New Brentford coach Thomas Frank and Bristol City’s Lee Johnson agreed that the “harsh” sending-off of Bees centre-back Chris Mepham decided their game at Griffin Park.
The Wales international saw red after the break for two soft yellow cards and Johnson admitted his confrontation with Marlon Pack, who also saw yellow, was “little more than handbags”.
“For for the second there was only very slight contact but for the first he ran in to protect a team-mate who had been kicked three times on the ground. I mean, come on,” insisted Frank.
And Johnson said: “The ball got stuck and their lad came in to protect his player and Marlon Pack reacts. It is fair to say that by the nature of the beast in today’s game Marlon deserves a yellow but yes, it probably affected them more.
“That said, we used the numerical advantage when we had the extra man and found room down the sides and used it well.”
The sending-off put the hosts on the back foot and Niclas Eliasson secured City’s first win at Brentford since 2005 with a far-post volley.
Frank, who took over from Villa-bound Dean Smith in midweek, said: “In spells, particularly the first 20 minutes, we were on top and dominated, played out well, were aggressive and created some good chances.
“Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay both had good chances during our good spells and if we had taken those, then we are talking about a different game.
“It is difficult to play 46 perfect games but what we have to try to do is look at where we need to improve in certain aspects.”
But he also had a sideways dig at referee Robert Jones, who incensed the home crowd with a string of inconsistent decisions.
“In recent games, we have seen sides coming here to stop us playing and we need to handle it but yes, we need strong officials to do that,” he said.
“If I am honest Bristol City will know they were lucky because until the sending-off we were dominant and created good chances. But credit to them, they put pressure on us and it paid.”
City boss Johnson was delighted with his side’s first win in six.
He said: “It was a great win, a big club win and with Max O’Leary making his debut in goal a great clean sheet. It was very important given the fact we hadn’t won in five.
“We maybe deserved a couple of wins in that five and went about this game very professionally. Once we scored the goal I thought we were very professional in the way we went about things with a very young side out there.”
Injury-ravaged City clung on to stretch the Bees’ winless run to seven games and Johnson said: “Our lack of experience at the end was a bit of a worry.
“We have 11 out so this is a big because it’s a very difficult game, but one that will give us great deal of confidence.
“I asked the boys to break Brentford’s press and to believe and be more bold in their actions because we’d been timid in the final third.
“I asked for more confidence and belief and told them to fail bold. They won bold though.”
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