- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, March 7th 2020
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-1 Fulham
Saturday, March 7th 2020
A goal apiece in the second half earned City and Fulham a share of the spoils at Ashton Gate.
Nahki Wells, who in the matchday programme has discussed his desire to find his goalscoring form, headed City in front with his second strike in Robins colours.
It had Lee Johnson’s men on course to return to the top six and while Niki Mäenpää produced the goods to deny Bobby Decordova-Reid on his return to BS3, Tom Cairney’s effort with six minutes remaining drew the Cottagers level.
The point left City in seventh, one ahead of Millwall and one behind Preston North End, who were due to kick-off at 3pm.
Head Coach Johnson named two changes for the match, which was selected to celebrate the club’s 125th season, with Han-Noah Massengo and Wells in the starting XI ahead of Ádám Nagy and Famara Diédhiou. It meant an unchanged back five from the trip to Millwall a week earlier, with Mäenpää back between the sticks in the place of injured Dan Bentley.
And City enjoyed a bright start with some energetic play and an air of enthusiasm about their game. It was the intense start that would have been asked for and they created the chances to match. A nice one touch and searching pass from Jay Dasilva found Callum O’Dowda whose cross picked out Wells but he couldn’t generate enough power on the header to trouble Marek Rodak.
The Fulham keeper had little to really test him but shots on target followed from Andreas Weimann and Wells as the home side reminded the visitors of their intent.
But when Nathan Baker was forced off through injury, Fulham started to get into the game a lot more and when Iva Cavaleiro found space down the left, his cross was perfect for the head of Bobby Decordova-Reid, but the ball sailed wide of the far post.
Mäenpää was rooted to the spot for that one but produced a strong one-handed save to deny the former City Academy graduate soon after, and when the hosts failed to clear their lines, Harry Arter finished off a spell of pressure with a shot just wide of the far post.
While Fulham’s keeper had a relatively quiet first half, he was alert to a fierce, deflected effort from Wells not long in the second period, while at the other end Reid’s search for a goal back on his old stomping ground continued when Mäenpää was equal to the striker’s angled effort.
It had been an even affair and City looked to catch Fulham out on the counter. Weimann’s strong running forced a corner, which O’Dowda delivered. Initially it looked unlikely to cause trouble but a Fulham clearance was nodded into the path of Wells by Pedro Pereira, and the striker made no mistake with his close-range header.
Mäenpää showed superb reactions to tip away Neeskens Kebano’s glancing header as City held on to their lead with the latter stages approaching.
But with a little over five minutes remaining, Fulham forced the equaliser through Cairney. The midfield captain broke forward and found the bottom corner of the goal with a left-footed shot from outside the edge of the area.
The late goal was enough to rescue the point for the visitors, while City now prepare themselves for a trip to Blackburn Rovers next Saturday (March 14th, 3pm KO).
- Wells (70')
- Nathan Baker, Jamie Paterson, Nahki Wells
- Cairney (84')
- Tim Ream, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Ivan Cavaleiro