RAMS RE­BUFFED THANKS TO FRANK Robins hang on and net lev­eller

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

BRIS­TOL City goal­keeper Frank Field­ing thwarted his old club with a sec­ond-half su­per­show on his re­call to the team.

Hav­ing spent most of the year re­cov­er­ing from in­jury, the for­mer Derby goal­keeper made one-on-one saves from James Wil­son, Matej Vy­dra and sub­sti­tute Dar­ren Bent, with his team com­mit­ted to at­tack in the sec­ond half.

And, with Derby un­able to build on the first-half lead sup­plied by Ikechi Anya, City sub­sti­tute Aaron Wil­bra­ham con­verted Bobby Reid’s low cross deep into stop­page time to earn an un­likely point.

Field­ing’s ef­forts did not go un­ap­pre­ci­ated by his team-mates as Robins head coach Lee John­son re­vealed af­ter­wards.

He said: “Some­one said well done to Frank in the dress­ing room af­ter­wards and there was a spon­ta­neous round of ap­plause from the play­ers.

“They all love him be­cause he is so sup­port­ive even when things are not go­ing well for him per­son­ally. He has had a dif­fi­cult year re­cov­er­ing from in­jury, but looked back to his best.

“I could not be more pleased for him. Richard O’Donnell has done great for us, but I felt that the time was right for a change in goal.

“Aaron Wil­bra­ham is another player the whole squad re­spect. He po­lices the dress­ing room with his stature and re­mains an im­por­tant mem­ber of the squad.

“His equaliser was so im­por­tant be­cause had we lost it might have been re­garded as a mini-slump. The play­ers looked a bit leggy af­ter a tough week but kept go­ing to the very end.”

Derby took a 44th-minute lead when Aden Flint’s weak header back­wards al­lowed Anya to lift the ball over the stranded Field­ing.

It has not been a great pe­riod for the big cen­tre-half, who con­ceded an own-goal in the pre­vi­ous week­end’s 2-2 draw at Rother­ham.

John­son said: “Aden is a great lad and will come again. He needs to get back to ba­sics and get his mind right.”

Lee Tom­lin rocked the cross­bar with a late vol­ley as City threw even Flint for­ward and ap­plied heavy late pres­sure.

But Derby should have been home and dry by then and boss Nigel Pear­son had good cause to feel frus­trated.

He said: “The re­al­ity is that it is a very big op­por­tu­nity lost for us. They weren’t halfchances we cre­ated, but very clear ones and we have spurned them at 1-0 up.

“When that hap­pens it just takes a lucky break or a bit of good play with the op­po­si­tion throw­ing ex­tra men for­ward and we paid the penalty.

“You could see by the play­ers’ re­ac­tion at full-time, how dis­ap­pointed they were. We con­tinue to stut­ter as a di­rect re­sult of not con­vert­ing the chances we are mak­ing.

“We have good play­ers and to be fair to the lads we have had some very good per­for­mances over the last few games.

“It wasn’t the re­sult we wanted, but you can’t spend too much time beat­ing your­selves up about it. The chances fell to the play­ers I would have wanted them to fall to.”

Anya fell heav­ily on his chest when scor­ing Derby’s goal and was sub­sti­tuted in the sec­ond half, while City lost wing-back Joe Bryan to in­jury af­ter half an hour.

It was a be­low-par dis­play by the hosts and Derby should have pun­ished them. But it was Field­ing’s day.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

EQUALISER: Aaron Wil­bra­ham nets Bris­tol City’s goal Inset: Hor­dur Mag­nus­son fires in a free-kick


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