First half goal brings first defeat in 14 games
Jamie Paterson’s first half strike was enough to give Bristol City a 1-0 win in the FA Cup Third Round Replay at Highbury, ended Town’s record equalling run.
Fleetwood – who were without many regulars due to a variety of reasons – threatened more in the second half when substitute Ashley Hunter came on, but it wasn’t to be.
Uwe Rosler brought in Ashley Eastham, Jack Sowerby, Eggert Jonsson, Chris Long and Devante Cole to the starting line-up, with Hunter and David Ball amongst the substitutes.
The game began in scrappy fashion with neither side able to hold onto possession for long with the greasy pitch and drizzle making for less than ideal conditions for free flowing football.
It was Town who made the early openings through the returning Long. The Burnley loanee broke into the area after five minutes only for his low cross to be cleared by the City defence before Devante Cole could meet it.
Long again threatened after seven minutes as he found himself in space on the edge of the area and though he scuffed his effort and it made for an easy save for Frank Fielding in the City goal.
After the opening ten minutes the visitors seemed to become used to the conditions and they began to find their feet, and after 19 minutes, their first meaningful attack gave the visitors the lead.
Paterson broke the deadlock after Gustav Engvall won the ball in midfield and played a delicate ball through to Paterson, who in turn slid it past the oncoming Alex Cairns into the bottom left corner.
City then almost doubled their lead just moments later as Engvall cut out Ashley Eastham’s ball down the line, drove into the box and Cairns was only able to parry his shot into the six yard area where it fell to Paterson whose own goal bound shot was cleared off the line by Conor McLaughlin.
At this point the game began to open up slightly and Town’s next chance came after 29 minutes when Amari’i Bell’s knock down was met by Cole and after a slick one-two between Cole and Long, Long was able to break into the box, though his low shot went inches wide.
Town enjoyed a period of pressure late in the first half which saw them win a string of corners though nothing came from them and Rosler’s men went in 1-0 down at the break.
Bell made Town’s first opening of the second half as he drove down the left flank and attempted to slide Cole in, though the former Manchester City man was unable to latch onto Bell’s ball forward.
City had a golden chance to double their lead after 67 minutes when Joe Bryan beat Nirennold to the ball, and after a pacey run down the left his shot cannoned back off the cross bar as he attempted to beat Cairns at his near post.
Town then began to dominate possession at this point, with the visitors seemingly happy to sit deep. As City sat deeper and deeper a chance came for Town as after Conor McLaughlin found Long, he laid it off to Ball, whose cross was deflected just wide by Aden Flint.
Moments after Hunter’s introduction 20 minutes from time, disaster almost struck as Paterson caught Nirennold in possession and fired his shot just wide.
The chance seemed to give Town a wakeup call as following Paterson’s chance Town renewed their pressure on the City goal with Dempsey, Long and Ball all having efforts blocked by the City defence.
Hunter won Town a free kick out on the right hand side after being cut down by Bryan, from the resulting free kick Town forced a corner as Flint rose highest to clear, though Fielding was strong to claim Dempsey’s corner.
However despite Town’s efforts in the last ten, they were unable to fashion any chances and City eventually won the game 1-0, progressing into the next round and ending Town’s run of 13 games unbeaten.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, McLaughlin (c), Bell, Jonsson, Eastham, Bolger, Long, Sowerby, Dempsey, Davies, Cole.
Neal (GK), Ball (Jonsson 63’), Wallace, Davis, Nirennold (Sowerby 55’), Hunter (Eastham 74’), Roberts. Subs:
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Bryan, Flint, O’Neil (c), Engvall, Paterson, Djuric, Magnusson, Hegeler, Wright.
Subs: O’Donnell, Brownhill (Djuric 82’), Abraham (Engvall 67’), Tomlin, O’Dowda (Little 76’), Wilbraham, Pack.