- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, August 4th 2018
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Saturday, August 4th 2018
Andreas Weimann scored on his competitive debut as City kicked-off their 2018/19 campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest.
The Austrian forward powered a header to give City an early lead, who impressed in the opening 45 minutes.
However, Forest fought back with an early strike after the break through a header from Daryl Murphy, in front of a sold-out Atyeo Stand.
New Robins keeper Niki Mäenpää impressed throughout though to thwart the visitors and help earn City a share of the spoils in the Sky Bet Championship curtain raiser.
Lee Johnson handed first competitive starts to summer arrivals Mäenpää, Jack Hunt, Adam Webster and Weimann with Mo Eisa among the substitutes. Young keeper Max O’Leary also sat among the bench, with Frank Fielding facing weeks out through injury. Marlon Pack, fresh from signing a new contract, captained the side in the absence of Bailey Wright, who was also ruled out through injury.
In his build up to the season opener, City head coach Johnson had discussed the hard work behind the scenes on tactics and a way City want to play the game and that looked to pay dividends early on as City came flying out of the traps.
That being said, it was Forest with the first best chance of the game but Michael Dawson couldn’t direct his header on target.
WEIMANN’S DEBUT GOAL
But it was City who looked the most threatening in front of a 22,000-strong crowd and Weimann grabbed his first goal of the campaign after just five minutes.
Niclas Eliasson who was among the standout performers in a successful pre-season was the provider. His initial corner was directed goal-bound by Callum O’Dowda but for a Costel Pantilimon save. The ball went wide again, back out to the Sweden winger Eliasson whose floated ball back into the box was headed by Weimann beyond Costel Pantilimon, via the crossbar.
This was a fighting and determined performance from the Robins in the early stages but the question was, could they keep up the intensity?
The answer was yes and they could have doubled their lead after forcing another corner. Eliasson pinged the ball deep where Pack’s header on the far side of six-yard box looked like it was heading for the opposite corner, but for goal-line clearance from Ben Osborn.
At the other end, Mäenpää had little to do but watch on as Gil Dias fired over from distance, although only a Nathan Baker deflection and the post denied Daryl Murphy from equalising.
FOREST FAST OUT OF THE TUNNEL
But Forest wouldn’t be prevented a quick second-half equaliser as Murphy guided a header into the far corner, beyond the stretching Mäenpää, from Adlène Guédioura’s left-sided cross.
Now it was the visitors with their tails up and Joe Bryan had to bravely stand in the way to block a fierce effort from Guédioura, before Mäenpää held on to the ball well from the Forest midfielder.
Mäenpää then had to get down quickly to make a smart stop at his near post when Murphy latched on to a chipped pass from Osborn.
Johnson made his first substitutions as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Matty Taylor and Korey Smith brought into the game at the expense of O’Dowda and Jamie Paterson.
MÄENPÄÄ CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
And almost instantly City found a way through as Joe Bryan and Pack exchanged headed passes, with the number three bursting forward after getting away from his marker. He managed to get a shot off from the edge of the area but saw his effort parried by Pantilimon.
Yet City still had to remain alert as Forest continued to carry a threat with club-record signing João Carvalho twisting in the box before forcing Mäenpää into a low save.
The new City keeper showed smart reactions again as the game entered the last five minutes, with substitute Joe Lolley forcing a fully-stretched diving save from the shotstopper.
City did appeal for a penalty right at the death when substitute Eisa went down in a crowded box but the referee dismissed the calls before the full-time whistle signalled the match’s end seconds later.
City hit the road to take on Bolton Wanderers in their second game of the season next Saturday.
- Weimann (5')
- Niclas Eliasson, Callum O'Dowda, Jamie Paterson
- Murphy (46')
- Michael Dawson, Gil Dias, Daryl Murphy