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James Crawley


Posted Friday, July 19th 2019

Report: Sarasota Metropolis 0-6 Bristol City

City rounded off their pre-season trip in Florida with a 6-0 victory over USL League Two side Sarasota Metropolis.

Niclas Eliasson was a constant threat on the wings though it was a double from Marlon Pack which got City up and running in the first of three periods of play at the IMG Academy.

Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Sammie Szmodics all netted during the 30-minute set, before a third and final 45-minute run out when Matty Taylor rounded off the morning’s play.

Starting XI (two sets of 30 minutes): Bentley, Vyner, Kalas, Webster, Dasilva, Eliasson, Pack, Brownhill, Szmodics, Weimann, Diédhiou.

City created the first promising attack straight from kick-off with Famara Diédhiou mustering a header which was easily held by Owen Jack. Shortly after, Eliasson produced his first of many teasing crosses which Andreas Weimann was unable to steer home.

But City took the lead after six minutes with summer signing Sammie Szmodics playing his part. His sweeping ball found Eliasson on the far right who was able to produce another great delivery, which this time picked out the head of Marlon Pack and the on-field captain buried the ball into the Sarasota net.

Intelligent play from Szmodics helped in the build up to City’s second goal. His backheel to Dasilva allowed the left-back to get forward and his cross drew the keeper out. He misjudged its flight and Pack had the easy task of bundling the ball over the line to grab his and the team’s second goal of the day.

Sarasota soon broke the City defensive line but Lee Johnson’s men regathered themselves when a one-one-one situation looked to be on the cards. But the Robins had enjoyed plenty of possession and they were creating more chances back up the other end; only a diving stop from Jack turned away a fierce free kick from Pack, before Adam Webster got on the end of another Eliasson cross but couldn’t keep his header under the crossbar.

A short break followed though City soon regained their rhythm, with Brownhill intercepting a loose pass before picking out Szmodics to his left, but the midfielder’s shot was well blocked by the Sarasota shotstopper.

Sarasota Metropolis would have their moments to excite the crowd and Bentley had to be alert as the Florida side broke forward but the shot was well held by the Robins keeper.

Keeping himself around the box was Zak Vyner who saw a close-range header and low shot saved just minutes apart although Weimann would be the player to extend City’s lead. It came from another Eliasson cross and the Austrian forward headed in, before playing his part in the fourth goal. The keeper initially saved Weimann’s effort but the ball looked to be crossing the goalline, which Szmodics ensured with a tap-in.

It was 5-0 moments later, with City in full control under the Florida sun. Eliasson – who else? -  was involved once again, this time teasing his marker on the edge of the box. Although urged to shoot by the crowd, he decided to slip in Brownhill who was making the forward run, and the Robins midfielder slotted the ball into the far corner with a cool finish.

Second XI (45 minutes): Bentley, Hunt, Moore, Baker, Rowe, O’Dowda, Walsh, Bakinson, Paterson, Janneh, Semenyo.

Bentley remained between the sticks despite a flurry of changes for the start of the third period. City would waste a handful of half chances, although O’Dowda continued the theme of strong running down the Robins righthand side.

Sarasota still gave Johnson’s men something to think about and a dipping shot wouldn’t drop quickly enough, while Bentley had to stand up well to block a low strike minutes later.

More chances went begging when Sarasota stood firm to block a shot from Jamie Paterson, while Liam Walsh controlled the ball with an excellent first touch and tried his luck from distance only to narrowly miss the target.

Jojo Wollacott and Opi Edwards soon earned themselves some gametime, with Baker and Bentley replaced. Wollacott was kept quiet, while at the other end Saikou Janneh latched himself on to a lobbed through ball from Walsh, forcing the Sarasota keeper into the save.

More changes followed with Hakeeb Adelakun and Matty Taylor replacing O’Dowda and Semenyo before the game was out but while Taylor was denied with a low effort, he would grab his goal shortly before the full-time whistle. Edwards made a great run and squared the ball into the path of the striker, where Taylor slid in to round off the match.