- English Football League - Championship
- Saturday, September 12th 2020
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 2-1 Coventry City
Saturday, September 12th 2020
Tomas Kalas provided a captain’s contribution with the winning goal against Coventry City on the opening day of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.
The centre-back, announced as the Robins’ new club captain an hour before kick-off, headed home from a late corner to seal the points at Ashton Gate.
Jamie Paterson had scored just 20 seconds into the campaign with a close-range finish, though the Sky Blues battled back through Matt Godden.
Newly-promoted Coventry proved a handful, particularly in the first half but Dan Bentley kept Dean Holden’s men in the contest, before Kalas nodded in the winner less than 10 minutes from the end.
Holden made only one change from last weekend’s Carabao Cup clash, with Tommy Rowe starting ahead of Jay Dasilva who missed the match due to a recurring shin issue. New signings Chris Martin, Steven Sessegnon and Alfie Mawson were all named on the bench.
City made the fastest of starts and got off the mark after just 20 seconds, courtesy of Paterson who netted his second goal in all competitions. Famara Diédhiou played a lovely ball to Nahki Wells, whose low ball across the Coventry penalty area picked out Paterson who tucked the ball over the line.
But the Sky Blues were playing with confidence and flair after an exciting run en route to promotion last season, and they ensured this would not be a game the Robins would run away with.
Last season’s top goalscorer Godden forced a good stop from Bentley, while the follow-up strike by Callum O’Hare rattled back off the post.
City did quickly race up the other end with Zak Vyner’s cross finding Diédhiou, but the Senegalese forward’s header was plucked out of the air by the diving Marko Marosi.
The first half continued in a lively manner but it was the visitors who began to find more of the ball and carve out the opportunities in their pursuit of an equaliser, which came just after the half-hour mark.
Coventry causing problems
Another run from O’Hare caused the City defence problems and he raced on to a through ball despite the best interception efforts of Paterson. City’s number 10 couldn’t prevent the ball from finding O’Hare and his cross was diverted into the path of Godden, who rifled the Sky Blues level.
Coventry had their tails up and Godden was almost in again not long after but for captain Kalas who did well to block the shot and Taylor Moore deflected the follow up as Gustavo Hamer saw his name in lights.
Mark Robins’ men were on top, controlling possession and almost went ahead before the break but for Bentley once again. Leo Ostigard was unmarked to head the ball at goal from a corner, the ball deflected off Rowe and City’s shotstopper clawed the ball away to keep the scores level at the interval.
The hosts were quick to push forward for the start of the second half and forced Coventry into an error as they went close to restoring their lead. Wells robbed Kyle McFadzean of the ball, he squared a pass to Diédhiou who spun and shot but the ball was blocked by Dominic Hyam before Marosi could snatch it.
At the other end, Bentley was called into action for a third time, when he parried away a strong strike from Ostigard.
Robins raise their game
The League One champions were reminding City of their intentions to compete at this higher level but the hosts were a much more improved force as the half progressed.
And Holden soon looked to his bench to replace Diédhiou and Han-Noah Massengo, as Martin made his debut and Tyreeq Bakinson was offered his first Championship appearance.
The midfielder put in an inspired shift and made his presence known almost immediately and forced the goalkeeper into a fine fingertip save. It came off the back of a good team move with Bakinson picking out the advancing run of Wells. His ball back to Paterson allowed the goalscorer to advance before picking out Bakinson to his left, and the youngster took one touch before unleashing his fierce strike on goal.
City would have the ball in the back of the net as the game entered the last 15 minutes but Andreas Weimann was flagged offside, before Antoine Semenyo replaced Wells in Holden’s final substitution of the afternoon.
He scored a late goal in BS3 a week earlier but it was Kalas who got himself on the scoresheet on this occasion with an 82nd-minute header. Paterson turned provider this time with an inswinging corner and Czech Republic international Kalas had the simple task of nodding the ball past Marosi.
Coventry were now stretched and City could have added to the scoreline but for Weimann’s effort clipping the woodwork and Tommy Rowe forced a corner after striking a ferocious volley.
The result gets Holden’s Robins off to the perfect start in the league and secure back-to-back wins at the first time of asking, having progressed in the Carabao Cup a week earlier.
They return to cup action with Northampton Town visiting BS3 on Wednesday night (7.45pm KO).
- Paterson (1') , Kalas (82')
- Han-Noah Massengo, Nahki Wells, Famara Diédhiou
- Godden (33')
- Gustavo Hamer, Liam Kelly, Jamie Allen