Smith delighted after ‘outstanding’ Bees display

Dean Smith felt Brentford put in their best away performance of the season at Bristol City to keep them firmly in the play-off hunt.

The Bees boss was understandably all smiles after seeing substitute Neal Maupay fire an 80th-minute winner to settle a one-sided contest that saw the visitors have 27 shots.

The 1-0 victory saw Brentford move to within five points of the play-off places, while their opponents missed their chance to move into the top six.

Smith said: “Other teams above us have dropped points. All we can do is keep winning and see where it takes us.

“We have played really well in some home games this season, not always getting our reward, but that was probably the best we have been away.

“We were denied a stonewall penalty in the first half when Ollie Watkins was booked for diving. He is not a cheat and how he can get booked for what was a moment of great skill I have no idea.

“I thought we were a bit sloppy in the opening 10 minutes, but from then on my only concern was whether we would take one of our chances.

“Frank Fielding made some great saves, but in the end Neal Maupay has come up with a good finish to cap an outstanding team performance.”

Maupay was allowed to advance into the box and cleverly made room to wrong-foot goalkeeper Fielding with a low right-footed shot from 12 yards.

It should have been 2-0 when Fielding produced an outstanding save to deny Maupay, whose rebound effort was acrobatically cleared off the line by Josh Brownhill.

The Bristol goalkeeper was a busy man in the closing stages. City barely forced a save from Dan Bentley and were booed off at the end after suffering a blow in their hopes of a top-six finish.

Lee Johnson has never beaten Brentford as a manager in seven attempts and the head coach was as bemused as anyone by his team’s performance.

He said: “On the day they were much better than us. Too many of my players are a bit off their game at the moment and it makes selection difficult.

“We were outthought and outfought on too many occasions, but I don’t put that down to lack of effort from the players.

“They are a group who need to be loved and there was no point in me going crazy in the dressing room. I need to galvanise them, not slaughter them.

“Having said that, they must look at themselves and decide whether they want to crank up the pressure over the remaining games by having a real go, or reduce it by falling away.

“We are still right in it as far as the play-offs are concerned and I, for one, will be in every day giving all I can to make sure we finish in the top six.”