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Report: Bristol City U23s 2-1 Watford U23s

Bristol City stay top of the Professional Development League after a 2-1 win against Watford at the Optima Stadium.


It was another successful afternoon for the impressive Joe Williams who completed a little over an hour for the young Robins, as part of his recovery plan.

Harry Leeson put City into a deserved half-time lead with a deflected shot, before Henry Wise equalised for the visiting Hornets shortly after the interval.

Both sides had hit the woodwork, however a foul on Ayman Benarous allowed Zak Smith the chance to put City back in front from the penalty spot, and he duly obliged.

Williams in action v Watford

After an incident-free opening ten minutes, it was City’s Joes who combined to carve out the game’s first opportunity with Williams’ corner headed narrowly over by centre-back Low.

City soon enjoyed a spell of pressure and only a low save from Dante Baptiste denied Benarous from opening the scores after the Robins had penalty appeals dismissed.

At the other end, Ryley Towler got caught out with an attempted header, allowing Hutchinson to break down the right but he could only strike a fierce shot into the side netting.

Henry Wise struck a free kick off target though Harvey Wiles-Richards never looked troubled, before City got their noses in front.

The strike came six minutes before the break after great play by Alex Scott. He jinked his way into the box with excellent close control, squaring the ball for Dylan Kadji who enabled the ball to find Leeson on his right and the full-back drilled a low shot past Baptiste.

Alex Scott on the attack

It could have been two-nil but for the post which denied Khari Allen’s strike on the left, while Hutchinson hit the bar with a looping effort at the other end, moments before half-time.

Watford hit the bar again shortly into a lively second half but this time Wise was well-placed for the rebound and he had the simple task of drawing the Hornets level.

Wiles-Richards then produced a good low stop to deny the busy striker as they pressed for a way to get in front for the first time this afternoon.

Williams then made way for Omar Taylor-Clarke around the 67th minute, with more important minutes in the bank for the midfielder as he returns to full fitness.

The momentum soon began to swing in favour of the hosts and Scott forced Baptiste into another save, before Benarous won a penalty for the home side.

Dispatched: Smith keeps his cool

He took a whack from a Watford player as they slid across to clear the ball, but the referee felt the follow through was too strong. Midfielder Smith stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick confidently.

As the rain came down, a rasping drive from Kadji wasn’t all too far from adding a third goal on the day but Smith’s earlier penalty proved enough to secure the win in Weston-super-Mare.

The young Robins are next in action at home against Charlton Athletic (February 9, 2pm KO).

City v Watford: Wiles-Richards, Leeson, Allen, Low (c), Smith, Towler, Benarous, Williams (Taylor-Clarke 67), Scott, Francois, Kadji. Subs not used: Robertson, Henry, Z Bell.

Ayman Benarous

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