Jonathan Grounds nets Birmingham’s fourth against Bristol City
CLAYTON DONALDSON showed it won’t just be him having sleepless nights after celebrating his new arrival with a first-half hat-trick.
Opposition defenders can expect their own share of nightmares facing the goal-maker turned goal-taker who effectively clinched this six-goal thriller within the first 40 minutes, and just three weeks after the birth of his son.
Adventurous Bristol City made a real game of it with two Jonathan Kodjia goals in either half before Jonathan Grounds settled any home nerves with a late header.
“Clayton has four assists this season and contributes a lot more than his goals,” said Blues boss Gary Rowett.
“Maybe if he has another barren spell he should have another baby.
“Paul Caddis is our regular penalty taker so I wasn’t too happy when Clayton grabbed the ball – I was happier when I saw it go in.
“Fans are getting great value for money but I’d like to be a little more boring and win three or four-nil.We can still get better and I was disappointed with their two goals.”
Donaldson hid the ball under his shirt to lay claim to it after his treble – his first goals of the season – but had plenty of competition for top billing.
Jon Toral was a fleet-footed, quickthinking menace who lured referee Mark Brown into his most dubious decision when awarding a crucial penalty against Aaron Wilbraham on 40 minutes. The award was very much of the modern variety as the attacking player, at best, invited the challenge just when the visitors were threatening to get back into the contest.
Demarai Gray was impressive, too, as he laid on the game’s first goal in the tenth minute with a superb driven cross that was intelligently squared across goal by David Cotterill for Donaldson to snaffle from point-blank range.
But Cotterill, very narrowly, was man of the match. The wide man gets better and better. There was rarely a reason to beat his marker as he regularly sent over teasing crosses that tormented the life out of City’s defence.
The visitors were too wide open for their own comfort as they fell two goals behind within the opening 20 minutes. Toral drove into the box for Donaldson to get his outstretched toe to the ball and guide it into the corner.
Bristol City, out of the blue, got back into the game when a fine move involving Luke Ayling and Joe Bryan enabled Kodjia to score.
When Marlon Pack smacked a wellworked free-kick against the outside of a post the battle was well and truly joined only for Donaldson’s soft penalty to re-establish blue water by the break.
The second half provided more of the same. Kodjia acrobatically hauled the visitors back to 3-2 after Aden Flint hooked the ball into the box only for Grounds to clinch victory with a header from Cotterill’s corner.
“I’m frustrated because we created enough chances to win the game 6-4,” said Robins boss Steve Cotterill. “But we didn’t take them and I’m disappointed with some of our defending.
“Never in a million years was that a penalty. Actually, it should have been a booking for diving. The linesman was jogging up to the halfway line. “That came at a very crucial time for us – but for the width of a post we’d have just got back to 2-2.
“We won’t change our mentality. When we get it right, we’ll cause teams problems in this league.”
HAT-TRICK HERO: Clayton Donaldson scores the third goal for Birmingham