- English Football League - Championship
- Tuesday, February 26th 2019
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-2 Birmingham City
Tuesday, February 26th 2019
City have suffered back-to-back defeats in the Sky Bet Championship for the first time since November, with Birmingham City running out 2-1 winners at Ashton Gate.
Connor Mahoney and Michael Morrison struck either of side of half-time, with Famara Diédhiou’s strike purely a consolation goal on the night.
The match under the BS3 lights was a chance for City to bounce back from Saturday’s loss at Carrow Road but Diédhiou’s first-half miss, when one-on-one with Blues keeper Lee Camp, suggested a sign of things to come.
Birmingham could have had a third but for last ditch defending from Tomas Kalas after the break and the Robins’ late pressure in the second half would eventually come to nothing.
The result leaves City sixth in the Championship.
Niki Mäenpää returned to guard the City goal with Frank Fielding ruled out after being diagnosed with a chip fracture to his thumb. There were two further changes to Lee Johnson’s starting XI too, with Eros Pisano and Kasey Palmer receiving the nod ahead of Bailey Wright and Jamie Paterson, who were named on the bench.
On the pitch, both sides looked evenly matched with the home side having arguably the better chances, the first of those falling to Andreas Weimann. Adam Webster’s pass deflected into the path of the Austrian forward but his low shot was tipped wide.
Birmingham broke away from the resulting corner, following appeals for a City penalty, with Kerim Mrbati getting a shot away at the other end which Mäenpää pushed away.
Just minutes later only the woodwork denied Che Adams when his thunderous, long range strike crashed off the underside of the bar, before landing into the grateful arms of City’s keeper.
However Diédhiou, who struck the winner in the reverse game two months ago, had the pick of the bunch to open the scoring on the half-hour mark. Weimann charged forward on the counter and fed Diédhiou, who did the hard work by Cruyff turning away from two markers to put himself through on Camp’s goal, but the Senegal striker hit a right-footed shot over the bar.
However, the Blues were ahead just minutes before the break. Mahoney received the ball in the penalty area, shifted the ball on to his right and his weak effort took a cruel deflection off a man in red and rolled beyond the wrong-footed Mäenpää.
Callum O’Dowda and Palmer made way for Niclas Eliasson and Matty Taylor for the start of the second half, as City looked for more athleticism and harry the Birmingham backline.
However, immediately the visitors threatened and won a free kick after Diédhiou committed a foul. Up stepped Mahoney whose ball towards the back post was met by the towering Blues captain Morrison, who headed the ball into the net.
The momentum was with the men in yellow and Craig Gardner opted for goal with another free kick which he struck inches over the bar before Adams, who was kept fairly quite by the City defenders on the night, looked to round Mäenpää but the sliding Tomas Kalas saved what would have been Birmingham’s third goal.
Jamie Paterson would be the third and final roll of the dice for City, with Weimann departing as the Robins looking for fresh legs going forward in the last 25 minutes.
And within a minute the deficit was halved with Paterson involved in the build-up. He crossed deep into the Blues box where Taylor got his head on to the ball, nodding it into the path of the unmarked Diédhiou, who tapped in from close range.
The goal gave the hosts the confidence they had perhaps lacked until now, but the visitors were showing their intensity and aggressiveness which City Head Coach Johnson had warned about in his press conference. Still, another goal in this game would set up a nervy finish for the away side.
But chances were at a premium from both teams with City, urged on by the 18,000-strong home crowd, unable to really test the Blues defence with Pisano slicing a volley and Josh Brownhill blazing off target.
Next for City is a trip to Deepdale where they face Preston North End on Saturday (March 2nd, 3pm KO).
Photography by JMPUK.
- Diedhiou (66')
- Andreas Weimann, Callum O'Dowda, Kasey Palmer
- Mahoney (42') , Morrison (47')
- Kerim Mrabti, Connor Mahoney, Che Adams