REPORT: Brentford 0 Blues 1

In their last ever visit to Griffin Park before Brentford move ground, Blues did a number on their hosts.


Kristian Pedersen's thumping header proved enough to provide Blues with an opening day win.

In their last ever visit to Griffin Park before Brentford move ground, Blues did a number on their hosts.

Pep Clotet's tenure as Head Coach got off to a flying start, as Pedersen's 18th minute goal was protected in magnificent fashion.

The change in style and philosophy is not going to happen overnight and this win - Blues first on day one away from home since 1998 - was much down to the side's famed resilience and organisation.

The new-look Blues unsurprisingly remain a work in progress and Clotet's tactics were designed to take away Brentford's strengths and the Bees ran out of ideas in the second-half as Blues stood firm and strong.

Yes, Blues rode their luck as Brentford hit the woodwork on three occasions in the first-half.

But Pedersen showed them the way to goal with a fine header from distance and from then on in it was a battle of wills, with Blues' that much greater.

Blues eased their way into the match on a humid west London afternoon.

Sergi Canos had two first time attempts from distance on the right that whistled wide and were never troubling Lee Camp in the opening 10 minutes.

But Blues, using Dan Crowley and Jacques Maghoma behind Lukas Jutkiewicz, remained measured.

The game plan was for that pair to drop when needed to ensure Brentford couldn't pop their way too easily round Blues from the back and through midfield, in the gaps.

In the 16th minute, though, Brentford did pick a hole through Blues when a short, forward pass near the edge of the area saw Ollie Watkins wrestle himself free and crack a shot onto the face of the crossbar.

Then, as Brentford kept the pressure on, and Blues rocked, a ball was pulled back from the right by Canos and this time Emiliano Marcondes, coming onto it in yards of space, thumped a right-footer onto the woodwork, too.

It was an amazing double escape for Blues in the space of 90 seconds, who then promptly punished Brentford at the other end.

A free-kick was played diagonally to the left for Steve Seddon, to change the angle; it is a routine Blues have often used.

Debutant Seddon composed himself before delivering a swinging cross towards the line of Blues players in and around the area.

Pedersen got there first and speared a superb header into the top right hand corner, from a fair range, too, of about 16 yards; it was not an easy header, but his power and accuracy ensured it drifted beyond David Raya.

Brentford, faced with a Blues block, then struggled for some time to try and get back into the game.

In the 31st minute, Blues came out and shifted the ball wide from Crowley to Maghoma. It was worked back to Gary Gardner, who found Crowley on the edge of the area, and his dink pass behind the lines almost squeezed Maghoma in on goal, but Raya spread himself and blocked the path to save.

Blues concentration for once wavered when, in the 36th minute, a long ball down the right was collected by Henrik Dalsgaard, who looked offside.

With Blues stretched, he played it square into the area and Camp made a fine save, getting down low to deflect Marcondes shot behind for a corner.

From the flag-kick Blues were almost caught napping when Watkins jinked his way along the right of the area and pinged a fierce shot that rebounded off the upright.

Half-time: Brentford 0 Blues 1

The only thing of note in the second-half up to Blues first change - Wes Harding for Seddon - was Josh Dasilva's free-kick from 25 yards that cleared the goal, cleared the terraces and ended up on the roof of the Ealing Road End stand.

The switch for Blues was a tactical measure. Harding went to right side of midfield/wing-back, Maxime Colin switch to the left.

It was clear to see that Brentford were frustrated by Blues defensive shape and resilience and the crowd became increasingly restless.

From a long ball into the mix, Brentford got onto the knock-down and a glancing header by Canos was tipped away behind by Camp.

There was a quarter of the match left and Brentford started to ramp things up and take a few more risks.

Colin produced a brilliant clearing header at the near post, facing his own goal, to deny the oncoming Dalsgaard to a lovely chip that was stood up from the opposite side.

The game threatened to boil over when Julian Jeanvier indulged in some theatrics at a corner - makes a change it wasn't Neal Maupay involved one supposes - and then Pontus Jansson shoved Maghoma over hoardings into the crowd. Referee Gavin Ward decided to have a quick word with both captains.

Blues then brought on Ivan Sunjic, replacing fellow debutant Crowley, in the 72nd minute.

Sunjic sat deep in a pivot position, alongside Davis Davis, and Gary Gardner moved slightly further up, to the right. By now, Blues were sat with their wing-backs in the defensive line, creating a back five and four strung in front of them.

Brentford kept on plugging away and took off Jeanvier, changing their shape to effectively keep two centre-halves and push everyone else on.

Blues stuck at their task and Maghoma in particular carried the ball superbly to relieve pressure and draw fouls, much to the home fans' chagrin.

In the end Maghoma had to be withdrawn due to a combination of cramp and the buffeting he had been given.

Marc Roberts came to the rescue in stoppage-time, providing a vital block tackle, as Marcus Forss tried to force the ball in after a scramble.

But that was as close as it got for Brentford as Blues doggedly negotiated the six added minutes to secure a marvellous victory.

Brentford (3-4-3): Raya, Jeanvier (Zamburek 81), Jansson, Pinnock, Dalsgaard, Jensen, Canos, Henry, Dasilva, Wakins, Marcondes (Forss 64).

Subs not used: Daniels, Clarke, Racic, Hammar, Oksanen.

Booked: Jensen (87).

Blues (3-4-2-1): Camp, Dean, Roberts, Pedersen, Colin, Davis, Gary Gardner, Seddon (Harding 58), Crowley (Sunjic 72), Maghoma (Mrabti 88), Jutkiewicz.

Subs not used: Stockdale, Craig Gardner, Vassell, Clarke-Salter.

Goal: Pedersen (18).

Booked: Gary Gardner (28), Crowley (56), Harding (90+1).

Referee: G Ward