- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, December 15th 2018
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 2-2 Norwich City
Saturday, December 15th 2018
A first goal in 13 months for Callum O’Dowda helped City to a point at home against Norwich City.
Jamie Paterson and Josh Brownhill were both denied by Tim Krul before Marco Stiepermann curled the visitors into the lead.
There was birthday delight for Famara Diédhiou though when he equalised from close range, before O’Dowda’s rifled second-half effort looked to secure the comeback in a match they had largely controlled.
But Max Aarons was in the right place at the right time to chest the ball over the line in front of the travelling supporters late on as City secured the draw, extending their unbeaten run to four games.
Baker starts, Wright returns to the squad
Nathan Baker returned in defence - an Achilles tendon injury ruling out Adam Webster - while winger O’Dowda was named in the starting XI to join the City attack. Bailey Wright was passed fit enough for a place on the bench with Marlon Pack resuming his on-field captaincy duties.
City had plenty of the ball and were battling well when out of possession against the table toppers, with the crowd appreciating their efforts, helping to warm up the atmosphere in a chilly Ashton Gate.
Diédhiou looked particularly impressive, off the back of his winner seven days ago, and went close to making something of an O’Dowda cross, whose teasing pass only just evaded the striker.
City were finding success out wide and although Norwich were dealing with the crosses, City’s attacking momentum was continuing to rub off on the home support, under the BS3 lights.
Still, the home side knew they would have to keep Teemu Pukki – on 12 Championship goals already - quiet if they were to support their efforts of a result this evening and Niki Mäenpää had to be off his line in a flash to beat the striker to a through ball as he beat the City backline. Not long after, the Robins were back up the other end and Diédhiou, on his birthday, tried his luck from distance but his low shot was easily held by Krul.
Mäenpää was alert again when the Canaries looked to catch the Robins on the break. They soared down the left with Pukki, only Lloyd Kelly momentarily the last line of defence, but Mäenpää stood up well to block the near-post shot, before smothering the ball at the second attempt.
Jamal Lewis struck a volley wide from the edge of the box but it was almost a piece of magic from O’Dowda which broke the deadlock. He skipped forward down the City right in mesmerising fashion, before flicking the ball into the path of Paterson whose shot was well saved by Krul. The former Newcastle keeper was then applauded as Brownhill received the ball from the resulting corner, drilling an effort towards goal but for the shotstopper’s strong fingertips once more.
But the away side took the lead against the run of play with a curling strike from Stiepermann. Pukki took control of the ball after a clipped through ball, he looked for his teammate whose left-footed effort picked out the bottom far corner.
The strike may have come late in the half but the hosts had not played so well to be undone for long. As half-time approached, Paterson’s diagonal ball was beautifully controlled by Andreas Weimann who twisted on the edge of the Canaries’ box before finding Diédhiou and the Senegal frontman rolled the ball beyond Krul at his near post to equalise with his sixth goal of the campaign.
The game remained open and attacking from both sides immediately after the break with Mäenpää the first to deny Pukki, while Diédhiou tested Krul with a strong strike.
O’Dowda off the mark
But the home crowd were on their feet within moments as Brownhill’s clever footwork helped the ball on to Pack whose sweeping pass forward was met by the run of O’Dowda. The Republic of Ireland international charged down on Krul’s goal before finding the back of the net via the crossbar to seal his first goal of the season.
City were in the mood and wanted more with Brownhill only an inch of two from adding the third when his ferocious, dipping strike from distance rippled the top of Krul’s net.
Norwich strike late...again
The keeper’s blushes were then spared after he spilled Paterson’s weak shot, but a little over ten minutes to play, Norwich were level. Onel Hernandez, who had not long been on the pitch, did well to get away from Diédhiou before whipping a ball across the face of goal, where Aarons was waiting at the back post to bundle the ball into the net.
And Norwich did have the ball in the City net for a third time as they pegged back Johnson’s side but there was relief from the home support with Jonathan Rhodes’ effort was ruled out for offside.
City hung on with the draw preventing them a first win over the Canaries in eight years, but keep Lee Johnson's side within touching distance of the play-offs in 14th position.
- Diedhiou (45') , O'Dowda (53')
- Andreas Weimann
- Stiepermann (39') , Aarons (78')
- Christoph Zimmermann, Alexander Tettey, Todd Cantwell