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Birmingham City manager Lee Clark: Brentford worthy of draw

24 August 2014

Frustrated Birmingham boss Lee Clark paid tribute to 10-man Brentford after the London side's stirring second-half fightback earned them a deserved 1-1 draw.

It was a game of two halves at Griffin Park as the visitors should have been out of sight by the break before the Bees dominated the second spell.

Brentford's achievement was all the more impressive after they lost skipper Tony Craig after just 15 minutes for a foul on former Bee Clayton Donaldson.

Paul Caddis stepped up to send Bees goalkeeper David Button the wrong way from the spot, and his side looked set to run riot.

But Brentford dug in and were a different proposition after the break, creating chance after chance of their own.

And, when substitute Moses Odubajo raced 40 yards to chip over onrushing Blues goalkeeper Darren Randolph, it was no more than the hosts deserved.

Clark said: "We have had chances to finish it in the first half, but if I'm honest Brentford deserved something from the game. They looked like they had the extra man.

"We created good chances but the way we used the ball and our possession overall wasn't particularly great. It was an extremely frustrating result for us."

City's Wes Thomas was culprit in chief, first firing wide from the edge of the box with 19 minutes gone, and then somehow contriving to head David Cotterill's pinpoint cross over from almost under the bar.

Button kept his side in it on the half-hour, first tipping Cotterill's curling drive for a corner and then producing a reflex stop to deny Lee Novak's close-range header.

Brentford had strong shouts for a penalty waved away by the referee when Jake Bidwell cut in from the left only to be clipped by Blues centre-back David Edgar.

Judge tested Randolph at the foot of his post but it was the introduction of Odubajo that changed the game as Blues dropped deeper and deeper, relying on only one striker to take something from the game.

Clark said: "I hold my hands up for that decision but it's not a negative system. Brentford played it to very good effect, but you have to do it right like they did."

Brentford boss Mark Warburton praised his side's resilience and character after they recovered from a 15-minute spell after the goal to go on and frighten the visitors.

"We showed tremendous character going down to 10 men so early to ride it, come back and get something out of the game," he said.

"We regrouped, started winning our one-on-ones and turned it round. The first 10 minutes were disappointing because we didn't win enough of the physical battles. Maybe there was a bit of edginess, but it isn't (a lack of) self-belief and it certainly wasn't there at the end."

Warburton, who plans to appeal the Craig red card, said: "I didn't see it clearly but even if it was a foul there were covering defenders so it's certainly not a red."

He now wants his side to start games like they finished this one, and added: "One thing we have to do is avoid playing the badge that goes with the big club, and I don't mean that disrespectfully.

"We have a strong squad of real quality players and the competition is strong for places, but it's all about fine margins in this division as we saw against Birmingham."

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