Fielding Could Return At Wolves
Posted: Wednesday, December 21st 2016
Monday, December 26th 2016
Bristol City’s dismal record at Molineux was extended as a late penalty condemned Lee Johnson’s men to defeat in a game they led at half-time.
Falling behind to Dave Edwards’ header inside three minutes, the visitors struck back through quick-fire goals from Tammy Abraham and Aden Flint late in the first period.
But Helder Costa equalised with a fine volley before the hour and Ivan Cavaleiro’s 84th-minute penalty after Flint was penalised for handball proved decisive.
Johnson was able to recall Frank Fielding after the keeper overcame the rib injury that kept him out of the home defeat to Preston North End last time out.
Elsewhere, Josh Brownhill made his first start since October 18th at the expense of Gary O’Neil, who was sidelined by a calf problem.
City’s record at Molineux is notoriously poor – no wins in their last 20 visits stretching back to 1931 – and the omens were not looking good when Wolves raced into an early lead.
When a long ball forward skimmed off the head of Hordur Magnusson, the hosts were awarded a soft corner from which Costa delivered to the near post and Edwards glanced in the opener.
City responded reasonably well. Brownhill picked out Lee Tomlin with a low corner, but for once the maverick midfielder missed his kick.
Then top scorer Abraham combined with Tomlin before drilling a shot straight at Carl Ikeme.
At the other end, Cavaleiro cut inside from the left flank and forced a low save from Fielding, who performed heroics to keep out Edwards’ follow-up from point-blank range, as the City number one instinctively stuck out a hand to prevent the goalscorer doubling his tally.
Cavaleiro was Wolves’ chief danger man with his willingness to run with the ball at every opportunity.
But City were starting to look more of a threat and drew level in the 38th minute.
With Tomlin temporarily stationing himself on the right, he floated a perfectly-weighted pass over the Wolves defence for Abraham to chase.
When the striker checked inside, he bought himself time and space to bury a confident finish beyond the wrong-footed Ikeme.
Five minutes later, the game had been turned on its head when Flint rose highest from no more than six yards to nod Brownhill’s left-wing corner down into the ground and into the net.
City carried their positive moment into the start of the second half, forcing a flurry of early corners.
After Joe Bryan delivered a teasing low cross from the left that ran all the way across the six-yard box, Connor Coady showed his displeasure with a crunching tackle on Bobby Reid, writing his name into the book in the process.
But Wolves had the backing of a big crowd in excess of 24,000 who were firmly behind their team again when Costa struck the equaliser 12 minutes into the second period.
It was a goal of great quality, as Coady hung the ball up to the far post where Costa connected sweetly on the run with a crisp low volley that sped past Fielding.
By the time Johnson made a double substitution on 65 minutes, his side were on the back foot.
Mark Little and Callum O’Dowda gave a new look to the City right, with Adam Matthews and Reid the pair sacrificed.
Wolves soon came close to retaking the lead when Matt Doherty skipped inside and powered a shot against Fielding’s near post that bounced back into play.
Having already intercepted a dangerous low cross from Nouha Dicko, Flint had to make an even more important block to deny Dicko’s replacement Joe Mason.
With ten minutes to go, Edwards had his sights set on a replica of his early opener when he helped on another Costa corner, but this time Fielding was on hand with a brilliant tip over the bar.
Wolves had enjoyed the better of the second half, but City looked set to at least leave with the Black Country with a point until Flint was penalised for handball six minutes from time.
The defender was so close to Mason there was little he could do to prevent it, but the striker chipped the ball against his hand and, after a long period of deliberation, referee James Adcock pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Cavaleiro to score with an inch-perfect penalty into the top corner that left Fielding no chance despite diving the right way.
A late City onslaught ensued, culminating in a late scramble in which Johnson was convinced his team had equalised, only for Adcock to blow his whistle for full time rather than an equaliser as Wolves cleared from their own goal line.
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