Report: Bristol City 2-1 Portsmouth
Sunday, January 10th 2021
Goals from Famara Diédhiou and a fantastic late hit from Chris Martin helped City advance into the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round.
Diédhiou picked out the bottom corner to put the Robins deservedly ahead, before Callum Johnson rolled the ball past Dan Bentley to put Portsmouth back in the tie moments before half-time.
Pompey threatened much more in the second half but couldn’t capitalise, before Martin picked out the top corner with a stunning finish inside the 83rd minute.
Bentley’s strong arm then kept out substitute Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila deep in stoppage time as City held on to progress in the cup and start 2021 with a win.
Alfie Mawson returned to the City defence after nearly three months out through a knee injury. The loanee from Fulham sat in a backline which included Adrian Mariappa, who signed a contract extension in the week. Winger Hakeeb Adelakun, who returned from loan at Hull City, made his first City appearance since New Year’s Day 2019, while Owura Edwards – the brother of Opi – was named on a young bench.
City started well enough, were bright on the ball and limited the League One side to few chances in the first half, who looked dangerous down the left with former Bristol Rovers man Lee Brown.
But it was City on top who carved out the first chance though Craig MacGillivray stood in the way to deny Martin from putting the hosts ahead. He played a neat one-two with Diédhiou but from a tight angle Pompey’s keeper blocked the shot before his defence could clear.
At the other end, Marcus Harness wouldn’t trouble Bentley – as was the theme as the first half continued - when he cut inside but blazed high over the crossbar, while the Robins grabbed the opener soon after.
Holden’s players built patiently from the back but Tyreeq Bakinson’s ball into Diédhiou injected excitement as City worked it forward. It allowed a one-two between Adelakun and Diédhiou who, upon receiving the ball back, twisted and turned to keep possession before he bent the ball into the left corner.
Harness then headed wide as Pompey looked for an equaliser, while Diédhiou went close to connecting with a clipped Martin cross but it just evaded his run in the box.
City had been in control but the visitors found a way back into the tie on the stroke of half-time. It came after a strong run from Andrew Cannon whose cutback found its way for right-back Johnson and he picked out the bottom corner to put Kenny Jackett’s side on level terms at the break.
It was largely one-way traffic with City attacking the South Stand as play resumed, though Portsmouth captain Tom Naylor would be the first to test Bentley all afternoon but it was a composed effort which the Robins shotstopper held with ease.
But City had the visitors under pressure with MacGillivray saving low to deny Semenyo, who saw another fierce strike deflected soon after. The young forward spoke prior to the game about working hard to find his goalscoring form as he chased a first goal since September.
The Robins had more possession and created more chances but with just the one goal Holden looked to his bench with striker Nahki Wells called into action to replace Adelakun, while Maswon completed his return on 65 minutes, when he was substituted for Taylor Moore.
But even with City’s fresh legs, Pompey began to enjoy a dominant spell and only saves from Bentley, who had little to do to this point, blocked twice – the first to deny a Naylor shot after he drove into the penalty area, and the second to block a Cannon cross.
A loose touch from Bakinson then allowed Harness to slide in a pass for Ryan Williams but it took a well-timed sliding tackle from Moore to put a stop to the danger.
Another change followed when Han-Noah Massengo was introduced for Nagy with 15 minutes to go; quarter of an hour before the threat of extra-time and the potential of a penalty shootout.
Still Pompey threatened with Williams looking a potent threat in particular, while Bentley plucked an Ellis Harrison header out of the air, and Moore slid across to expertly deny Cannon.
Up again it, Holden looked to bis bench again with Zak Vyner replacing Bakinson and it proved an inspired change as the defender played a crucial role as City struck against the run of play.
It was a fantastic hit from Martin, who found himself in a pocked of space after receiving the ball from Vyner. Martin initially looked to have gifted possession, but he went for goal with the second attempt and rifled the ball into the top corner instead.
It was a strike to settle any fixture and on this occasion was enough to prevent extra-time and send City into the hat for the Fourth Round of the FA Cup…that despite a last-gasp chance for Hiwula-Mayifuila who was thwarted by a strong Bentley block at the death.
City will discover their next round opponents when the draw takes place on Monday night (January 11th). Meanwhile, Sky Bet Championship action resumes on Wednesday evening with a trip for the rearranged game with Brentford (January 13th, 7pm KO).
Photography by JMPUK.