- English League Cup
- Tuesday, August 14th 2018
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 0-1 Plymouth Argyle
Tuesday, August 14th 2018
A much changed Bristol City had a goal controversially disallowed as they exited the Carabao Cup at the first round.
A first-half goal from Yann Songo’o proved enough as the Pilgrims held on to win 1-0 at Ashton Gate.
City piled on the pressure in the second half and Korey Smith looked to have forced an equaliser but for a raised flag for offside.
But despite the bombardment on the Pilgrims’ goal, the away side held on to progress to the next round.
Lee Johnson awarded first starts of the 2018/19 season to Max O’Leary, Eros Pisano, Lloyd Kelly, Liam Walsh, Marley Watkins, Mo Eisa and Matty Taylor, while Jay Dasilva also made his debut at left-back.
On paper, the tie was a repeat of last season’s Carabao Cup first-round encounter, which City won 5-0 to begin what turned out to be a magical run to the semi-finals.
There was a slower pace in the initial stages but it was Watkins who had the crowd on their feet first. He showed a turn of pace to get away from his marker down the right-wing as he bared down on goal, but the recovering Graham Carey got the block in when the Welsh forward managed a low shot on goal.
Dasilva displayed why he has earned the plaudits in his young career to date, first blocking a close-range Freddie Ladapo shot before the crowd applauded as he later tricked his way past Tafari Moore, before earning his side a corner.
But the Pilgrims took the lead as the half-hour mark approached, when Songo’o powered a header past O’Leary from around six-yards out. Carey clipped a first-time cross into the box from the left and the France defender rose to nod the visitors in front.
Midfielder Walsh went close to equalising just minutes after though as his fizzing free kick narrowly missed the top corner.
The away side certainly continued to carry a threat and Ladapo looked to pick out the top corner to double their lead. Joel Grant clipped the ball into his teammate, who ran at the City backline, before shifting the ball onto his right foot and curling an effort over O’Leary’s crossbar.
At the other end, summer signing Eisa was unlucky not to equalise. The lively Dasilva found Callum O’Dowda ahead of him in space, who squared the ball across the box where Eisa took one touch before shooting, only for Niall Canavan to slide and block the strike.
CITY MOUNT SECOND-HALF PRESSURE
It remained even immediately after the break too, with O’Leary the first of the two keepers to make a save, denying captain Jamie Ness’ tame effort before City soon began to edge the fixture.
Eisa continued to keep himself busy and he saw another shot blocked before the ball rolled to Walsh, who set up Korey Smith to send a powerful, driven strike just over the bar.
That had the City crowd in full voice as the game suddenly sparked into life as the Pilgrims looked to respond. However, City countered and Watkins saw sight of goal but Matt Macey had a comfortable save.
Pisano was next to drive forward and he won a free kick 30 yards from goal after being clipped. Up stepped Walsh with the resulting set piece but the dipping ball landed narrowly wide of the fully-stretched Macey’s goal.
Andreas Weimann and Adam Webster were on the field by this point as the regulars helped City’s search for a way back into the game. Republic of Ireland winger O’Dowda went close after Eisa went within inches of what would have been a simple tap in before Argyle cleared their lines.
SMITH'S CELEBRATIONS CUT SHORT
City did finally have the ball in the back of the net as the away side struggled with the home pressure. Smith, the captain on the night, found the back of the net with a driven effort through a crowd of bodies but the goal was disallowed for offside, much to City’s frustration.
But they continued to pepper Macey’s goal only for the young keeper to push away another effort from the busy Eisa, who was shortly replaced by Josh Brownhill.
Again they went close in stoppage time but an O'Dowda header only caused a momentary panic before Argyle cleared their lines and saw out the remaining minutes.
City return to league action when they host Middlesbrough on Saturday (August 18th, 3pm).
- Jay Dasilva, Mohamed Eisa, Matty Taylor
- Songo'o (27')
- Yann Songo'o, Conor Grant, Joel Grant