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Report: Bristol City 0-0 Fleetwood Town

City are in the hat for the Emirates FA Cup fourth round draw, but they will share ball number 24 with Fleetwood Town after a goalless stalemate at Ashton Gate.

Tammy Abraham came closest for the hosts with a header against the post late on, but the plucky, if a little unadventurous, visitors will now have home advantage when the two sides meet again in the Highbury Stadium replay on Tuesday, January 17th (7.45pm).

On the bright side, City's six-match losing streak is over after this draw, although head coach Lee Johnson will hardly welcome another date in the fixture list.

International clearance had been received from FIFA, allowing Johnson to name German Jens Hegeler and Bosnian international Milan Djuric in the starting XI. Bailey Wright, signed on Friday, also made his debut in defence as City lined up in a 3-5-2 formation.

Fleetwood forward David Ball attempted an ambitious effort from the halfway line after just 18 seconds, albeit well off target. It did, however, signal the confidence within the ranks of the visitors, who were 11 unbeaten in all competitions coming into this one.

On nine minutes Ball was again in the thick of the action, this time picked out by Devante Cole down the right flank. Frank Fielding was determined not to be beaten at his near post, sticking out his left leg to divert Ball’s goalbound effort around the upright.

A firm tackle from Australian debutant Wright set up City’s first opening of the game. The recent recruit from Preston North End fed the ball to Lee Tomlin, and his shot from 25 yards took a slight deflection before bouncing into the waiting arms of goalkeeper Alex Cairns.

Tomlin almost turned provider soon after as his lofted ball into the area found Djuric. Some fans in the Dolman Stand thought the Bosnian had drilled in a debut goal, but his first-time left-foot finish caught the side-netting rather than nestling inside the near post.

Playing in the number ten role, Tomlin was enjoying plenty of time on the ball and Fleetwood were fortunate the shot at the end of his tricky run was straight at the ever-grateful Cairns.

Ten minutes before the break a mix up at the back almost allowed Mark Little in for the opener. Nathan Pond’s backpass was weak and Little pounced, stabbing the ball into the diving body of Cairns. Tammy Abraham was inches away from the rebound before the ball was hacked clear.

Josh Brownhill was the next to aim on the stroke of half-time, firing narrowly wide after a neat one-two with Joe Bryan on the edge of the penalty area.

A hamstring injury put paid to Korey Smith’s game, replaced by Marlon Pack, who took over the captain’s armband immediately.

Things soon went from bad to worse on the injury front as Richard O’Donnell was called upon at the interval to take up position between the sticks, replacing Fielding, who had suffered a recurrence of his previous groin injury.

City continued in the ascendancy after half-time as new boys Djuric and Hegeler combined well on the edge of the box before the German fired a left-footed drive just wide of the far post.

Moments later Abraham fired beyond the same upright after cutting in from the left flank, then Tomlin chipped a shot narrowly over after intercepting Ben Davies’ weak pass out from the back.

With the visitors tiring, City began to find even more space, although Pond did well to keep up with Abraham as he charged towards goal and slammed a shot into the South Stand.

The Chelsea loanee went closer still with eight minutes left on the clock as he headed Brownhill’s floated free kick against the outside of the post.

It proved the closest either side would come and they will need to do it all again in ten days' time for the right to play in round four.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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