The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

LEE JOHN­SON reck­oned he must have run over sev­eral black cats af­ter watch­ing his Bris­tol City team drop into the Cham­pi­onship rel­e­ga­tion zone.

The head coach spent a tense bat­tle “will­ing the ball into the net” only to see Lee Tom­lin strike the cross­bar early on and miss a sec­ond-half penalty, while Aaron Wil­bra­ham had a 45thminute goal dis­al­lowed.

John­son was left curs­ing his luck as some com­mit­ted Bur­ton de­fend­ing, in­clud­ing three goalline clear­ances, pro­duced a re­sult which heaped more pres­sure on his job.

But it would have been even worse if Lloyd Dyer had con­verted a su­perb chance for Bur­ton from close range in the sec­ond half.

“I ac­cept that they had one great op­por­tu­nity, but how we didn’t score is dif­fi­cult to work out,” said John­son.

“Lee Tom­lin reck­ons the ground gave way un­der him as he went to strike the penalty, and we scored a good goal just be­fore half-time only to have it ruled out.

“There were count­less other chances and clearly I have to stop run­ning over black cats.

“Noth­ing has changed as far as I am con­cerned and I will go ahead in pre­par­ing for Nor­wich City on Tues­day night.

“The fans were re­ally sup­port­ive and I un­der­stand their frus­tra­tion at the fi­nal whis­tle. The play­ers gave ev­ery­thing and we just needed a break in front of goal.”

Tom­lin blazed over from the spot on 65 min­utes af­ter John Mous­inho had been judged to have fouled Aden Flint in­side the box.

Four min­utes ear­lier Dyer had con­trived to miss from six yards when left with what looked an un­miss­able op­por­tu­nity by John Bray­ford’s low cross.

It was a can­di­date for miss of the sea­son as the mis­cued ef­fort rolled ag­o­nis­ingly past a post, to the as­ton­ish­ment of Bur­ton boss Nigel Clough.

He said: “Lloyd will have night­mares about that one. It was hard to see how he missed it. We had other op­por­tu­ni­ties and al­ways looked dan­ger­ous on the break. But I was also de­lighted with the way we de­fended.

“The play­ers put bod­ies on the line, which is the least we must do if we are to com­pete in the Cham­pi­onship.

“We may not be as good as some of the other teams, but there is noth­ing wrong with our spirit.

“I haven’t seen the penalty in­ci­dent again, but it looked harsh at the time. For a goal­less draw, the game cer­tainly didn’t lack in­ci­dent.”

City made a fast start and might have built a lead in the open­ing min­utes.

Tom­lin hit the cross­bar with a sec­ond-minute vol­ley from Wil­bra­ham’s flick-on and looked in the mood to tor­ment the Bur­ton de­fence.

As the vis­i­tors be­gan to grow into the game the dan­ger­ous Marvin Sordell’s ninth-minute shot brought a div­ing save from Fabian Giefer.

An­other Sordell ef­fort was tipped wide by Giefer on 25 min­utes, while a cross from the same player flashed across goal with no one able to get the fi­nal touch.

City thought they had gone in front just be­fore half-time when Wil­bra­ham headed home a Dave Cot­ter­ill cor­ner, only for the ef­fort to be ruled out for push­ing.

As the sec­ond half wore on the hosts ap­plied in­creas­ing pres­sure, only to be thwarted by some fine last-ditch de­fend­ing.

PIC­TURE: ProS­ports/ Richard Holmes

NO WAY THROUGH: Albion keeper Jon McLaugh­lin frus­trates Bris­tol City mid­fielder Bobby Reid

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