Birmingham 0-2 Brentford: Neal Maupay stars as Bees leave it late
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/11/17 10:52pm
Substitute Neal Maupay inspired Brentford to a deserved 2-0 Sky Bet Championship win at Birmingham on Wednesday.
The striker came off the bench to win a penalty and score in the final 16 minutes as the Bees extended their unbeaten league run to eight games.
Ollie Watkins netted the spot-kick after Maupay was brought down before the Frenchman secured the win.
The Bees, who move up to 15th, looked like being denied by goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak after he twice thwarted Lasse Vibe and Watkins at St Andrew's.
Maikel Kieftenbeld's rocket hit a post in the first half but Birmingham were second best and remain 21st, just two points above the relegation zone.
Birmingham signed Maxime Collin, Harlee Dean and £6million record buy Jota from Brentford in the summer but Collin was carried off after just seven minutes after going down when unchallenged.
The stoppage contributed to a slow start and it took until the 20th minute for Vibe to go close but he was denied by Kuszczak's smart stop.
Brentford were more comfortable in possession and continued to probe for an opener but their patient approach struggled to create clear chances.
Watkins fired wide eight minutes before the break before lacklustre Birmingham almost stunned the visitors when Kieftenbeld rattled the post from 35 yards.
Brentford survived again ahead of half-time when Daniel Bentley spilled David Cotterill's free-kick and Che Adams was unable to pounce on the rebound.
But they were brief threats from the hosts as the visitors continued to press after the break and Kuszczak denied Vibe after 58 minutes when the striker shrugged off Marc Roberts.
Kuszczak then came to the rescue again when he turned Watkins' effort wide but the former Manchester United goalkeeper was unable to stop Watkins' seventh goal of the season with 16 minutes left.
Michael Morrison failed to deal with a bouncing ball and fouled Maupay, who had been on for just four minutes, in the area allowing Watkins to net the resulting spot-kick.
Maupay then struck when he drilled in low from 15 yards with six minutes left before Bentley's fine late save denied Roberts a consolation.
Dean Smith (Brentford): "Maupay had gone unrewarded for an awful lot of quality and effort in terms of goals. He's scored all his goals coming off the bench.
"Lasse Vibe got injured (earlier in the season) and Neal was having to put in a real tough shift himself especially as he's new to the country and the Championship.
"Birmingham were probably a bit fearful of how we've been playing. It needed something. We're eight games unbeaten now and we were playing better football earlier in the season and not winning games."
Steve Cotterill (Birmingham): "I don't think it was a penalty. I thought at the time it wasn't and Morrison got a toe to it. I haven't spoken to the officials. What's done is done, you can't do anything about it. The penalty has killed us stone dead.
"We'll work as hard as we can to turn this scenario around but it will take time."