After a mixed September City would be hoping October would be different and help mount a play off place.
Rotherham United (A)
City travelled away to Rotherham hoping to build on the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. It The hosts started the better of the two, breaking down City’s defence on more than one occasion. It looked to be a tough game from the off and if City were to come away with any points they needed to be clinical. For much of the first half it was all Rotherham, the danger coming from the wings with teasing balls into the box, but luckily for City they couldn’t finish. City did have chances and would be disappointed not to be ahead after Josh Brownhill’s first time cross was volleyed in by Famara Diédhiou; only to be ruled out for offside.
After the restart both teams had eyes for goal, it was the hosts that came closest. Smith heading his effort over the bar. Watkins and Taylor were brought on to add a much needed attacking presence. Not long after the chances kept coming, Diedhiou’s effort saved calmly by the keeper, then doing well to tip Watkins low driven effort away.
Watkins would again come close after having nearly two stabs at goal, his first shot not getting enough power; before the ball rebounded back to him he looked certain to score but he couldn’t get his header away. It was the same story for City as the game finished 0-0, crucial chances not taken and a disappointing result against a side who are predicted for relegation.
Sheffield Wednesday (H)
Back at BS3 City hosted Sheffield Wednesday in the hopes of an improved performance from their drab 0-0 draw with Rotherham United. Right from kick off it looked to be an open game with both sides squandering golden opportunities. Sheffield Wednesday first coming close; Adam Reach played through one on one with the keeper, prompting Maenpaa to come off his line and deal with it. City then began to bombard the Wednesday half and should of been 2-0 up in as many minutes. First Famara Diedhiou found himself isolated eight yards out only to be denied by a fantastic save from the Wednesday keeper. Then Lloyd Kelly’s angled effort looked to be in only to be denied by the far post. Adam Reach had been hot on everyone’s lips in the last few weeks with his speculative efforts, he nearly did it again just before half time; Maenpaa reacting well to clear wide.
After the restart it was Wednesday who started on top, Barry Bannan who had been making a nuisance all game saw his clever chipped effort saved by Maenpaa. City did grow into the game and were close to going ahead if not for a key intereception from Jay Silva’s cross. It was from this interception the owls countered, Barry Bannan’s cross field ball controlled well Joao who did well to out muscle Nathan Baker and finish past the keeper. Minutes later the visitors doubled their lead, Joao with his second of the game after receiving the ball in the box the Portuguese forward side stepped his man and smashed his effort past the helpless Maenpaa.
There was hope for City after Callum O’Dowda was fouled in the box the referee awarded a penalty to which Matty Taylor calmly finished, 2-1. From this point on it was all City as they looked to pull things level, but for all their pressure it would not prevail as the full time whistle blew. A 2-1 defeat.
City made the two hour journey up the M4 to fellow play off hopefuls Brentford. It would be a first managerial game for Thomas Frank in charge of the bees after Dean Smith’s departure to Aston Villa. It would also be a league debut for young City keeper Max O’Leary after Nikki Maenpaa was sidelined and Frank Fielding ill to play.
Brentford started brightlty and should of gone ahead, top-scorer Neal Maupay unable to tap home from close range. It was again the home side coming closest, this time Romaine Sawyers drilled effort inches wide from O’Leary’s goal. The hosts were and on top and a goal was soon imminent, to make things worse Nathan Baker was forced off after just 20 minutes due to a head injury; Jay Da Silva was subbed on.
The Robins were suddenly growing into the game and had much more possession in their counter-parts half. City were getting chances and finally broke the deadlock, or so they thought. City were adjudged offside and the goal was ruled out. O’Leary was forced into a smart save shortly after, Ollie Watkins with a strong effort before Maupay’s rebound sailed over the crossbar. Winger Eliasson looked lively for City keeping up the good form that has brought him many fans this season. He was involved this time after his inswigning cross was headed home by Matty Taylor, but again it was ruled out for offside. Just before half time Brentford would have one more go, a Sawyers long-range free kick prompting a fine diving save from the young o’Leary and leave the fans amazed. Half time 0-0.
