Bristol City 1-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 17th Mar 2018 17:20
Sub Milan Djuric netted the only goal in the 64th minute as the Blues fell to their first away defeat in six matches at a snowy and windy Ashton Gate. Djuric headed home Lloyd Kelly’s left-wing cross shortly after coming off the bench.
Martyn Waghorn, Cole Skuse, Callum Connolly and Adam Webster returned to the Town side with the Blues returning to their three-man backline.
Webster was on the left of skipper Luke Chambers and Cameron Carter-Vickers, while Jordan Spence and Jonas Knudsen were the wing-backs.
Skuse, facing his hometown club where he started his career, and Connolly were joined in central midfield by Grant Ward ahead of them behind strike pair Freddie Sears and Waghorn.
Bristol City made one change with central defender Nathan Baker missing out with a groin injury and Hordur Magnusson coming into the team.
As a flurry of pre-match snow died down, Bobby Reid hit the game’s first shot in the fourth minute but his low effort from 20 yards gave Bartosz Bialkowski no trouble.
Two minutes later, Knudsen won a corner on the Blues’ left and, after Waghorn’s flag-kick was cleared back out wide, Connolly curled a cross which the blustery wind took beyond his team-mates and wide.
On 12 Sears almost made of some hesitant wind-influenced defending by the Robins when Hordur Magnusson failed to deal with a Carter-Vickers ball over the top, however, Frank Fielding was off his line quickly to punch clear ahead of the Town striker.
Four minutes later, Jamie Paterson caught Waghorn with a high boot 20 yards. The Blues’ top scorer took the freekick himself but hit the wall. The loose ball fell to Knudsen 30 yards out but the Danish international’s strike flew well back into the stand behind the goal.
While the home side had had a lot of the ball early on, Town had looked more threatening, albeit without either keeper having made a serious save and with the windy conditions hampering both teams at times.
Sears and Knudsen looped over wind-assisted crosses from either flank on 15, but Town were unable to profit, the ball failing to fall to Connolly on the edge of the box after the Dane’s ball was half-cleared.
Bialkowski came out of his goal to head clear as Paterson chased a ball over the top on 34, before the snow began to fall much more heavily.
Neither side had particularly threatened after the quarter-hour mark but on 43 Sears and Waghorn carved out a crossing opportunity for Knudsen. His ball found his opposite wing-back Spence in the area but the former Robins’ loanee’s header looped over.
A minute later, with the snow thankfully subsiding a little, the Blues threatened again but Fielding claimed Connolly’s header across the six-yard box from Spence’s cross ahead of Sears who otherwise would have gratefully tapped home his first goal in 35 games.
Moments later the whistle went ending a half in which Town had had the better of the chances in very trying conditions, more due to the wind than the snow.
The home side had had plenty of the ball but without being able to make any headway against the Blues’ backline, while Town had created the better opportunities on the break - the wind perhaps having assisted them more than the opposition kicking the other way during the half - with Spence’s header the best chance created in open play.
A yellow ball was introduced for the second half although with the snow having ceased, if not the wind.
Ward’s 48th minute cross failed to find Waghorn with the Blues beginning the half on the front foot.
But the home side began to see most of the new ball, however, still without being able breakthrough the resolute Blues backline. On 56 the quiet Famara Diédhiou was replaced by Djuric.
A minute later, Kelly hit low effort from distance from out on the left which Bialkowski stopped confidently.
The Robins should have taken the lead right on the hour mark. Marlon Pack hit a shot from 25 yards which Bialkowski could only parry due to the wind. Sub Djuric was quickly on to the loose ball but somehow wafted over the bar as well as the Town keeper.
But the Bosnian quickly atoned for failing to take that chance. In the 64th minute Kelly was allowed time and space to cross from the left and Djuric got ahead of Webster to head to Bialkowski’s right and into the corner of the net from 10 yards.
The Robins were forced into a sub in the 71st minute, Magnusson having suffered a knock. Jens Hegeler replaced the Icelander.
Town might have equalised in the 76th minute. Waghorn fed Spence on the right and the ex-West Ham man sent over a deep cross which found Connolly unmarked at the far post. However, the on-loan Everton midfielder powered a header wide of goal which was cleared ahead of Sears at the far post.
Ward curled a freekick well over after Connolly had been fouled on 79 with the Blues beginning to make more of an impact going forward. On 82 Fielding only just managed to paw an inswinging Waghorn corner from the right away from his line.
Town swapped Ward for Bersant Celina a minute later, while the Robins switched Paterson for Gary O’Neil.
Soon after, Korey Smith was shown the game’s first yellow card for pulling back Sears, then on 87 Knudsen joined him after a clash of heads with Eros Pisano, who made an awful lot of the collision.
Early in six minutes of injury time Waghorn headed well wide and the Blues, with Celina having made an impact from the bench, continued to send crosses into the box but without the ball falling kindly.
Morris took over from Sears for the final couple of minutes and more balls were sent into the Bristol City box in the final moments but without Town testing Fielding, who had had a quiet second half, and eventually the referee’s whistle confirmed the Blues’ first away defeat in six.
On balance, Town would have deserved a point but as in so many similarly evenly-balanced games this season the one really clear-cut chance was created and taken by the opposition, although Kelly was given far too much time to send in the cross and Webster will feel he ought to have done better.
At the other end, the Blues, who are now without a goal in their last three matches, failed to carve out a real chance other than Connolly’s header across the face.
The defeat sees Town stay 12th going into the international break with a visit to Birmingham following the two-week hiatus, while the Robins move up to seventh, nine points ahead of the Blues, only a point off the play-offs.
Bristol City: Fielding, Pisano, Wright (c), Magnusson (Hegeler 71), Kelly, Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Paterson (O’Neil 83), Diédhiou (Djuric 56), Reid. Unused: Wollacott, Kent, Walsh, Diony.
Town: Bialkowski, Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Spence, Skuse, Connolly, Ward (Celina 83), Knudsen, Sears (Morris 90), Waghorn. Unused: M Crowe, Hyam, Gleeson, Drinan, Kenlock. Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire). Att: 21,509 (Town: 1,066).
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