Report: Bristol City 1-1 Fulham
Wednesday, February 21st 2018
City fought from behind but were denied their first home win over Fulham for 28 years.
It was a share of the spoils at Ashton Gate as a 21,000-plus strong crowd witnessed a 1-1 draw under the lights, a result which extends City's unbeaten run to three games; albeit a trio of draws.
Aleksandar Mitrovic reacted quickest as he pounced from close range to open the scoring, before Bobby Reid and Josh Brownhill exchanged passes, with the former slotting home his 16th goal of the campaign less than ten minutes before half-time.
Reid came close to winning it late on but couldn't control another pass from Brownhill at the vital moment.
Nathan Baker returned to the City starting XI after serving a three-match suspension, with Marlon Pack heading out of the team to begin his own two-game ban. Joe Bryan also dropped to the bench, with Jamie Paterson restored to the team.
FULHAM STRIKE FIRST
Fulham settled on the ball particularly early, which may have been no surprise considering they boast the best possession and passing stats in the league this season.
And they saw sight of goal first as well, Mitrovic striking a tame effort at Frank Fielding before finding the back of the net after 14 minutes - his first Fulham goal.
New recruit Cyrus Christie received a diagonal pass before dribbling into the penalty area. He curled a ball towards the six-yard box where Mitrovic reacted quickest to poke the ball beyond Fielding.
City almost equalised immediately when Ryan Kent delivered a 30-yard free kick. Hordur Magnusson leapt but could only head the ball inches wide of goal.
Fulham were harassing the home side but City were now no longer giving their opponents the freedom to boss possession. Lee Johnson’s side were beginning to edge the game and had penalty appeals turned down when Flint ended up in a heap on the floor after challenging for the ball from a Magnusson throw.
The Icelandic international almost levelled the scores though with an audacious volley, after latching on to a long Flint pass from defence; Magnusson’s volley dropped in time for Marcus Bettinelli to catch without any problems.
REID NETS AGAIN
But City grabbed that deserved equaliser not long later. On 35 minutes Reid locked on to the ball in the box and he tried to pick out a teammate with a blocked pass. Fortunately for the striker the ball rebounded back into his path and he played a delightful one-two with Brownhill at the second attempt, before producing a cool left-foot finish beyond Bettelinni.
Tom Cairney latched on to a sloppy Brownhill pass before firing over the bar as Fulham looked to restore their lead before half-time, but it was City who would have been the happier side as they walked down the tunnel.
City looked more aggressive after the restart, not allowing their visitors to dominate play at all.
The atmosphere was brewing nicely under the lights in BS3 but Fielding still had to be alert to deny Mitrovic from scoring his second of the game.
City went closest to taking the lead though. Brownhill fed Kent down the right, whose cross was headed goalwards by Famara Diédhiou but the Cottagers’ keeper made the block with Reid inches from striking the ball home.
The crowd would hold its breath when captain Bailey Wright sliced a clearance, allowing Ryan Sessegnon to burst into the box but he opted to cross rather than shoot, with his pass across goal unable find a teammate.
And City almost replicated this just moments later, Kent showed a turn of pace after a clever through ball from Diédhiou but the Liverpool loanee’s cross was blocked by Fulham defenders.
GOING FOR THE WIN
Johnson’s side were on the offensive and saw a number of further chances go begging as they battled for a win against their play-off rivals.
First, Tim Ream messed up a header to allow Paterson in behind but his half-volley curled the wrong side of Bettinelli’s far post.
Flint could have scored but could not react quickly enough in the penalty area, before Fulham substitute Oliver Norwood forced Fielding into another comfortable stop from long range.
Denis Odoi was in the right place at the right time to deny Reid from close range and the striker’s touch was not quite good enough as he almost converted Brownhill’s pump into the area in the dying embers of the game.
The full-time whistle followed shortly after, confirming a third straight draw for the Robins, who remain sixth in the Sky Bet Championship.