Second half was much of the same, Brentford had chances but were being kept out by some fantastic saves from O’Leary. The game was flipped on its head after Mepham was red carded after a second booking offence for bringing down the surging Eliasson. It was now City on top and Brentford had to be alert. Brentford should of gone ahead after Ollie Watkins was denied by the woodwork. The game was open throughout and going into the final ten minutes it was anyone’s game.
It would be City who would clinch the victory. A dogged affair from both sides really showed the desire to win, but City’s fighting attitude paid off as Jay Da’Silva’s cross found the unmarked Eliasson who volleyed home in front of the travelling fans to spark wild celebrations. Full time Brentford 0- Bristol City 1. It was City’s first win at Griffin Park since 2009.
Hull City (H)
After a last gap victory on Saturday secured a 1-0 win over Brentford spirits were high for City. A win here could see them climb into the play off places and even touching distance from the automatics. Hull have had a poor start to the season and find themselves in and amongst relegation.
It was Hull that started, less than a minute gone and they could of been in front albeit a magnificent save from young keeper Max O’Leary. It set the tone for the game. City did have their chances, first Niclas Eliasson’s trickery beating two Hull players before his curling effort was palmed away to Diédhiou. The striker not able to follow up on the rebound. Josh Brownhill then saw his effort from outside the penalty area ricochet off the post. Although City did dominate the first half they looked poor on the ball not being able to string there passing play together under constant pressure from Hull. Half time 0-0.
Second half things started brightly for City, they got much more of the ball and certainly played with purpose. It was Hull who came closest, Tommy Elphick heading inches wide from a corner. Marlon Pack nearly put City in front with a long range driven effort, the keeper doing well to react. City grew more and more into the game and it looked to swing in the home sides favour.
Matty Taylor was brought on with 10 minutes left and already looked lively. With seven additonal minutes added on City pressed for a winner. With 3 minutes gone City found it. The lively Taylor bursting forward and releasing a firm shot for keeper Marshall to palm away, but only as far as the pouncing Diedhiou who headed home past the recovering Hull defender. Full time 1-0 City. A vital win and another last minute winner!
Stoke City (H)
A packed out Ashton Gate saw City host newly relegated Stoke City. Stoke have surprised many this season struggling to adjust to life in the Championship. City would be hoping to make it three wins in a row and climb further up the table into the play off places.
The game was flat from the off but both sides had chances. First Famara Diedhou’s shot saved comfortably by Jack Butland before Tom Ince’s volleyed effort was dragged wide. City came closest after Diedhou’s header was denied by the upright. Minutes later it was the visitors that were ahead. Darren Fletcher reacting quickest to a loose ball in the air and volleying home from close distance. Stoke showed their class after this, they had a lot of pace and were hard to stop on the counter, fortunately for City they couldn’t capitalise on their efforts as the first half finished Bristol City 0 – 1 Stoke City.
Second half a much needed performance was needed, the midfield looked slow at times and City were struggling to make passes. Lee Johnson opted for a change and Liam Walsh was brought on, Walsh added a clear attacking threat and very nearly put City ahead after his long range effort was fumbled by the England keeper before clutching the ball to stop it going over the line. City were on top and the chances kept coming, Jack Hunts low cross cleared away by the Stoke defence to prevent Walsh from getting a foot on it.
The onslaught continued and again City would be denied by the woodwork. Diedhou’s header crashing off the crossbar before Marlon Packs effort was blocked in the goalmouth scramble that followed. In the closing stages Butland proved why he was England keeper, two fine close range saves prevented City getting an equaliser. First Marlon Packs headed effort was saved followed by Eliassson’s effort inside the penalty area. There was to be no late goal this time around, it finished Bristol City 0 – Stoke City 1. A frustrating game for City but a much improved second half, if Butland was not in goal it would have been a certain draw.
An overall good month for City, a poor start away to Rotherham was not the ideal start, these are the games they must be winning if they have any chance of finishing in the play off places. A couple of last minute winners and an away victory at Brentford in 9 years is certainly a positive, a draw against Stoke would definitely of been deserved and that could of affected things going into the next month.