- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, September 15th 2018
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-0 Sheffield United
Saturday, September 15th 2018
Marley Watkins was the super-sub as his late looping header gave City a deserved win against Sheffield United at Ashton Gate.
Callum O’Dowda, himself a second-half substitute on Saturday afternoon, whipped the ball into the Blades box and Watkins’ deft flick nestled into the far top corner with just ten minutes to spare.
The hosts were dominant once more, with Jay Dasilva and Famara Diédhiou going close to breaking the deadlock, while they had appeals for a second-half penalty turned down.
But Watkins’ goal - his second in as many games - was enough to seal a fourth-consecutive win for Lee Johnson’s side, who rise to third in the Sky Bet Championship.
Lee Johnson handed first league starts of the season to Dasilva and Diédhiou, while Nathan Baker returned to the bench after recovering from injury.
CITY START BRIGHTLY
City started lively and quickly found their feet in front of the home crowd and Dean Henderson in the Blades goal was forced to push away a Niclas Eliasson shot, before Dasilva’s follow-up effort fizzed wide.
John Lundstram headed across his own goal face after a cross from Jack Hunt, with Eliasson’s teasing corner begging for a touch as the ball flashed across the six-yard box. Unfortunately for the home side, nobody in red could flick the ball goalward.
United soon grew into the game, with David McGoldrick wasting several chances. Blades captain Billy Sharp set up his teammate who dragged his shot wide, before a similar effort after Tomas Kalas’ misjudged header from a Henderson kick left Niki Mäenpää with no cause for alarm.
In similar fashion to City’s earlier pressure, Ollie Norwood flashed a free kick across the Robins’ penalty area but again the attacking side could not force a decisive touch.
And in an even end to the first half, McGoldrick headed wide for the visitors, before Diédhiou headed over after good work from Dasilva.
There appeared to be little to separate the sides immediately after the break either, but Mäenpää was the first of the two showstoppers to be called into action, as he tipped away a curling effort from Lundstram.
KALAS KEEPS HIS COOL
Kalas was next to show heroics with a last-ditch tackle on Sharp after the forward has turned in the penalty area. The Blades striker went down under the tackle but the referee rightly dismissed calls for penalty as Kalas’s strong foot clearly robbed the Sheffield United attacker of the ball.
City soon found their rhythm with Johnson showing no signs of settling for a point, with attacking changes in O’Dowda and Watkins - both replaced Eliasson and Dasilva, respectively.
And it was Diédhiou who almost had his second in as many games. Captain Marlon Pack picked out the striker’s run with a glorious chipped through ball, Diédhiou's first touch was perfect but his rifled effort only grazed the side netting.
Now City had their tails up, thanks to a roaring home crowd, and Watkins’ cross from the right caused chaos in the United box. City kept the ball alive and the Welshman got on the end of Kelly’s cross, but couldn’t steer the ball on target.
Weimann was next to go close, but an army of bodies stood in his way, before the blocked shot rebounded to Pack and the midfielder’s effort deflected into the arms of Henderson.
DESERVED WINNER AT THE END
It seemed as if it was going to be one of those days with City pressing and pressing but with no reward. The impressive Watkins showed strong running before finding Weimann to his right and the Austrian set up Pack but his shot again deflected as City appealed for handball. The appeals were ignored, to the fans’ disapproval, but they would shortly be all cheers as Johnson’s side got their just desserts seconds later.
Substitutes O’Dowda and Watkins combined with the winger, fresh from Republic of Ireland duty, creating himself space for a right-sided and Watkins flicked the ball into the far corner, leaving Henderson with no chance.
Marvin Johnson clipped over the City goal in stoppage time but the full-time whistle shorty followed, as the home crowd left Ashton Gate rocking.
- Watkins (81')
- Jay Dasilva, Niclas Eliasson, Famara Diedhiou
- John Lundstram, Billy Sharp, Mark Duffy