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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, July 31st 2021

📝 Match report: Bristol City 0-3 Aston Villa

City rounded off their pre-season with an energetic display against Aston Villa as they welcomed the return of supporters to Ashton Gate.

A total of 7,589 fans turned out to watch the Robins in action for the first time since March 2020, though it was an unfortunate scoreline on the day.

Jaden Bidace opened the scoring, before Ezri Kona capitalised on a mistake just before half-time.

City came out and pushed their opponents all the way in the second half and even had a handful of penalty appeals dismissed, before Ollie Watkins nodded in a third goal.

The background

This day was a long time coming for the thousands of fans in the stands. Aston Villa also brought 1,000 supporters to BS3 bringing the crowd total to 8,589.

And Nigel Pearson selected the same team which started Tuesday's 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle for the occasion, though there were changes on the bench including youngsters Alex Scott and Sam Bell.

What happened

The crowd witnessed an entertaining start and Andreas Weimann almost scored against his former club within minutes though he skewed a strike off target.

At the other end, Dan Bentley had to parry an effort from El Ghazi with the follow-up corner floated to Matty Cash who struck a volley wide.

However, Villa found the breakthrough as quickly as the sixth minute. They broke down the left and Watkins crossed for Bidace who turned the ball into the net from close range.

Ashley Young struck the crossbar with a free kick, while Jed Steer held on to a Kasey Palmer volley as both sides battled on in front of the crowd.

Despite being behind, City built a period of pressure in the latter stages of the first half, yet it proved in vain as the visitors doubled their lead before the break.

A John McGinn free kick caused trouble for Bentley who was unable to hold on to the ball and Konsa pounced on the unfortunate error.

Scott replaced Kasey Palmer at half-time and the youngster made an immediate impact. He dribbled his way into the box, nutmegged Cash but saw a penalty appeal turned down as he was hauled to the ground. Moments later he was in the centre of another attack but shot straight at Steer.

City came at the visitors again when Weimann dispossessed a player on edge of his own area, picking out Martin who fed Andy King and the midfielder went close, lashing a shot into the side netting.

City had another appeal for a penalty dismissed when Martin was seemingly bundled over by Kortney Hause but again Kevin Friend wasn’t interested.

But similarly to the first half, with all of City’s promising play and pressure, Villa produced the sucker punch. Watkins grabbed the third with a close-range header after El Ghazi chased down a ball over the top. His cross was kept in play according to the officials and it was on a plate for Watkins.

Young Sam Bell tested Steer with a header as City quickly searched for a way back into the game but despite their valiant efforts, it wouldn’t come.

Up next

The 2021/22 season starts in a week's time with City in action at home to newly-promoted Blackpool.

Secure your tickets

City: Bentley, Vyner (Simpson 58), Atkinson, Baker, Dasilva (Pring 76), James (Bakinson 76), King (Nagy 61), O’Dowda (Bell 61), Palmer (Scott 46), Weimann, Martin (Wells 61). Subs not used: O’Leary, Kalas.

🎤 Post-match reaction

Andy King and Nigel Pearson spoke to Robins TV...

📸 MATCH ACTION

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