PRESSURE’S ON ADMITS BOSS NEIL
BRISTOL City boss Steve Cotterill was disappointed to not open up a seven-point gap on the relegation zone after his side battled to a goalless draw against drop-rivals Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
Kieran Agard rattled the crossbar early in the first half and Shola Ameobi was denied from the spot in the second.
But both sides provided evidence as to why they were right in the thick of a gloomy relegation dogfight.
“I think we deserved to win the game,” said Cotterill, whose side came into the game off the back of beating Wolves midweek.
“We were the better team over the 90 minutes and ours was a nailed on penalty – theirs wasn’t.
“We didn’t take our chances when we created as many as we created in the first half.
“The game was different in the second half. He brought two big strikers on and then went and played off the strikers.
“It was important to make the gap seven points. That’s how we look at it. We came to try and win the game.”
The visitors were denied a huge penalty claim inside four minutes when Mark Davies went in late on Luke Freeman following a short corner but referee Stuart Attwell waved away the protests.
Bolton’s back-line looked extremely nervy and when Agard charged down Prince-Desir Gouano’s clearance, he sent the ball looping over Ben Amos before it came crashing back off the crossbar. That proved to be the only spark of the first half as both sides struggled to get a grip on the scrappy encounter.
But two minutes after the restart Jonathan Kodjia burst down the right flank and cut the ball back to Agard.
But with the whole net to aim at the forward was left red-faced after completely missing the ball.
And one minute later the two frontmen combined again but this time it was Kodjia who failed to make sufficient contact on the low cross from the left.
Half-time substitute Gary Madine made an instant impact for the hosts as he drew a foul from Nathan Baker inside the box and Wanderers had a chance to take the lead from the spot on the 53rd minute.
But Ameobi, who had scored all of his previous ten career penalty kicks, was denied by Fielding down to his right before Gary Madine fired the rebound wide.
The Nigerian forward looked to make amends for the miss moments later as he danced past two players down the left and threaded Liam Feeney in on goal, but he was denied by a sprawling fingertip save by keeper Fielding.
Target-man Madine then headed wide twice following carbon-copy crosses from Feeney, before Kodjia cut in from the right and dragged a shot wide of the near-post at the other end.
Both sides smelt blood at the death but were unable to provide the clinical finish that was required to steal maximum points.
Bolton Wanderers manager Neil Lennon said: “We looked tentative and nervous first half and great second half.
“After the first five minutes of the second half I thought that it was all us.
“I didn’t see Bristol City causing us any problems and we had great chances to win the game – none more so than the penalty.
“Did they look like a team out there second half? Yes.
“Did they look like a team that wanted to win second half? Yes.
“My job is to consolidate this club in the Championship. There are 30 games to go and I still feel very confident that I'll do that. The pressure is on but we’re up to the challenge and we’re not getting down.”
PILEDRIVER: Bristol City striker Kieran Agard unleashes a powerful shot