- English Football League - Championship
- Wednesday, February 12th 2020
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 3-2 Derby County
Wednesday, February 12th 2020
City’s January recruits starred on a chilly night at Ashton Gate, helping City to a 3-2 win over Derby County.
Late first-half headers from Nahki Wells and Filip Benković – their first goals for the club - gave City the advantage at the break.
It was a lead they extended through Famara Diédhiou’s close-range strike as City looked on course for a comfortable win under the BS3 lights, but the Rams soon battled back with two goals in the final half an hour.
Martyn Waghorn grabbed the first with a header, before Chris Martin finished off a Derby counter-attack, with a close-range finish of his own.
As Derby piled men forwards, City could have added to the scores in injury time but for the post which denied Diédhiou, before substitute Andreas Weimann snatched at his late chance.
However, City would grind out the result to secure their first domestic double over Derby since the 2010/11 season, following August’s 2-1 win at Pride Park, and sit joint sixth in the standings.
New faces start
Lee Johnson named a trio changes to his starting XI, with all three January signings on the pitch for the very first time. Wells, Benković and Markus Henriksen all stepped in to replace Weimann, Nathan Baker and Han-Noah Massengo, respectively.
Derby County’s win here late last season all but ruined City’s hopes of the play-offs and the Robins knew a win on Wednesday night would put them back in the top six on this occasion.
And Johnson’s men started brightly with headed chances for Diédhiou and Niclas Eliasson, though neither could hit the target.
Quality in the final third would be a struggle for the visitors, even with England great Wayne Rooney, though City would have Jack Hunt to thank for his timely interception to cut out a killer through pass from Tom Lawrence.
Phillip Cocu’s Rams were in control of much of the possession and finally worked a first shot on target when Jayden Bogle saw a shot parried by Dan Bentley.
More chances went begging at the other end though as City threatened in front of their own support. Defender Benković was drifting forward and went closest to breaking the deadlock with a header which sailed narrowly over the bar, while debutant Henriksen saw a 30-odd yard drive wide with Ben Hamer stretching.
But it was City’s first shot on target which got the game going, as Wells found the back of the net with seven minutes of the first half remaining.
Hunt’s cross was initially too deep but the ball was played back into the danger area by Jay Dasilva, who found the attacking header of Wells to put City 1-0 up.
It would be another header that would double City’s advantage before half-time though, as City stepped up a gear. It came from a corner with Eliasson’s delivery flicked on by Diédhiou and Benković was well placed to steer the ball over the line from close range.
Derby weren’t out of the contest yet though and only the top of the crossbar denied Bogle’s looping cross from halving the deficit shortly after the restart.
Diédhiou adds daylight
But City edged closer to the three points when Diédhiou slammed in the third goal of the night. Jamie Paterson, playing against his former loan club, opted for a short corner to Eliasson, whose cross found Diédhiou at the far post and the Senegal international made no mistake from close range.
The home crowd were soon bouncing around Ashton Gate but had to endure cheers from the Atyeo Stand when Waghorn headed in from Max Lowe’s cross just after the hour-mark.
Wales international Williams couldn’t steer an effort on target from an Eliasson corner as City pushed for a fourth, but at the other end he produced exceptional quick-thinking defending to block a dangerous cross, with Derby’s appeal for a penalty dismissed by referee Geoff Eltringham.
Wells would blast a shot high over the bar with his final contribution before he was replaced by Tommy Rowe, while Korey Smith made way for Callum O’Dowda with less than 15 minutes to play.
Derby close the gap
City would hope those fresh legs could help them over the line but the game would be set up for a nervy finish as the Rams scored from a counter-attack.
Lawrence’s direct running caused problems as he broke away from the challenge of Eliasson, eventually bursting into the box and squaring a pass for the unmarked Martin who had the easiest of tap ins.
Bentley had to smother a low Lawrence effort as Cocu pushed his players forward in the fight for an equaliser but City withstood their threat. They even missed the chance for a fourth goal of their own when Diédhiou broke away and clipped the ball past Hamer only to see his shot deflect off the post.
City now go in search of building on their sixth win in their last eight Sky Bet Championship matches, with a trip to Leeds United on Saturday (February 15th, 3pm KO).
- Wells (38') , Benkovic (44') , Diédhiou (58')
- Niclas Eliasson, Korey Smith, Nahki Wells
- Waghorn (61') , Martin (82')
- Max Bird