Flint strikes to win ‘Severnside’ derby as Warnock rages
“Whether it’ll be a spectacle, I’m not so sure,” said Bristol City manager Lee Johnson prior to kick-off. It was, though not always for the right reasons, as the Robins triumphed in the ‘Severnside derby’ to climb to third.
Cardiff looked on course for at least a point when Omar Bogle equalised Callum O’Driscoll’s opener but after Bogle was then sent off, Aden Flint headed in a deserved winner for the home side.
Neil Warnock was furious with the referee, Mike Jones, though not for his decision to send off his striker. “I’ve no complaints whatsoever. It was a stupid tackle,” said the veteran Cardiff manager. “What disappointed me is that we’ve got a Premier League referee and I expect him to be consistent. Sometimes they come down from the Premier League and they don’t want to be here. I’m going to ask him, ‘Did you prepare correctly?’
“They’re all distraught in there. They’re all moaning that [Marlon] Pack wasn’t sent off,” added Warnock of his team’s reaction to the defeat. Warnock was referring to Pack’s foul on Souleymane Bamba, which he felt warranted a second booking. “He should have been off after 48 minutes,” he said.
A cagey opening 20 minutes ended with the first moment of quality and a goal for the Robins. Joe Bryan cut in from the left to play in Callum O’Dowda, who stepped inside Lee Peltier and curled his shot past Neil Etheridge.
“It was a good battle, I thought it was a good game,” said Johnson. “We had to fight fire with fire a little bit. We had to make sure everyone out on the pitch didn’t shirk a header, didn’t shirk a tackle. All the stats will tell you that we deserved to win.”
It almost got better for the home side as Bryan found himself unmarked at the far post. Philippines international goalkeeper Etheridge did well to save his fierce shot.
With Kenneth Zohore missing with an ankle injury and Nathaniel MendezLaing withdrawn after seven minutes, Cardiff ’s cutting edge was blunted. But against the odds they found an equaliser just before half-time, which came from the persistence of Junior Hoilett. The former QPR winger wriggled along the byline before teeing up Bogle to slot past Frank Fielding.
The goalscorer ran straight to celebrate in the warm embrace of Warnock on the touchline. But his joy was shortlived as he was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Bristol City’s Pack.
“In derbies, you’ve got to feel the passion,” said Warnock. He did, regularly haranguing the fourth official as he leapt about the technical area.
With the Bluebirds depleted, the home side made their advantage count. There was nothing technical about the Robins’ second goal. Centre-back Aden Flint thumped in a header directly from Hordur Magnusson’s long throw.
The Robins were good value for their win, which ought to have been by a greater margin. Josh Brownhill struck the post with a low drive while Joe Bryan continued to wreak havoc down the left, but they had done enough. These are exciting times for the Robins, with Manchester United due at Ashton Gate next month in the Carabao Cup. “We’re unfancied, we’re still unfancied,” said Johnson of the wider perception of his club. “That’s nine points in a week and not only that, there’s a cup win as well.”
Power play: Aden Flint delivers a thumping header to score the winner for Bristol City