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Holden salutes super strikes

Dean Holden saluted the super strikes from Famara Diédhiou and Chris Martin that took City into the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round.

A 20th-minute left-foot shot from Diédhiou and an 83rd-minute right-footer from Martin capped the first start together for the pair this season.

The victory puts the Robins into tomorrow evening’s draw – to the encouragement of Head Coach Holden, who told Robins TV: “The two strikes were fantastic. Famara with his left foot has curled it into the corner and Chrissy does that most days in training to be fair to him – it’s great technique.

WATCH DEAN HOLDEN'S ROBINS TV INTERVIEW

“I went strong with the selection because I wanted to get through to the next round of the Cup. That was the objective. I thought in the first half we were excellent with some real cutting edge and we just weren’t able to get that second goal. Portsmouth have scored with their first attempt at goal in the last minute of the half and we had to regroup at half time.

Chris Martin strikes the 83rd-minute winner

“We have to respect the FA Cup – Portsmouth are no mugs and are flying high in League One and we have to give them a lot of credit.

Famara Diédhiou opened the scoring for City in the 20th minute

Dan Bentley saves
Dan Bentley saved from Tom Naylor in the 71st minute and the 90th minute from Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila and Holden added: “I thought at times they were the better team in the second half for a period of 15 to 20 minutes we were a little bit cheap with our possession giveaways and they have counter-attacked on us a number of times and we have managed to keep the door shut. Bents has made two big saves for us and we have won it with a fantastic strike from Chris.”

Dan Bentley makes an added-time save

Mawson returns
Alfie Mawson returned to action following knee surgery that has kept him out of action for 11 weeks to partner Tomas Kalas for only the second time this season.

“It was the intention to give him 60 to 65 minutes and I’m really pleased he has come through that,” said Holden. “He’s a bit rusty because he has not trained a great deal and he hasn’t been able to play in an Under-23s game but the timing of his heading and his positional play – we’ve seen a top performance from him today and I was delighted that we could get him off at 60/65 minutes with a tick in the box.”

Alfie Mawson returned ton action after 11 weeks

Partnerships
With the Diedhiou-Martin and Kalas-Mawson combinations pleased Holden, there were significant contributions from returning loanee Hakeeb Adelakun and replacements Taylor Moore and Zak Vyner, who came into midfield to create the opportunity for Martin.

Semenyo
Antoine Semenyo was a livewire in the week of his 21st birthday and Holden added: “I thought that at times Antoine was outstanding today and he had an attempt in the second half when he took an extra second to calm himself, which is important, and the defender got a great block on it. He can be pleased with his day’s work.

“Every training day and every matchday is a different experience for these youngsters. Even for those boys who haven’t got off the bench today. We’ve had Owura Edwards come back off loan and these are great experiences for them. You can’t learn all the time from watching – you have to go out there and really experience it.”

Antoine Semenyo was a livewire against Pompey

City return to Sky Bet Championship action on Wednesday (January 13th, KO 7pm) when they travel to Brentford live on Robins TV.

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