Cot­ter­ill’s frus­trated as City are held

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Tom Mas­ton

THERE are few oc­ca­sions when scor­ing three goals away from home leads to a man­ager be­moan­ing his side’s fin­ish­ing, but Bris­tol City boss Steve Cot­ter­ill ex­pects plenty from his ta­ble-top­ping side.

Two goals in four min­utes at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod gave the vis­i­tors a 3-1 lead over Fleet­wood Town, but Stephen Dob­bie’s late equaliser com­pleted a fine come­back for the hosts in what was a su­perb ad­vert for League One foot­ball.

Cot­ter­ill, whose side re­main un­beaten and five points clear of sec­ond-placed MK Dons, was left dis­ap­pointed after his side failed to take ad­van­tage of all the op­por­tu­ni­ties that came their way.

“We should have been 6-1 up at half-time,” he said.“We had six un­be­liev­able chances and the game’s dead and buried then. We are dis­ap­pointed with the first half in terms of us be­ing more ruth­less be­cause I think the game could have been over at half-time.

“We didn’t start the game very brightly and took us 20 min­utes to get into the game. By then we were a goal down which makes it more dif­fi­cult but I thought we re­cov­ered re­ally well in the first half.

“We then started the sec­ond half like a train to go 3-1 up, then all of a sud­den they pinch a goal from a game where we are mas­sively on top.

“Con­ced­ing goals like this has been un­like us this sea­son, but we keep the un­beaten record go­ing.”

The for­mer Burn­ley boss’ frus­tra­tion was not with­out rea­son, as his side cre­ated plenty dur­ing an ex­tremely open first half.

Kieran Agard wasted two glo­ri­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties as he al­lowed Chris Maxwell to push the ball away from him as he shaped to shoot, be­fore just fail­ing to make con­tact with a Mark Lit­tle cross.

But it was the hosts who took the lead as Josh Mor­ris showed great tech­nique to fire in Fleet­wood’s first league goal in 299 min­utes of foot­ball from the edge of the box after Dob­bie’s shot was blocked by Der­ick Wil­liams.

The lead­ers were soon level, though, as Agard even­tu­ally found the back of the net as he slid in at the near post to con­vert the ex­cel­lent Joe Bryan’s low left-wing cross.

Aaron Wil­bra­ham had an ef­fort ruled out for off­side on the brink of half-time, though the vis­it­ing sup­port­ers from Glouces­ter­shire didn’t have to wait too long to cel­e­brate as Agard turned home his sec­ond from close range fol­low­ing a goal­mouth scram­ble.

Wil­bra­ham soon net­ted his eighth of the sea­son after an er­ror from Nathan Pond, and de­spite there be­ing 39 min­utes left the game seemed up for the hosts.

Gra­ham Alexan­der threw on top goalscorer Jamie Proc­tor on the hour mark, and the striker made an im­me­di­ate im­pact seconds later as he headed in Mor­ris’ cross be­fore Frank Field­ing made two fine saves to deny Dob­bie and Conor McLaugh­lin.

And though the Robins looked rel­a­tively com­fort­able in de­fence, their re­sis­tance was bro­ken as Dob­bie curled in a fine ef­fort from the edge of the area to res­cue a point.

Alexan­der him­self was dis­ap­pointed with the way his side con­ceded three soft goals, though was quick to praise the character of his play­ers as they fought their way back to level.

“We shot our­selves in the foot at the start of the sec­ond half with two re­ally sloppy and cheap goals against us that put us on the back foot against a very good team who will, I would guess, be in the top two at the end of the sea­son,” he said.

“We have to go back quite a few months to see when we were that sloppy with goals. I don’t think there was any great skill in­volved, just ba­sic goals where we had chances to clear all three.

“The character shown by our play­ers was un­be­liev­able and they de­served to get back in the game. I thought the qual­ity of our goals were fan­tas­tic.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE: Kieran Agard cel­e­brates putting his side two goals ahead

LAST-GASP LEV­ELLER: Fleet­wood’s Stephen Dob­bie makes it 3-3



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