Bristol City vs Birmingham City. Sky Bet Championship.
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at Ashton Gate
Friday 7 February 2020 22:48, UK
Bristol City passed up the chance to move third in the Sky Bet Championship table as their four-match winning streak came to a close with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham at Ashton Gate.
The Robins got off to the perfect start when Jamie Paterson capitalised on a defensive error to slot the opener (1), but Scott Hogan's second goal in as many games (23) restored parity for Pep Clotet's men.
An unfortunate own-goal from Andreas Weimann handed the Blues the lead for the first time (30), and with the hosts unable to register more than two shots on target across the 90 minutes, Lukas Jutkiewicz sealed victory with his 100th club career goal in stoppage-time (90+2).
Despite defeat, City remain occupants of the final play-off place after their ninth defeat of the season, while Birmingham move into a comfortable 14th as they reach the 40-point mark.
City's last four league games had ended with both victory and a clean sheet, so it was little surprise they edged ahead after less than a minute, when Paterson seized upon a careless back-pass from Marc Roberts, rounded Lee Camp and found the back of the net.
Initially they applied the pressure to try and force a valuable second, but Birmingham recovered well and four minutes after Jude Bellingham had a shot cleared off the line, Hogan pounced from three yards out after Jeremie Bela's shot was beaten away by Robins goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
On the half-hour the visitors were in the driving seat, thanks to another avoidable goal. Bellingham floated a tempting cross from the edge of the area towards the penalty spot where Weimann connected with it, but instead of turning it over the crossbar, he glanced past his own stopper.
The number of chances, perhaps predictably, decreased after the break but Lee Johnson introduced Nahki Wells after 58 minutes to try to force something and there was a clear lift from the crowd in the immediate aftermath.
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson stuck with the same starting 11 that beat QPR 1-0 last time out, meaning new signing Nahki Wells was forced to wait to make his full debut for the club. Meanwhile, Pep Clotet made six changes after Birmingham beat Coventry in midweek to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Harlee Dean dropped to the bench, while Lukas Jutkiewicz and Scott Hogan started in attack.
Lee Johnson's men best chance to equalise didn't come until the final 10 minutes, though, when Famara Diedhiou chested down Ashley Williams' chipped pass and spooned a shot over the top of the bar with his outstretched right boot.
But Jutkiewicz had the final say in stoppage-time when he tracked a long ball upfield, took the ball past Filip Benkovic and clipped a cool, left-footed effort past Bentley to seal the comfortable victory.
Engaged in a battle with Bristol City skipper Korey Smith throughout the 90 minutes, Gardner played an important role in limiting the visitors' chances with a rugged performance in the centre of the Blues' midfield.
Bristol City's Lee Johnson: "I'm certainly disappointed. I think it's an opportunity missed, of course, it's three points. I thought after a great start it was a good opportunity then to keep the hammer down and try and be strong. I just felt the 25-30 minutes after the goal, we were too stretched due to their quality and strength, but also a lot of poor decisions and a lack of football arrogance.
"We didn't defend well and that gives the opposition a platform to go and build on to go and be strong. At half-time we're suddenly chasing the game from a very good position and a really fast start and second half we huffed and we puffed…but didn't really do a lot."
Birmingham's Pep Clotet: "First of all, the resilience that the team is showing game after game. The start was very difficult because we conceded that mistake that made it tough for us from the beginning. After the second minute, I thought the team was superb, not only mentally but tactically because we managed to completely lock out Bristol.
"We managed to play to our strengths, maximise their weaknesses and we scored three against a team that haven't conceded in the last four games. Tactically and mentally it was very good today."
Bristol City face Derby at Pride Park on Wednesday evening - live on Sky Sports Action - while Birmingham travel to Barnsley on Tuesday - live on Sky Sports Football Red Button. Both fixtures get under way at 7.45pm.