Brentford 0 Birmingham 1
Brentford’s luck was out as they suffered a first opening-day home defeat since 1992.
They hit woodwork three times during a first half they dominated, but trailed to a Kristian Pedersen header midway through the first half.
And despite enjoying overwhelming superiority in the possession and shot stats (15 attempts to Birmingham’s one) they faded against an increasingly obstinate visiting defence.
The Bees hit the bar twice in the space of a couple of minutes, first Ollie Watkins turned onto his left foot to rattle the woodwork, then Emiliano Marcondes crashed an effort against the bar.
Both openings were created Sergi Canos, who started in spite of speculation and offers linking him with a move away from the club before transfer deadline day. Last season’s top scorer, Neal Maupay, was absent.
A minute after going so close to taking the lead, Thomas Frank’s men were behind when Pedersen’s looping header sailed over David Raya and into the top corner of the net – the ball into the box supplied from the left by Steve Seddon.
The Bees, led by debutant Pontus Jansson, were unlucky twice more after the goal. A fine move involving another newcomer, Mathias Jensen, and Henrik Dalsgaard ended with Marcondes being thwarted from close range by keeper Lee Camp, before Watkins turned inside to lash another effort against the near post.
After the break, Canos almost equalised with a close range header which nearly eluded Camp, and another of the Spaniard’s attempts went straight at the former QPR stopper.
Brentford: Raya; Jeanvier (Zamburek 81), Jansson, Pinnock; Dasilva, Jensen; Dalsgaard, Marcondes Forss 65), Canos, Henry; Watkins.
Subs not used: Daniels, Clarke, Racic, Hammar, Oksanen.