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Report: Blackpool 0-0 Bristol City

City kept a clean sheet away from home for the first time all season on a woeful pitch at Bloomfield Road.

The best chances of a difficult watch fell to Steven Davies and Kirk Broadfoot in the second half – both headers – while the City striker also saw a 66th minute goal ruled out for offside.

Sean O’Driscoll named the same starting XI who ended Barnsley’s six-match winning streak in style at Ashton Gate last time out, but the City head coach was boosted by the return to fitness of Cole Skuse and Sam Baldock, who joined Albert Adomah among the substitutes.

With the playing surface making life difficult from the off, the most effective tactic early on seemed to be the aerial route, and Blackpool’s Stephen Crainey sent over a couple of dangerous diagonal balls from left-back, before an awkward bounce fell kindly for Matt Phillips to stretch his legs and fire a low cross along the six-yard line begging to be converted.

At the other end, a short corner to Stephen Pearson resulted in a deep cross sent back along the ground invitingly by Liam Fontaine only to be mopped up by the sea of Tangerine shirts back to defend.

The first attempt on goal of note arrived when Paul Anderson’s centre was flicked goalwards by Steven Davies, but City’s top scorer was too far beyond the near post to find the necessary direction to trouble Matt Gilks in the home goal.

The direct approach nearly paid dividends for the visitors when Greg Cunningham played a long ball in behind the Blackpool defence and on to the head of Stead, whose looping header was dipping in but Gilks was well placed to make a fairly routine stop.

City were improving as the half wore on, and good play from Pearson in midfield to rob Alex Baptiste of possession and carry the ball into Blackpool territory saw the Scot feed Anderson on the right, who used Brendan Moloney’s overlapping run as a decoy to cut inside and shoot with power left footed but a couple of yards over Gilks’ crossbar.

Tangerine forays were becoming few and far between, and when danger man Thomas Ince skipped past a challenge and hit a low shot from 25 yards, the comfortable save that followed from Tom Heaton down to his left was greeted with ironic cheers from the locals.

A low key start to the second half was ignited by perhaps the best chance of the game so far when Anderson’s left-footed cross from the right was glanced on by Davies but straight into the arms of Gilks, when either side of him would’ve surely beaten the keeper from no more than eight yards.

But City were soon counting their lucky stars when loud penalty appeals against the grounded Liam Kelly were ignored by referee Mick Russell – Ince was certain – before Angel Martinez’s volley at the end of the same passage of play just skewed wide of the target.

Clear chances were still few and far between by the three-quarter mark, but City thought they had taken the lead on 66 minutes. A superb jinking run from the well advanced Moloney culminated in a low left-footed shot from the defender spilled by Gilks and headed in by Davies, only for the Robins’ celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.

Heaton had been a virtual spectator in the visiting goal, but had to work to keep his clean sheet intact 20 minutes from time to turn aside Kirk Broadfoot’s powerful header from Ince’s outswinging corner.

O’Driscoll made two late substitutions, bringing on Adomah and Skuse in the last ten minutes, but no further chances were forthcoming besides a daisy-cutter from the Ghanaian and the Robins were full value for at least the solitary point they take back to Ashton Gate – their first in five attempts on the road under the new boss.

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