Bristol City bounced back from a 2-0 loss at QPR to beat a wasteful Birmingham City 3-0 away thanks to goals from Kasey Palmer, Antoine Semenyo and Callum O’Dowda. The Robins dominated the game but it could have been a different story had Scott Hogan’s efforts gone in instead of hitting the woodwork.
The home side made four changes following their 1-0 defeat to high flying Barnsley, with Alen Halilovic, Ivan Sanchez, Jeremie Bela and Maxime Colin all coming into the side. Lukas Jutkiewicz, Gary Gardener, Yan Valery and George Friend all were dropped to the bench.
The Robins also fielded a changed side after their 2-0 loss to QPR, with Henri Lansbury, Antoine Semenyo and Han-Noah Massengo coming in to replace Zak Vyner, Tyreeq Bakinson and Ádám Nagy.
Bristol had the first chance of the game and it really should have been put away. The Robins fired a long ball into Birmingham’s box and defender Harlee Dean completely missed his header, allowing Diedhou clean through on goal, however the striker rushed his shot and fired his volley miles over the crossbar.
The away side didn’t let up on their early pressure and created another chance minutes later after some great hold up play from Diedhou allowed Semenyo to run into the box and pull a great ball across goal. However, no Bristol players were there to finish off the move.
Birmingham retaliated and came inches away from opening the scoring after a pinpoint ball found Bela wide open on the left wing. The 27-year-old dragged his shot across goal the goal mouth and found Scott Hogan arriving late at the back post but the Irish international crashed his effort off the post from close range.
The Blue continued to grow into the game but it was Bristol who had the next chance after Semenyo was taken down on the edge of the box in the 22nd minute. Nahki Wells stepped up to take the freekick and had scored one against Millwall in a 3-0 FA cup win but the 30-year-old blasted it straight into the wall.
Despite a dominant passage of play from Bristol, the Blues came inches away from opening the scoring again through Hogan after the 27-year-old leaped high to meet Bela’s cross but his effort clipped the post for a second time.
30 - Past the midway point in this first period, not a lot of chances but a very open game so far. A lot of the match being played in the final third of either end.
Birmingham were then made to rue their missed chances in the 36th minute when Kasey Palmer broke through the Blues defence and slotted his effort calmly past Neil Etheridge into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0 to Bristol City. The strike was the 29th goal that Aitor Karanka’s Blue’s had conceded at home this season, more than any other club in the Championship.
The Robins nearly doubled their lead in extra time at the end of the first half, when Semenyo’s shot from outside of the box took a nasty deflection which had the keeper scrabbling back across his goal line. But luckily for Etheridge, the ball dribbled narrowly wide of the goal.
Bristol City came out from halftime looking for a second and their hunger gave them the first chance from an early corner. It was the goal scorer Palmer who took the corner and the 24-year-olds audacious effort curling caused Etheridge some concern as the Philippines International was forced to punch the ball clear.
Not long after, Birmingham made their first change of the game, bringing Jonathan Leko on for Ivan Sanchez.
Bristol’s dominance soon paid off in the 52nd minute after forcing a comical error from Etheridge. A poor back pass from Kristian Pederson left the Blues keeper under pressure which forced Etheridge into a rushed clearance. However, the 28-year-old fluffed his kick and fired it straight Bristol’s Semenyo and the deflection looped straight over the keeper and into an open goal to make it 2-0 to the Robins.
The second goal forced Birmingham into a triple substitution in a desperate attempt to try and recover the game. Alen Halilovic, Hogan and Colin all made way for Gardener, Jutkiewicz and Cosgrove respectively.
Bristol followed suit in the 76th minute when Callum O’Dowda came on for Nahki Wells and the substitute made an immediate impact scoring the Reds third goal after being played through on goal by Palmer. The 25-year-old made no mistake in slotting his effort into the bottom right corner with only his second touch of the ball to make it 3-0 to Bristol.
Super sub O’Dowda nearly set up a fourth for Bristol just minutes later after bringing down a superb ball just outside Birmingham’s box and finding Palmer wide open in the penalty area. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, Etheridge was down quickly to make a superb save to deny the player his second of the game.
Birmingham had a chance to pull one back in the 86th minute after Cosgrove whipped a great ball in to Jutkiewicz, but the former Burnley striker couldn’t sort his feet out quick enough and the ball just missed him. It just seemed to sum up Birmingham’s game.
The loss condemned Birmingham to a sixth loss in nine games and saw the Midlands side fail to put a six-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone. The win for Bristol see’s Nigel Pearson’s side move up one place into 12th.