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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, July 27th 2019

Report: Bristol City 0-5 Crystal Palace

The Robins’ pre-season has ended in defeat with Crystal Palace on target to secure a 5-0 win at Ashton Gate.

City were dealt a double blow when Roy Hodgson’s side struck two goals inside a minute, despite a comfortable early showing from City in front of their home supporters.

Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp gifted the Premier League team a 2-0 half-time lead with a Christian Benteke header dealing more damage shortly into the second period. Max Meyer and Connor Wickham added to the scoreline as the match progressed.

The match was another chance for City to build on their match sharpness with the new season underway next weekend.

And making their Ashton Gate bows were Dan Bentley and Sammie Szmodics, with last season’s loanees Tomas Kalas and Jay Dasilva back in the squad, after becoming permanent signings earlier in the summer.

The squad looked bright early on though Palace always had an attaching looking threat about them. Brownhill conceded a free kick from close range, from which Eagles skipper Luka Milivojevic fired over the bar, before Bentley introduced himself to the BS3 crowd with a big right-handed save to deny Schlupp.

City were playing a neat passing game going forward and they worked themselves a free kick when Famara Diédhiou was fouled on the edge of the area. Brownhill fizzed the set piece narrowly over Vicente Guaita’s crossbar, rippling the wrong side of the net, but the goals would come just minutes later.

The first came from Townsend who opening the scoring inside 14 minutes with a close-range finish, before Adam Webster tried but couldn’t keep out Schlupp’s effort as it deflected in under the crossbar in an attack straight from the restart.

It was an underserved scoreline from City’s perspective. Szmodics, who had looked impressive all pre-season, had the technical ability and confidence to play a sweeping diagonal pass to unleash Andreas Weimann down the right and the Austrian forward came close to picking out the forward run of Diédhiou.

Brownhill and Marlon Pack both tried efforts from the edge of the box but neither could hit the target, while Bentley was alert to push away Meyer’s angled strike.

As the heavens opened for the start of the second half, City’s afternoon dampened a little further when Benteke headed in from close range, meeting captain Milivojevic’s cross.

Callum O’Dowda replaced Szmodics in Johnson’s first tactical move of the day and City nearly scored not long after. Diédhiou was the man to go close to cutting the deficit as City pressed and won the ball high up the pitch, only Eliasson’s delivery was a fraction behind the striker’s swinging boot and the ball sailed over the bar.

But Palace snatched their fourth goal 20 minutes from the end. Quick feet from James McArthur, allowed the ball to be slipped, somewhat fortuitously, into the path of Meyer and the German calmly slotted the ball beyond Bentley.

A double change followed for the home side with Taylor Moore and Jamie Paterson introduced ahead of Webster and Eliasson, respectively, with Paterson involved almost immediately but his claims for a penalty - after driving a fierce shot into a Palace player - were waved away by referee Kevin Friend.

The Eagles added further daylight with substitute Wickham able to apply the easiest of finishes. Townsend managed to get the ball across the face of goal after getting behind the City defence, and he picked out the unmarked forward who tapped the ball into the net.

The hosts still pursued their positive game and continued to get forward with only Weimann’s volley landing the wrong side of the post and Paterson striking an effort into the hands of Guaita.

Full-time would shortly follow, City now with eight days to dust themselves down and be ready for the season opener with Leeds United in BS3.

A bumper crowd is guaranteed for the Sky Bet Championship curtain raiser and supporters can still grab themselves a 2019/20 season card for the upcoming campaign, which comes with a wide range of extra benefits.

Tickets: City v Leeds United

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