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Ed Lewis

Ed Lewis writes

Posted Wednesday, July 24th 2019

Report: Forest Green Rovers 3-4 Bristol City

Two late goals saw City secure victory at Forest Green Rovers in a seven-goal thriller.

The League Two outfit found themselves two goals to the good, courtesy of a Shawn McCoulsky brace, but Josh Brownhill halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

Rovers regained their two-goal cushion early into the second half through Aaron Collins, but goals from Andi Weimann, Sammie Szmodics and Adam Webster saw the Robins complete the comeback.

Summer signings Daniel Bentley, Tommy Rowe, Szmodics and Tomas Kalas all started City’s penultimate pre-season friendly, with the latter captaining the side for the evening.

Despite controlling possession in the opening stages, it was the hosts who took an early lead when a Joseph Mills driven cross fell to former Robin Shawn McCoulsy, who made no mistake from six-yards.

The Green Army went close to doubling their advantage when George Williams rounded the onrushing Bentley, but Kalas was alert to the danger and produced a sliding goalline clearance.

Lee Johnson’s men grew into the encounter and midway through the first half, Lewis Thomas was forced to make his first notable save as he got down low to his left to push Rowe’s driven effort beyond his near post.

From the resultant corner, Niclas Eliasson’s quick footwork released Andi Weimann into the area and having reached the byline, the Austrian pulled the ball across the face of goal but no red shirt was able to get the necessary touch.

Having defended stoutly for large periods, McCoulsky doubled his and Rovers’ tally two minutes from the break when he curled a right-footed shot into the far corner from distance.

However, City pulled a goal back within a minute of the restart as Brownhill’s deflected effort trickled over the line after being fumbled by Thomas, which signaled the break.

The referee waved away Weimann’s penalty appeal soon after half-time before Rovers added to the goals. Aaron Collions was the quickest to react to McCoulsky’s blocked strike inside the area as he calmly guided the ball into the bottom corner.

Tommy Rowe made way for Saikou Janneh in the 63rd minute in City’s only switch of the match, and the substitute almost made an instant impact, but he was unable to keep his header on target following an inviting delivery from Liam Walsh.

Janneh continued to look lively and having gone down in the area, the referee showed little hesitation in pointing to the spot. Weimann stepped up to the spot-kick and sent substitute goalkeeper Adam Smith the wrong way.

With momentum in their stride, City went close to leveling the scores on two occasions, but Janneh and Weimann both struck narrowly wide.

The energetic Szmodics then produced an excellent turn in pace three minutes from time to latch on to Janneh’s flick on, before slotting the ball beneath Smith.

Roared on by 1,461 travelling supporters, Adam Webster completed secured victory with a spectacular curling effort into the far corner, beating the helpless shotstopper.

City conclude their pre-season calendar on Saturday when they welcome Crystal Palace to Ashton Gate (July 27th, 3pm KO) before hosting Leeds United in the season opener (August 4th, 4.30pm KO).

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