NOUS OF FRASER THWARTS ROBINS

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Dave Good­er­ham

THEY might have ended Satur­day night rock bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship but Steve Cot­ter­ill be­lieves his Bristol City side is start­ing to come to terms with life in the sec­ond tier.

Un­der­stand­ably dis­ap­pointed af­ter his side con­ceded an 86th-minute equaliser at be­low-par Ip­swich, a more re­silient Robins were more than a match for a Trac­tor Boys team with real de­signs on another top-six fin­ish.

Both Cot­ter­ill and his op­po­site num­ber, Mick McCarthy, would have been pleased with how their re­spec­tive teams clawed their way back from los­ing po­si­tions to ul­ti­mately set­tle for a point that was just about the right re­sult.

A flat first-half gave way to a pul­sat­ing sec­ond with three goals in­side the first 15 min­utes and a late equaliser from Ip­swich’s star man, Ryan Fraser.

Sum­ming up a breath­less sec­ond half, Cot­ter­ill ad­mit­ted: “I think we should have won the game so I am a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed, to be hon­est.

“If you had said to me we would come to Ip­swich and get a point, I would have taken that. But once we went 2-1 up, we stopped play­ing and stopped pass­ing the ball.

“You do get more pun­ished in this league but we are def­i­nitely learn­ing. There is a tinge of dis­ap­point­ment as we have ended up bot­tom in the Cham­pi­onship.”

Last sea­son’s League One cham­pi­ons could, and prob­a­bly should, have taken the lead af­ter just four min­utes when Aaron Wil­bra­ham’s neat flick re­leased Jonathan Kod­jia but his sting­ing drive had the power – but not the pre­ci­sion – to beat Dean Gerken, who was able to make a fine re­ac­tion save.

Af­ter that, chances were few and far be­tween in a dull 45 min­utes.

Kod­jia flashed a shot just wide be­fore Aden Flint al­most scored an out­ra­geous own goal when he met Fraser’s cor­ner, but his pow­er­ful header at his own goal was pushed away by Frank Field­ing.

It was the only blot on Flint’s copy­book as he and As­ton Villa loa­nee Nathan Baker com­fort­ably nul­li­fied the threat of last sea­son’s Cham­pi­onship top scorer, Daryl Mur­phy.

A goal was needed to liven up the sec­ond half and it came just 45 sec­onds af­ter the restart.

Ip­swich full-back Jonas Knud­sen had greater suc­cess with his left boot than his long throw as his deep, prob­ing cross was pow­er­fully met by skip­per Luke Cham­bers.

But within ten hor­ri­ble min­utes, the home side found them­selves 2-1 down.

The first goal was for­tu­itous, Luke Free­man’s pow­der-puff shot tak­ing a de­flec­tion off Tommy Smith’s heel which just about wrong-footed Gerken.

Their sec­ond was more im­pres­sive as Kod­jia was al­lowed to pick up Wil­bra­ham’s pass in­side and race past the out-of-sorts Christophe Berra be­fore fir­ing the ball into the roof of the net.

Some de­gree of an on­slaught duly fol­lowed but Ip­swich had to wait un­til the 86th minute when Fraser grabbed an equaliser that his per­for­mance de­served.

McCarthy said: “They started well and we needed a fan­tas­tic save from Dean Gerken to keep us in it.

“But I changed our shape and I thought we were the bet­ter team in the first half. We start bril­liantly in the sec­ond-half but then the de­flec­tion was a real kick in the ging-gangs. It was a big slice of luck, though we should have done bet­ter to stop the shot.

“Their sec­ond goal was a good one from their point of view but de­fen­sively ap­palling. But I must ad­mire the re­sponse of my team for the way they got back in the game.”

STAR MAN ADEN FLINT Bristol

City

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