On a surprising snowy day in BS3 City started the month at home to Sheffield Wednesday hoping to return to winning ways, “The Owls” had surprised may this season with their poor season occupying the lower half of the table for much of the season.
It was a game in which City controlled from the off, playing their quick free flowing football that has been synonymous with them. On 14 minutes City broke the deadlock, a quick one-two between Reid and Brownhill before the Bristolian finished in the inside post. Sheffield Wednesday came close to finding an equaliser but Atdhe Nuhiu squandered his chance from 12 yards out. Directly from this City went up the other end and scored, Reid again finding the back of the net. More misery was to be piled onto the visitors as City scored again 2 minutes before the interval ; Josh Brownhill with a precise finish to the inside post after being teed up by Jamie Paterson’s back heel.
Second half there was to be no fightback from Wednesday and when city were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute there was no stopping Reid to be denied his first career hat-trick and help secure a vital win in City’s play off push.
Midweek action City faced Preston North End away in a crucial play off clash, hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s 5-0 thrashing (A result which actually seemed to kick off city’s relegation fight). It was a cagey affair from the off both teams having key chances which should of been finished better, it took only 20 minutes to find the breakthrough; Hordur Magnusson clearing his lines rather than letting in run through to keeper Frank Fielding, his scuffed clearance falling straight to Browne who spotted fielding of his line and finished precisely. 1-0 Preston.
Second half action City played with much more attacking intent, they needed a result from this game, they were rewarded in the 67th minute when Reid’s in swinging cross was met by Diedhiou with a flashing header to even things up. City attacked with high pressure and ultimately got caught out for Preston’s eventual winner. It came only two minutes from the equaliser, Korey Smiths up field pressure caught out by the Preston midfield who teed up Maguire to calmly finish past Fielding and put the hosts in front. City huffed and puffed but couldn’t find another goal, the night only got worse for City when Aden Flint was given his marching orders after raising an arm to former teammate Greg Cunningham after being provoked.
Away from home City played Burton Albion a club who were struggling to stay up, on paper it looked to be an easy City victory but it did not turn out that way at all. It was a tripped I attended myself and can say it was also one of the worst away performances I’ve seen. City started poorly with no attacking options, it was Burton who penetrated the goal and should of gone in front if they had a striker that could finish. City did finally have a chance working it down the left hand side from Paterson but he could not put his shot on target.
The second half was not much better, Burton again having the better chances only to be denied by a fantastic save from keeper Frank Fielding. The game was crying out for width as that is where City looked to create their chances, however Lee Johnson opted for a bigger presence up top; Lois Diony and Milan Djuric being brought on. The subs had little affect and the game finished 0-0. It was a game in which City dropped two valuable points against a side they should easily be beating, in all honesty it felt like a defeat.
Another snowy day in BS3 City hosted Ipswich Town hoping to rectify there poor performance away. It was a game of two halves, City dominated play but couldn’t break through Ipswich’s stubborn defence. Ipswich should have really gone in front, their striker Martin Waghorn coming close and making himself a real nuisance. Second half City was much more better, breaking through the Ipswich defence much easier, this time just struggling to finish. Milan Djuric was brought on with 56 minutes gone hoping to give a much needed presence in the air, he certainly did. Youngster Lloyd Kelly’s delightful cross from the left finding Djuric who finished past the keeper with a crisp header. City 1-0. It was the only goal of the game as city grinded out a key win to help maintain their play off place.
For the final game of the month City played away to Barnsley. The home side started brightly having key chances from the off. It took only seven minutes for them to find the breakthrough. George Moncur’s corner met by Kieffer Moore who rose highest to head home the ball and put the hosts ahead. City could of got level, Josh Brownhill’s speculative effort saved. City did pull one back with a speculative effort, this time Famara Diedhiou, cutting inside he released a curling effort to find the top corner and bring City level.
Barnsley started the second half much quicker than City and should of gone in front, Frank Fielding producing some fantastic saves to deny the hosts. His heroics were short lived though as Barnsley eventually found a breakthrough; Kiefer Moore’s low cross met by the onrushing Potts to give the hosts a well earned lead. But City were not to lose this game and in the first minute of injury time found an equaliser, Josh Brownhill guiding a looping header into the back of the net and score against his former employers. The game finished 2-2 and helped keep City’s play off hopes alive.