Report: Fulham 0-2 Bristol City
Tuesday, October 31st 2017
Milestone goals from Bobby Reid and Korey Smith ensured a Halloween treat for the travelling City fans, as the Robins beat Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
First half strikes from Reid - his tenth of the season - and a first league goal for Smith did the damage against their opponents who ended the game with ten men.
City lined up in a 4-5-1 formation for the first time this season, with Eros Pisano returning to the starting eleven in place of the injured Nathan Baker. Reid led the attack ahead of a midfield featuring Smith, who also made his first start since recovering from a hamstring injury.
Fulham had scored in every game since the start of September but City knew a win could keep them within a point of third-placed Cardiff City.
And the game started with high intensity; Joe Bryan firing over within the first minute as he tried to replicate that special goal against Crystal Palace, before Stefan Johansen also went close for the hosts.
Republic of Ireland international Callum O’Dowda came within inches from breaking the deadlock just minutes later but for a fine, low save from David Button.
The home side soon began to flex muscles of their own and only the crossbar denied Ryan Sessegnon from opening the scoring. The wing back was in again just seconds later, after latching on to a Hordur Magnusson clearance but he dragged his shot wide.
Reid, who talked of his “natural” transition into a striker ahead of the fixture, put City ahead with a milestone goal. Korey Smith pinged a cross-field pass to Josh Brownhill, who squared a first-time pass to Reid in the box for a simple tap in. That was Reid’s tenth goal of the campaign and marked his second goal at Craven Cottage in as many outings.
And the Robins doubled their advantage through Smith’s first league goal for the club. Callum O’Dowda - making his third assist in two games - burst down the right-hand side, pulled a pass back across goal, where Smith pounced with a first-time shot that was tucked into the bottom left corner.
Fulham started the second half brighter but Jamie Paterson came close to an early third goal. He latched on to a long pass and held up the play before cutting inside his marker and firing just over Button’s goal.
He combined with Bryan not long after with the left back flashing an effort wide, but the away side were showing their intentions to pile more misery on their hosts.
City did have the ball in the back for the third time as Wright reacted quickest to a Flint header which had crashed down off the bar, but the fourth official had raised his flag for offside.
The hosts were then reduced to ten men when Aboubakar Kamara was shown the red card for an off-the-ball incident but that didn’t mean they were out of the game. Just minutes later they almost halved the deficit when Kevin McDonald connected to an Oliver Norwood free kick, but Frank Fielding palmed the effort away with a one-handed save.
Fielding had only one more comfortable save to make while seeing other strikes off target as City held on to secure another three points on the road.
Lee Johnson's squad will now prepare to host promotion challengers Cardiff City in the Severnside Derby at Ashton Gate on Saturday (12pm kick off).