- English Football League - Championship
- Tuesday, January 26th 2021
- Ashton Gate
James Crawley reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol City 2-1 Huddersfield Town
Tuesday, January 26th 2021
Famara Diédhiou’s first-half double helped City beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 at Ashton Gate.
The striker pounced with two cool finishes just three minutes apart, as he took his tally to eight goals for the season – now six from his last seven games.
The cliché ‘a game of two halves’ springs to mind as the Terriers showed signs of bouncing back towards the end of the first half and were a constant threat in the second in their bid to get back into the match.
Their pressure eventually came fruition when Juninho Bacuna pounced off the back of a good move and set up a very tense final 30 minutes in BS3.
Huddersfield, with just two points picked up on the road since Halloween, hit the woodwork four times in this game but ultimately couldn’t find a way to equalise against a defensive-minded Robins side, with lady luck eluding them on the night.
Not that Dean Holden and his players will mind too much, as they go three points behind sixth-placed AFC Bournemouth in the table.
It was a proud night for Zak Vyner who made his 50th appearance for the club. The Academy graduate has become a regular in Holden’s side this season, proving himself in centre midfield of late, as well as in defence.
Vyner kept his place alongside Tyreeq Bakinson, while Head Coach Holden named two changes for Tuesday’s Sky Bet Championship match. Dan Bentley and Alfie Mawson were restored to the starting XI following Saturday’s FA Cup action, stepping in for Max O’Leary and Taylor Moore respectively, who were named on the bench.
It meant an unchanged midfield and attack force, led by Nahki Wells and Diédhiou – who had four goals from his last previous games – and both scored against Millwall just three days earlier. James Morton also earned a place on the bench, while winger Hakeeb Adelakun suffered from back soreness so missed out from the matchday squad.
The Robins wanted to pick up where they left off in South London on Saturday and their attacking intent was clear to see as early as the second minute. Kasey Palmer spread the play to Adrian Mariappa, who cross from deep was glanced not far wide of goal by Wells.
In response, a surging run from Lewis O’Brien threatened to put the away side into the lead. He darted into the box unchallenged as City backed off through fear of conceding a penalty, but his shot pinged off the post and Bentley got the slightest of touches to see it out for a corner.
But come the 23rd minute City turned on the style and went ahead through Diédhiou’s first goal of the night. It was Mawson’s pass from the back which cut through a motionless Huddersfield midfield and Antoine Semenyo’s clever dummy allowed the ball to roll on to the Senegal striker. Diédhiou beat the offside trap and was one-on-one with Ryan Schofield who he side-stepped before calmly slotting the ball into an empty net.
Just three minutes later and it was 2-0 as City converted after a long spell of possession. Palmer showed his quality when he slipped a ball into the advanced Diédhiou and the striker produced a first-time finish to double the Robins’ lead.
City were in control but Holden would be forced into a change when Tommy Rowe picked up a knock inside the 40th minute. Jack Hunt was the replacement who took his usual right-back position, while Mariappa shifted across to left-back.
And Hunt’s first involvement was clearing a shot off the line! A corner from Isaac Mbenza fell deep for Álex Vallejo and his effort clipped the bar before Hunt cleared the danger. Harry Toffolo then drove a shot into the side netting as the visitors tried to end the half strongly but they trailed at the break.
The Terriers looked to bite back in the second half too, and in the early exchanges forced Bentley to race off his line and beat Fraizer Campbell to the ball, while Tomas Kalas blocked an O’Brien effort and captain Toffolo struck the side netting again.
City were under the cosh and conceded a free kick some 30 yards from goal but Mbenza set himself for the shot. It was a decent, dipping strike in fairness, but Bentley looked to have it covered as the ball sailed off target.
But the warning signs were apparent, and the visitors’ pressure told just before the hour-mark. Rolando Aarons drove into the area and pulled the ball invitingly across the danger zone, where Mbenza back-heeled the ball for Bacuna who drove the ball into the net and halve the deficit.
The Yorkshire men were feeling the confidence flowing now and could have equalised a minute later. Toffolo produced the cross and Campbell was well-placed to strike the volley but it sailed wide.
Holden looked to his bench for inspiration and a tactical shuffle followed in a double change: Diédhiou and Wells would be sacrificed for Chris Martin and Ádám Nagy. It allowed the hosts to weather the storm but they relied on the crossbar again when Vallejo struck a strong effort from distance. It crashed off the woodwork resulting in pinball in the box but Bacuna couldn’t capitalise in the aftermath.
Moore replaced Palmer ten minutes from the end with City desperate to hold on to their slender lead but the Terriers’ threats wouldn’t go away.
Campbell wasted a free header late on, before Bacuna hit a sweet strike which Bentley expertly tipped over, and a Pippa drive deflected off Campbell before striking the post on its way wide.
Huddersfield will have wondered how they hadn’t equalised, yet City managed to do enough to take all three points, against the run of play in the second half.
Next up for Holden's men is a trip to Derby County this Saturday, live on Robins TV (January 30th, 3pm KO). The livestream coverage starts at 2.30pm.
- Diédhiou (23') , Diédhiou (26')
- Tommy Rowe, Kasey Palmer, Nahki Wells, Famara Diédhiou
- Bacuna (59')
- Álex Vallejo, Rolando Aarons