Bristol City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sky Bet Championship.
Monday 10 April 2017 12:12, UK
Tammy Abraham took his goal tally for the season to 24 as Bristol City eased their Championship relegation fears with a 3-1 victory over Wolves at Ashton Gate.
The hosts took a 33rd-minute lead when Jamie Paterson exchanged passes with Matt Taylor before curling an exquisite right-footed shot past Andy Lonergan from just outside the box.
It was 2-0 six minutes later when recalled right-back Mark Little was brought down by Matt Doherty as he burst into the penalty area and Chelsea loanee Abraham sent Lonergan the wrong way with a low right-footed spot-kick.
Abraham grabbed his second four minutes after the break with a clever flick from Korey Smith's low cross and Ashton Gate was rocking.
Wolves, who arrived on a five-match winning streak in the Championship, pulled one back on 78 minutes when a shot from Lee Evans was deflected into the path of substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, who beat Fielding from close range. But City held out with few alarms to move four points clear of the relegation zone with five matches remaining.
It might have been a different story if Wolves had capitalised on a positive start to the game. Paul Lambert's men should have gone in front on nine minutes when a through-ball from Morgan Gibbs-White sent Nouha Dicko clear down the middle.
A goal looked certain, but City goalkeeper Frank Fielding advanced to meet the striker and spread himself to make a hugely important save.
Wolves midfielder Dave Edwards was booked for a foul on Paterson shortly before the opening goal as City began to threaten.
Head coach Lee Johnson had set his team out in a 4-4-2 formation, with Taylor making a rare start alongside top scorer Abraham. But it was Paterson who offered the biggest threat in the opening 45 minutes, regularly having the confidence to take on opponents.
Wolves appeared shocked by the two-goal salvo and struggled to create openings in the remainder of the first half. They did threaten at the start of the second period either side of Abraham's goal, coming closest when a Ben Marshall chip drifted narrowly wide.
But after going three up City defended with great tenacity, led by dominant centre-back Aden Flint. Wolves did test Fielding with a couple of late shots from Andreas Weimann, but they were no more than routine stops in front of the massed ranks of more than 2,500 travelling supporters.
Before the game City owner Steve Lansdown made it clear that, despite the clamour on social media for change, Johnson would remain in charge next season if he keeps the club in the Championship.
Bristol City boss Lee Johnson:
"Tammy really cares. He actually apologises to me when he plays poorly, which says a lot about his maturity and character. I love him to bits and enjoy working with him. It has been a tough learning experience for him in the Championship this season against a lot of tough defenders.
"His finish for his second goal said everything about him. Most of his goals come from close range because his movement is so good. After conceding five at Preston, I needed to pick players I could trust today and the reaction was just as I had hoped. We had energy about us and did the basics well.
"The job is far from done, but I have never doubted our ability to stay in the Championship."
Wolves boss Paul Lambert:
"We fell below the high standards we have set and when that happens in the Championship you get beaten. It would have been interesting had Nouha scored early on because after Bristol's result at Preston their crowd might have turned on them.
"But after that they won the midfield battles, were better at both ends of the park and got the breaks. I am not going to have a go at the players because they have been brilliant in recent games.
"All good things come to an end, but we are certainly not going to pretend our season is over. We have six games left and it is important that we look to win as many as possible."