Field­ing’s hero­ics not enough

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sean Cole

FRANK Field­ing saved a penalty taken by his old team-mate Lee Tom­lin but could do noth­ing to pre­vent Bris­tol City’s slim play­off hopes from dis­ap­pear­ing.

Their col­lapse in form since the turn of the year has been alarm­ing. This was their 12th away game with­out a vic­tory, a run stretch­ing back to De­cem­ber.

They were lucky to emerge with a point from a match For­est dom­i­nated, with wide play­ers Tom­lin and Joe Lolley caus­ing the vis­i­tors’ de­fence plenty of prob­lems. Both tested Field­ing but were un­able to find a way through.

The first half was be­set by a cou­ple of long de­lays, with first Nathan Baker and then Lolley go­ing down in­jured. The Bris­tol City cen­tre-back was knocked out by a sting­ing shot and had to be sub­sti­tuted early on.

“That killed us a bit,” said City man­ager Lee John­son. “We started the game quite well but af­ter that in­ci­dent we seemed to lose a lit­tle bit of that mo­men­tum and flow that we had. For­est were the stronger side be­tween then and the end of the first half.

“We had to change it, just to so­lid­ify the mid­field and make sure that we had an ex­tra body in there be­cause we weren’t re­tain­ing the ball well enough. We built our way back into the game a lit­tle bit then.”

Lolley was a con­stant threat for the home side. His inch­per­fect cross was headed over by Andreas Boucha­lakis, and soon af­ter he charged through the mid­dle to trou­ble Field­ing with a 20-yard drive as the City de­fence re­treated.

Famara Died­hiou curled a shot wide at the other end but For­est were in the as­cen­dancy and could have taken the lead through Ad­lene Gue­dioura.

Ben Os­born’s cross was met by the mid­fielder but he only suc­ceeded in stab­bing the ball wide. Lolley also had a shot de­flected past the post as the home side failed to make their su­pe­ri­or­ity count.

It was a sim­i­lar tale in the sec­ond half, with sus­tained pres­sure from For­est, who couldn’t pick out the right pass af­ter mak­ing it into some promis­ing po­si­tions.

They were granted the clear­est op­por­tu­nity of the game as Os­born reached the ball ahead of Field­ing and was taken down by the City goal­keeper. But he made amends in keep­ing out Tom­lin’s tame penalty, which was struck low and marginally left of cen­tre.

Chances were few and far be­tween there­after although the Robins had a goal ruled out for off­side af­ter Michael Man­ci­enne was dis­pos­sessed by Bobby Reid. The ball squirmed through to Died­hiou, who rounded Ste­fanos Kapino to score be­fore play was pulled back.

The game ended with an emo­tional send-off for Chris Co­hen, as he was given a fi­nal run-out at the City Ground. His 11 years of ser­vice come to an end this sum­mer af­ter a long bat­tle with in­jury.

“It could have been a per­fect game to fin­ish the sea­son at home with,” said For­est man­ager Ai­tor Karanka. “We had a lot of chances, and we had a penalty, but we couldn’t score.

“But the main thing is that we played with dif­fer­ent play­ers and they per­formed re­ally well. The at­ti­tude has been re­ally good and it was re­ally im­por­tant to say good­bye to Chris Co­hen on the pitch.”

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