MX23RW : Monday, December 17 20:30:49

Dean Smith: 'Second Cardiff City goal was pivotal'

Smith: 'Cardiff second was pivotal'
Brentford manager Dean Smith admits that conceding on the stroke of half time during their Championship defeat to Cardiff may have ended their hopes of winning the game.

Brentford manager Dean Smith has admitted that Cardiff City's second goal during their eventual 3-1 win at Griffin Park on Tuesday night changed the game.

Neal Maupay - who was guilty of one of the misses of the season in the reverse fixture - opened the scoring for the Bees after only five minutes, but a stunning volley from Sol Bamba levelled things up before Callum Paterson gave the visitors the lead in first-half stoppage time.

Kenneth Zohore went on to cap off the scoring in the second half as Cardiff made it seven wins on the bounce, but Smith believes that the scoreline flattered Neil Warnock's promotion hopefuls.

"We started the game extremely well, probably should have scored in the first minute and the keeper has made a good save. Then Neal goes through one on one and probably exorcises a few demons by scoring that goal. We were excellent for the first 20 minutes. The only danger was I thought we left the back door open a little bit too often," he told reporters at his post-match press conference.

"Daniel Bentley had to make a couple of saves from turnovers, and they've got a little bit of pace they can break with. They scored the goal from a corner, it's a hell of a finish, and if we go in at 1-1 I think with a few tweaks at half time we go on and win the game. Unfortunately we made the mistake just before half time and that was a bit of a kick in the teeth.

"Just before the third goal we go through and their lad gets a great block on Ollie Watkins and it just goes onto the top of the net rather than inside. I think that was the story of the night. I thought we had a game plan and it was working. We knew they would go man for man with us and we felt that if Neal came a little bit shorter it would create a hole in behind, and we used that a number of times.

"Sergi [Canos] gets brought down right on the edge of the box when he's about to go through, Ollie's had a chance. On another day the scoreline might be different, but unfortunately it's a game of fine margins and we ended up on the other side of that margin today.

"[The players] will be deflated because it's a game we felt we could have won. Even at half time, going in at 1-2, we always felt that second half we could go and score more goals. But you also have to give credit to them. They threw their bodies on the line at times when they needed to, and we probably just lacked that little bit of quality."

Brentford have now lost back-to-back games in the Championship, leaving them eight points adrift of the playoff places.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds22136336181845
2Norwich CityNorwich22135440261444
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom22116546311539
4Derby CountyDerby2211563124738
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2211473526937
6Middlesbrough229942416836
7Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest22811332221035
8Aston Villa228954334933
9Swansea CitySwansea229582724332
10Birmingham CityBirmingham2271053227531
11Stoke CityStoke2271052927231
12Blackburn RoversBlackburn2271052933-431
13Queens Park RangersQPR229492732-531
14Bristol City228682726130
15Preston North EndPreston227783537-228
16Wigan AthleticWigan2274112330-725
17Hull City2266102330-724
18Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2266102840-1224
19Brentford2257103334-122
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham2241082233-1122
21Reading2247112735-819
22Millwall2247112838-1019
23Bolton WanderersBolton2246121530-1518
24Ipswich TownIpswich2228121837-1914

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