Watch: 'I really fancied the idea of joining City and it just took off' - Simpson
Posted: Wednesday, September 16th 2020
Wednesday, September 16th 2020
Bristol City have advanced to Round Three of the Carabao Cup after a convincing 4-0 victory over Northampton Town.
Dean Holden’s men were under the Ashton Gate lights for the first time this season and dazzled thanks to goals from Chris Martin, Antoine Semenyo and a double from Kasey Palmer.
Semenyo grabbed two assists, his first allowing Martin to head City into a half-time lead, before he set up Palmer, who rounded the goalkeeper to slot in the second of the night.
Semenyo had worked so hard all night and eventually grabbed his deserved goal – his second of the competition – with a close-range finish, before Palmer completed his brace with a cool finish after a Niclas Eliasson delivery.
Holden named nine changes for the knockout tie, with first starts for new signings Steven Sessegnon, Alfie Mawson and Martin. There were also first appearances of the season for shot-stopper Max O'Leary, Eliasson and Palmer.
It was comfortable but if there was one downside to the evening it would be an injury to Tomas Kalas. The game would last only five minutes for the Czech Republic international as the club captain had to leave the field with his arm in a makeshift sling. Taylor Moore was brought on to replace him in the back three.
Mawson would take the captain’s armband in Kalas’ absence and he proved a rock at the back, particularly in the air as Northampton Town looked to flex their physicality, though the hosts rarely looked in trouble.
Semenyo in the thick of it
There were a number of bright sparks on the field but it was the performance of Semenyo that caught the eye as he displayed his strength and fitness to power his way forward at every opportunity.
And the young striker did exactly that before being fouled just outside the penalty area. Eliasson stepped up to take the resulting set-piece which rattled back off the post before the Cobblers could clear.
Semenyo proved himself in the thick of the action still, forcing a corner from which Moore headed narrowly wide, before he exchanged passes with Martin only to see a block from Northampton keeper Jordan Mitchell at his near post.
Semenyo would then put the ball in the back of the net, but the flag was raised for offside. Palmer had driven forward before unlocking the striker with a defence-splitting pass, who took one touch with his right foot, before he rolled the ball low past the keeper.
Martin on song
He wouldn’t get a goal on that occasion, but it was certainly a warning sign before he set up Martins’ just minutes before the break. It came after good work from Eliasson, who completed his trademark of cutting the ball onto his left side and whipping a promising cross into the box.
It was deep but Semenyo was well placed to head the ball back across goal and into the path of Martin, who had the simple task of nodding the ball over the line from close range as City took a half-time lead.
At the double
But they were in paradise with a sublime team goal to double the lead not long into the second half. The Robins were in control, passing the ball around with ease, patience and flair, with this magnificent second goal the result of a team move which will live long in the memory for both its build-up and finish. Tyreeq Bakinson, impressive off the bench against Coventry City, pinged a fizzing ball to Semenyo who flicked it into the path of Palmer and the former Chelsea man danced around Mitchell before squeezing the ball into the net.
If that was a good finish, he almost followed it up an audacious effort after showing high speed to dart beyond Christopher Missilou, but Palmer’s curling effort landed just on top of the net with Mitchell caught stranded.
Chris Brunt would make his introduction from the bench as Bakinson made way and the former West Brom midfielder soon tested Mitchell with a cross towards the far post but the Northampton loanee tipped it away.
However, the danger was not done as City thought they had capitalised from the resulting corner. The cross was perfect for the head of Palmer who guided the ball beyond the diving keeper, but Semenyo was judged to have interfered with play meaning the hosts would see a second goal ruled out for offside.
Mawson later departed to allow the experienced Tommy Rowe to help see out the win, but not before Semenyo headed over after another flowing attack from the Robins.
It was to City’s credit that they had absolutely shut out their newly-promoted League One opponents but an error from Zak Vyner almost allowed Keith Curle’s side to halve the deficit, 15 minutes from the end. Chris Lines was the player to pick the ball up, finding Caleb Chukwuemeka to his left but O’Leary watched the shot sail over the crossbar.
And as the game entered its last 10 minutes, Chukwuemeka was the man to nick the ball from Vyner again, but O’Leary was alert to the dangerous, low cross - another sign of a lapse in concentration late on.
Semenyo on the scoresheet
Yet it wouldn’t matter as City showed their swagger with Semenyo finally grabbing his deserved goal of the night.
Again, it was the product of a flowing move with the confident Palmer heavily involved. Sessegnon picked out the run of his teammate who exchanged passes with Semenyo with a backheel. City’s number 18 saw a shot parried by Mitchell but the ball fell kindly for Semenyo who capitalised on the rebound.
Palmer rounds off perfect performance
Palmer struck wide late on but grabbed his second of the game two minutes from time. Brunt showed his vision from deep by picking out the run of Eliasson down the left, and the winger’s cross was perfect for Palmer, who showed composure to place the ball past the goalkeeper with ease and round off a wonderful evening of scintillating football.
But the hardest part may yet be to come with Premier League opponents in Villa waiting for Holden’s men in the third round of Carabao Cup. Details of the fixture will be announced by the club in due course.
The Robins travel to Stoke City on Sunday when they return to Sky Bet Championship action, and you can watch the match live on Robins TV with the build-up starting at 1.30pm.
Photography by JMPUK.