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Report: Bristol City U23s 3-5 Hull City U23s

Jonathan Edwards scored a hat-trick as City Under-23s suffered a 5-3 defeat to Hull City in their first home match of the 2016/17 Professional Development League season. 

The striker put Hull ahead in the 12th minute with a glancing header, but City responded just after the break through James Difford. 

Hull immediately retook the lead as Luke Lofts guided a right-footed shot past Max O’Leary, and it was soon 3-1 with Edwards adding his second with a curling effort. 

Jake Andrews reduced the deficit with a thunderous drive for City, but two quick-fire goals from Edwards and Tyler Hamilton secured victory for the visitors despite a late consolation from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. 

The wet conditions at Stoke Gifford Stadium hampered City Under-23s in the opening exchanges and Hull benefitted inside three minutes. 

Winger Will Annen pounced on Aden Baldwin’s slip jinked to the right of O’Leary but saw his shot cleared off the line by Joe Morrell. 

Hull’s defence didn’t seem to be affected by the weather, but Difford was causing problems with his pace. 

The City frontman’s excellent off-the-ball running was creating space for strike partner Diego De Girolamo who fired an early warning shot just wide. 

Jamie McAllister’s youngsters looked assured in possession but fell behind against the run of play. 

Annen’s whipped free kick from the left was met by Edwards who got just enough contact on the ball to see it bounce off the surface into the back of the net. 

City worked hard for a way back into the game as shots from De Girolamo and Kodi Lyons-Foster came to no avail. 

Lloyd Kelly sent a powerful drive just over in the 41st minute before the young Robins wasted a gilt-edged chance to draw level. 

An expertly crafted move between De Girolamo and Lemonheigh-Evans led to Difford receiving the ball in the box. The youngster sold his mark with a drop of the shoulder to make space on his left but his attempt lacked conviction and Jonny Saltmer gathered with ease. 

Saltmer was in action again shortly after saving Lemonheigh-Evans’s long range strike with his legs, but was beaten just after half-time by Difford. 

Andrews hooked the ball over the top for an onrushing Difford who beat the offside trap and coolly slotted underneath the visiting stopper. 

The score wasn’t level for long as Hull regained their advantage thanks to sloppy defending which allowed Lofts to sneak into the area and finish right-footed. 

Desperate to restore parity once more, City attacked in numbers and Andrews and Difford both went close but Hull added their third in the 73rd minutes as Edwards latched on to Dan Balty’s pass to guide the ball past O’Leary’s despairing dive. 

Andrews and Difford combined nicely again as the former unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to give City a lifeline. 

It was short-lived as Edwards sealed his hat-trick shooting low into the corner and Hamilton collected Johon Ter-Horst’s lovely pass to put gloss on the scoreline. 

Lemonheigh-Evans drilled a free kick under the wall and past Saltmer to give City a glimmer of hope, but the young Robins left it too late to record a point. 

City Under-23s: O’Leary, Harper, Baldwin, Challis (McNulty 66), Kelly, Andrews, Morrell, Lyons-Foster, Lemonheigh-Evans, De Girolamo (Moss 57), Difford. Not used: Wollacott, Harris, Omofe.