Lead­ers City are shocked at home

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Latham

STEVE Cot­ter­ill re­acted de­fi­antly to a rare set­back for his League One lead­ers and in­sisted Bris­tol City will bounce back.

Two sec­ond-half goals from Matt Done and a third from strike part­ner Jamie Mur­phy saw Nigel Clough’s Sh­effield United re­cover from Matt Smith’s 13th goal of the sea­son to claim a hard-earned suc­cess.

And Cot­ter­ill had no com­plaints, even though he felt there was a sus­pi­cion of off­side about Done’s equaliser and a foul in the build-up to Mur­phy’s clincher.

He said: “It was Sh­effield United’s day and all the best to them.

“They have some very good play­ers and we knew how ca­pa­ble they were of hit­ting us on the counter-attack.

“Our play­ers are down in the dress­ing room, but now it is all about bounc­ing back quickly and I know they have the char­ac­ter and spirit to do just that.

“We have an­other home game against Peter­bor­ough United on Tues­day evening and the lads will be right up for that when it ar­rives.

“I think the match of­fi­cials could have been bet­ter, but you are al­ways go­ing to get set­backs over the course of a sea­son and we will take the de­feat on the chin.

“We ac­tu­ally played bet­ter in the sec­ond half and have ended up get­ting done on two counter-at­tacks. I made a pos­i­tive sub­sti­tu­tion at 1-1 to try and win the game and I have no re­grets about that be­cause that has been our at­ti­tude all sea­son.”

The dead­lock was bro­ken in a de­fence-dom­i­nated first half when Smith net­ted the 13th goal of his loan spell from Ful­ham to put the hosts in front on 41 min­utes.

The big striker eluded his marker to vol­ley a Luke Free­man cross from the left past Iain Turner from close range.

United equalised on 54 min­utes, Done forc­ing the ball home from al­most on the goalline af­ter sub­sti­tute Ja­son Holt’s shot had been par­ried by Frank Field­ing. And it was Done again on tar­get from barely a yard out as Mur­phy sup­plied a low ball in from the left on 77 min­utes.

Mur­phy com­pleted United’s im­pres­sive fight­back with a fine break­away goal five min­utes later, cut­ting in­side Der­rick Wil­liams to fire home af­ter Luke Ayling had lost pos­ses­sion in mid­field.

Clough sent Andy Gar­ner to do the post match press con­fer­ence and the coach ad­mit­ted there had been a few harsh words from the boss at half­time.

“We were not un­happy with the per­for­mance, but we had barely reg­is­tered a shot at goal,” said Gar­ner.

“There were two many high balls into their box, which were easy for their de­fend­ers to deal with. When we started de­liv­er­ing the ball hard and low the chances started com­ing.

“It has to rank as one of our best dis­plays of the sea­son be­cause Bris­tol City are a very good side, who will be up there go­ing for pro­mo­tion right to the end of the sea­son.

“To score three goals away from home against a team who don’t con- cede many was very sat­is­fy­ing and it was a very happy dress­ing room at the end of the game.

“We have pro­duced some ex­cel­lent dis­plays in cup games this sea­son, but we are now do­ing well in the League too and need to keep things go­ing.”

Smith’s goal was the only worth­while ef­fort by ei­ther side in a poor first half.

United lost Jose Bax­ter to in­jury af­ter only 24 min­utes, send­ing on Holt as re­place­ment.

The sec­ond half was more en­ter­tain­ing and Ben Har­ris had to block a 61st-minute shot from Jay Em­manuelThomas on the line to pre­vent City go­ing back in front.

Em­manuel-Thomas also shot wide be­fore Done’s first goal, which came af­ter manager Cot­ter­ill had sent on striker Kieran Agard for ex­pe­ri­enced mid­fielder Wade El­liott in an ef­fort to force a win against their pro­mo­tion ri­vals.

AG­O­NIS­ING: Bris­tol City’s Kieran Agard watches his ef­fort be­ing cleared from dan­ger


LEY Sh­ef­fUtd

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