- English Football League - Championship
- Wednesday, November 25th 2020
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 0-0 Watford
Wednesday, November 25th 2020
City earned their third clean sheet in a row as they battled in a goalless draw against Watford at Ashton Gate.
Dean Holden’s side backed up a resolute first half by taking the game to the Hornets after the break but they couldn’t find a way past the experienced Ben Foster.
A stunning save from Dan Bentley kept the home side in the game after the visitors had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening half, while the busy Antoine Semenyo went closest for the Robins.
The draw means no movement in the Sky Bet Championship table for either side, with City still third in the standings, three points behind leaders Norwich City ahead of the weekend’s trip to Reading.
Saturday’s matchwinner against Derby County, Famara Diédhiou, returned to the starting XI, as one of three changes to Holden’s side. The striker replaced Chris Martin, while Taylor Moore and Tommy Rowe stepped in to cover Holden’s defensive options as Nahki Wells missed out. Captain Tomas Kalas was absent through a tight quad, so Jack Hunt took the armband.
Watford control possession
Watford looked comfortable on the ball and would boast as much as 80% possession after 20 minutes of play, though it would be the home side and Semenyo who would carve out the first real opportunity of the game. It was a good move which started at the back with Moore, who found the advancing Jay Dasilva. The left-back broke forward with Jamie Paterson to his left, whose cutback into the penalty area was delicately guided just over Foster’s goal by Semenyo.
The Hornets had been bright though and gave the Robins something to think about but for Zak Vyner to answer those questions. Watford’s first opportunity came when Rowe put too much power behind a throw which allowed Domingos Quina to intercept. However, Vyner battled well before timing his tackle to perfection and the young defender was involved again a minute later when he blocked an Ismaila Sarr shot.
Neither side could create notable chances bar Watford captain Craig Cathcart heading into the side netting, with both Dan Bentley and Foster kept quiet as the first half ticked by.
Halting Hornets sting
Quickly into the second half City had Moore to thank when he tracked back and put in a vital block on Sarr who attacked with pace down the right side, while Diédhiou came inches away from making contact with Semenyo’s cross, after strong running from the young forward down the left.
But as the hour-mark approached the Robins were now putting significant pressure on their opponents and Semenyo was heavily involved again. He was spotted by Dasilva on the left flank, beating one man before opting to shoot when faced with a tight angle but he couldn’t get enough curl on the ball as Foster watched the strike drift wide.
Semenyo inches away
Still City came forward with Watford on the backfoot. Paterson picked out Hunt with a swooping diagonal pass, the right back’s volleyed pass found Semenyo in space, but he couldn’t quite keep the header low enough to worry Foster once more.
At the other end, Bentley had had little to worry about but even on a chilly night showed quick reflexes when called upon to deny Quina. A Sarr cross was initially blocked by Vyner but only as far as Quina whose rifled effort was pushed away by City’s number one.
Diédhiou soon made way with Martin introduced to bring fresh legs to the attack, while Paterson tested Foster with a low effort the goalkeeper held with ease.
The Hornets saw calls for a penalty rightly dismissed as replays showed Bentley beat his opponent to the ball with a strong hand, before Holden looked to the bench for a second time with Wells replacing Semenyo in the latter stages.
City continued to attack with time running out and chances went amiss when Tommy Rowe saw a mishit shot scrambled away by Foster in stoppage time, while Moore blazed over with the final kick of the game as the sides shared the points.
City’s trip to the Madejski Stadium will again be live on Sky Sports this Saturday (November 28th, 12.30pm KO) and will not be available on Robins TV due to EFL regulations.
Photography by JMPUK.
- Antoine Semenyo, Famara Diédhiou
- Jeremy Ngakia, João Pedro, Andre Gray