By Matt Banfield
Bristol City recorded a smash-and-grab victory in their first-round Carling Cup tie at Brentford last night, but were made to fight every inch of the way.
A sending-off for striker Danny Haynes and the spirit of the home side at Griffin Park gave City a harsh lesson in the difficulties facing lower league opposition.
“When you come up against a side division below you, there is never that much difference especially when they are on their own patch and in a rich vein of form,” manager Gary Johnson said.
“They had nothing to lose and started very brightly and we had to weather the storm.”
The City boss, who was making his 200th appearance as City manager, would not have been happy with his team’s first half performance with the League One side dominating.
Myles Weston and Sam Saunders both tested Dean Gerken but neither could put the home side ahead.
After the second half things didn’t get much better for Johnson’s team when summer signing Danny Haynes was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 51st minute.
But despite the setback, seven minutes later Liam Fontaine sent a cross in to the box with Nicky Maynard there to nod in, sending City through to the draw for the second round.
Goalkeeper Dean Gerken was the star of the show, pulling off a string of fine saves and drawing praise from Johnson.
Late on Brentford went close when Saunders’ header hit the bar and looped back down on to the woodwork, but City survived the late scare and will go into the second round draw as a seeded team.