Banner image

Report: Cheltenham Town 0-3 Bristol City

Gustav Engvall scored twice at Whaddon Road to ensure the Johnson Cup would maintain pride of place on the City side of the family mantelpiece.

Goalless at the break, City were 2-0 up within seven minutes of the restart as Engvall rounded goalkeeper Jonathan Flatt to find the net before half-time substitute Bobby Reid finished off a flowing team move to continue his summer hot streak.

It was Reid’s eighth goal in six pre-season outings, but Engvall would be the star of the show as he tapped in after Flatt got fingertips to a Callum O’Dowda header.

Johnson Jnr handed starts to City young guns Ivan Lucic, Zak Vyner, Lloyd Kelly and Joe Morrell, as well as 21-year-old Engvall, with the Swedish striker making his first start of pre-season alongside Famara Diédhiou up front.

Eighteen-year-old Kelly is a promising left-back yet to make his first team debut in competitive action, but he embarked on a first foray into Cheltenham territory when he latched on to O’Dowda’s backheel and fizzed in a dangerous cross that ran right across the six-yard box untouched.

But City were not having things all their own way in the opening exchanges, with passes falling astray and chances at a premium.

LUCIC READY WHEN CALLED UPON

It was Lucic who was forced into the first notable save after 24 minutes, as the diminutive figure of Jerell Sellars ran at the City defence and let fly from 25 yards with a deflected effort that the Austrian stopper needed two attempts to gather.

But the visitors responded with a better opportunity of their own. Josh Brownhill was bright enough to spot a gap in the Town backline and run into it with the help of a return pass from O’Dowda, forcing Flatt to repel his low shot with an outstretched leg.

Meanwhile, former Cheltenham skipper Marlon Pack was afforded a generous ovation on his return to Whaddon Road, but became the subject of a few ironic cheers when a couple of speculative shots from distance sailed high and wide.

Engvall was showing some clever touches and making good runs, but lacked a finishing touch from another low cross by Kelly, before he was cleaned out by the sliding Harry Pell near the touchline.

From Morrell’s resulting free kick, Hordur Magnusson felt he was being held back in hooking an attempt over the crossbar.

O'DOWDA GOES CLOSE

That same bar was shaking moments later after some individual brilliance from O’Dowda, who darted between two defenders towards the edge of the box and then beat two more before cutting back on to his left foot, only to be denied by the underside of the goalframe.

City were improving now and Engvall beat the offside trap to go eye to eye with Flatt, turning to his right to square the ball to Diédhiou, but the Senegalese striker steered his shot wide from 20 yards as defenders retreated.

Meanwhile, Kelly was getting closer and closer in pursuit of an assist. For the third time he zipped a low ball across the face of goal that this time had Brownhill charging in on it, but the midfielder could not control the finish as it ballooned over the top.

Johnson made a trio of substitutions at the interval, resting the legs of Pack, Brownhill and Diédhiou, who all played the bulk of City’s 6-0 win over Atlético Unión Güimar in Tenerife on Saturday.

On came Korey Smith, Jamie Paterson and Reid, with O’Dowda switching from the left flank to the right.

THE GOALS BEGIN TO FLOW

It did not take long for City to break the deadlock, as Morrell played the ball down the side of the Cheltenham defence for Engvall to round the keeper and score with a calm finish from the corner of the penalty area.

Four minutes later the lead was doubled with Engvall involved again midway through a superb team move.

O’Dowda vacated his touchline to find Kelly, whose pass into Engvall allowed the Swede to turn and face Flatt’s goal.

Engvall then fed Paterson, who was unselfish in squaring the ball for Reid to continue his remarkable run of scoring in every friendly he’s played this summer.

City were purring now, as another flowing move resulted in Morrell steering wide from 20 yards after Reid’s lay-off.

Two became three when Paterson crossed from the left and O’Dowda outjumped his man, only to be denied by a flying save from Flatt before Engvall gobbled up the rebound on his left foot.

There would be no hat-trick for the youngster, who was replaced by Freddie Hinds six minutes later as one of eight City changes on the night.

One of those was an unnamed trialist who played on the right wing in place of O’Dowda for the final 18 minutes.

Hinds, who has a habit of being in the right place at the right time, headed one chance against the base of the post before running on to a ball over the top only to be denied by Flatt.

Bristol City: Lucic, Vyner (Moore 65), Flint, Magnusson, Kelly (Golbourne 65), Brownhill (Paterson 46), Pack (K.Smith 46), Morrell (Hegeler 72), O'Dowda (Trialist 72), Engvall (Hinds 72), Diédhiou (Reid 46).

Scorers: Engvall 48, 66, Reid 52.

Attendance: 1,883.

EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS