Report: Bristol City 0-1 Wolves
Sunday, February 17th 2019
Bristol City’s Emirates FA Cup run has ended after a 1-0 home defeat against Wolves.
Ivan Cavaleiro was well placed to strike the vital first-half goal but the Premier League side were more than equalled by the in-form Championship team.
Cavaleiro converted Matt Doherty’s cross, before hitting the post himself, while the Robins pegged Wolves back in a positive second-half display, yet couldn’t force a goal of their own.
Both sides had their keepers to thank, with substitute Matty Taylor going close to flicking the ball in at the near post amidst the host’s push for an equaliser, but for the experienced John Ruddy.
Lee Johnson named a total of five changes from the Tuesday night win against QPR, with Joe Morrell making his third-consecutive start in the cup and Kasey Palmer also returned to the starting XI.
For City, this was another test against top flight opponents and a chance to see if they could deal with the pace and intensity of a Wolves side who have adjusted well back in the Premier League.
The visitors certainly looked comfortable in possession without really troubling the Robins in the early exchanges but City would have to deal with their physicality.
Johnson’s men were soon finding their rhythm though, with Palmer pulling the creative strings in midfield, even Tomas Kalas threatening down the right-wing after 20 minutes, with Callum O’Dowda and Niclas Eliasson switching to give the Wolves full-backs something to think about.
The crowd would have anticipated more when City won a free kick 28 yards from goal, right of the centre after Morrell was tripped but Eliasson’s delivery was claimed easily by Ruddy.
Unfortunately, Wolves were ahead just a minute later. Captain Conor Coady picked out the forward run of Doherty, whose cut back picked out Cavaleiro and the striker made no mistake as he tucked the ball into the back of the net.
With half-an hour played, the game began to open up and a Robins response was almost immediate when O’Dowda tried a volley which sailed over but at the other end, only the woodwork denied Doherty from turning scorer when his shot had the beating of Frank Fielding but not the upright.
The City shotstopper was again called to action just moments later when Wolves got behind the City defence once more, Raúl Jiménez’s flick finding Leander Dendoncker whose half-volley was this time parried away by Fielding.
A double substitution at the break saw young Joe Morrell and winger Eliasson swapped for Marlon Pack and Taylor, respectively, with the hosts now on the front foot. The crowd were on their feet when O’Dowda ran to the byline with only his cross unable to pick out a man in red, and again when he latched on to Bailey Wright’s through ball, squaring a pass to Jay Dasilva who couldn’t keep his first-time shot down.
BS3 were in full voice, giving City encouragement to build from with Ruddy as yet untested, although the Wolves keeper scrambled to his right only to see a Palmer free kick curl inches wide of the post.
It would be his last real involvement with Jamie Paterson brought on with 25 minutes left to play and City almost found an equaliser when the City number 20 fed Brownhill. The midfielder danced his way into the Wolves penalty area before finding Taylor, who managed to flick the ball goalward but for the strong hand of former Robin Ruddy.
At the other end, Fielding remained alert to tip over Joao Moutinho’s dipping free kick, while Doherty cleared off the line before City had to be patient as they threatened on the edge of the Wolves box with Pack eventually firing the ball straight at Ruddy.
The tale of the two keepers continue as City’s number one stood firm to block a shot from Morgan Gibbs-White, while the Wolves shotstopper tipped over a Taylor header, all before Pack misjudged his close-range shot and he scooped the ball over the bar.
City rallied to the end, even Fielding forcing an effort on goal as Johnson threw bodies forward. The full-time whistle brought an end to City’s 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, with attentions now turning back to the Sky Bet Championship. They travel to face Norwich City away in their top of the table clash on Saturday (February 23rd, 3pm KO).
Match sponsor: Dentons
Sleeve sponsor: Ola Cabs
Cup partner: Free Super Tips
Photography by JMPUK.