started the season with Bentley back from his spell on the naughty step. Frank confirmed later that Dan was his ‘Number One’ after a return to top form. 

According to Yoann Barbet Frank ‘didn’t change anything’. At his pre-match press conference the coach said he likes to ‘dominate the ball and press very aggressive when we don’t have it’. For twenty minutes the Bees did dominate the ball and didn’t need to press because Bristol rarely had it. During that period Maupay misfired when a glorious Sawyers through ball set up a cross from Dalsgaard and then Canos nearly scored when he blocked a clearance by City keeper O’Leary who was making his Football League debut and would go on to make two good saves.

On twenty minutes City centre-back Nathan Baker went off with a head injury. Lloyd Kelly, an England Under-20 colleague of Ezri Konsa, moved into the centre and was replaced at left back by Jay Dasilva, one of three brothers signed by Chelsea at the age of 12 or 13 (Cole Dasilva now plays for Brentford B team).  Bristol Head Coach Lee Johnson called his players over during the changeover and told them ’If you are going to fail, fail bold’. Dasilva pushed forward and City got the ball in the net twice before half time but both times it was ruled offside. 

At half time Thomas Frank still had reason to be content but had to take off McEachran because he’d taken a knock and Mokotjo took over. Five  minutes later the South African International fell on the ball and in rugby parlance ‘a ruck formed’. Mepham and Pack were deemed to be more worthy of a yellow card than anybody else by referee Robert Jones. Soon afterwards Mepham got a second yellow even though he said he’d made no contact with Eliasson who went down when through on goal. Down to ten men Brentford reorganised. Canos went off, Barbet moved into the centre of defence and Moses Odubajo took over at left back. Expensive signing Julian Jeanvier, not on the bench for this game, must be wondering if that will be the defensive line-up during Mepham’s suspension or if he will get the chance of only his second league start against Preston on Wednesday.

Odubajo made the most of his chance and set up Watkins who crashed in a shot from the right which the Braemar Road crowd rose to celebrate only to find that it had hit the post and not crossed the line. It was the best chance the ten were going to get and with a minute and a half of normal time left the eleven took their chance. Brentford were now playing 4-3-2 with Watkins and Maupay up front. That left some space down the flanks and Dasilva exploited it making ground and then putting over a cross which Eliasson smashed home. 

There was time for Maupay to get his fourth yellow card in seven games but not much more. Home fans angry with the referee gathered near the tunnel and City defender Kelly cleared his throat towards them. Thomas Frank applauded the fans passion but in the press room restricted himself to saying that Mepham’s two yellow cards were ‘harsh’. His overall verdict was that 'if Bristol City were honest, they know they were lucky to win’. When I tweeted that remark on @beesunited one Brentford supporter replied; 'If Thomas was honest he would say we were for the most part not good enough'.

Brentford; Bentley; Dalsgaard, Konsa, Mepham, Barbet: McEachran (sub Mokotjo h/t);Canos (Odubajo 61), Macleod (Yennaris 70 min), Sawyers, Watkins: Maupay.

Bristol City: O’Leary; Hunt, Webster, Baker (sub Dasilva 21), Kelly: Pack, Brownhill (Walsh 73): Eliasson, Weimann, Paterson:Taylor (sub Diedhiou) 68)