Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Bristol City
Friday, February 2nd 2018
A second-half strike from Sammy Ameobi inflicted a 1-0 defeat for City in the televised fixture at the Macron Stadium.
City controlled much of the match, particularly in the second period, with birthday boy Bobby Reid unlucky not to poke the visitors in front, before Ameobi produced a fine solo effort.
Lee Johnson made just one change to the side which started in the 2-0 win against QPR last week, with Josh Brownhill restored to the starting XI ahead of the suspended Nathan Baker. Brownhill starred in central midfield, with a defensive juggle seeing Korey Smith moved to right-back and Bailey Wright slotted into his natural central defence role.
POSSESSION BATTLE PENDULUM
While City looked more comfortable on the ball early on, the home side certainly warmed into the tie and they forced Luke Steele to tip away a dangerous cross from Mark Little. The former Robin had done well at the byline, despite pressure from Ryan Kent.
The early chance got the home crowd excited and they almost witnessed what would have been a contender for goal of the season from Ameobi. The attacker motored forward and after brushing off challenges from Kent and Joe Bryan, sent an effort towards the top corner but unfortunately for the former Newcastle man, the shot sailed agonisingly off target.
Brownhill fired a free kick over the bar on 18 minutes; City’s first chance of the game but the dipping strike failed to dip quickly enough.
The hosts were soon back on the ball though and causing havoc in the City box. Steele was unable to cleanly deal with a corner and after the ball pinged around in the area was finally poked wide by Karl Henry.
City threatened at the other end shortly afterwards, with Diédhiou stretching but unable to make contact with a Reid cross.
But the home side were looking to control this game, resorting the Robins to a number of long balls, too often.
Next it was Tyler Walker - a new face at the Macron Stadium - whose shot from close range was blocked by the legs of an alert Steele.
Johnson’s side soon edged their way back into the match but the first half would end level after Reid stabbed a shot wide. Brownhill and Aden Flint had efforts blocked by Bolton defenders, before the City number four floated a cross into the box. The home side failed to clear after a mini game of head tennis before Reid dragged his effort off target.
City looked to have ended the first half on top and they edged the beginning of the second period too. Flint headed over from Bryan’s in swinging corner just minutes after the restart, before Reid came inches from scoring on his 25th birthday.
Diédhiou met Smith’s cross with a header which could only be pushed away by Ben Alnwick, with David Wheater sliding in before Reid could pounce to tuck away what would have been the certain opener.
Bolton made the first change of the evening, with Nottingham Forest loanee Zach Clough brought on to replace Walker - his first effort of the game being a free kick which he fired straight into the arms of the grateful Steele.
But the home side struck 20 minutes from time, with Ameobi’s solo effort breaking the deadlock A City corner was cleared as far as the Bolton number 10, who ran from deep inside his own half, completely unchallenged, before powering a strike low into the far corner of Steele’s goal.
Brownhill went close for the visitors but could only force a corner with a tight-angle shot which was tipped wide by Alnwick.
The hosts could and should have doubled the lead late on as Ameobi squared a pass from the right, which rolled all the way to the unmarked Clough who could only blaze over the bar.
City continued to have lots of possession as the game neared its end; strikers Gustav Engvall and Loïs Diony entered the fray with Johnson’s side desperate for the equaliser but unfortunately it never came.
The full-time whistle confirmed all three points for the hosts, leaving City fifth in the Sky Bet Championship on 51 points.
The Robins return to league action against Sunderland at Ashton Gate next Saturday (3pm kick-off).