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Match Reports


Hatters end the decade with defeat on the road at play-off chasing City

29 December 2019

Match Reports


Hatters end the decade with defeat on the road at play-off chasing City

29 December 2019

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The Hatters suffered a 3-0 defeat at Bristol City this afternoon in the final game of the decade.

Three days after a heroic performance against high-flying Fulham at Kenilworth Road, when the Town were denied a win by a 94th-minute goal, Graeme Jones' side went down to efforts from Marley Watkins, Famara Diedhiou - from the penalty spot - and Andreas Weimann as the hosts moved up to eighth in the table.

Jones made two changes for the Hatters' sixth game of December; the first enforced, with James Shea returning in goal in place of the injured Simon Sluga. The other switch saw Harry Cornick come back into the attack from kick-off, with Callum McManaman starting from the bench where he was joined by Martin Cranie, who replaced Lloyd Jones.

The hosts came into the match on a four-game losing streak, but they made the perfect start by taking a fourth-minute lead as Watkins stooped to head in Niclas Eliasson's cross from the left.

Lee Johnson's side dominated the opening 15 minutes in terms of possession, but they did not trouble Shea's goal further and gradually the Hatters started to come into the game, Cornick quickly closing keeper Daniel Bentley down to force a throw-in before whipping in a dangerous cross that the home defence did well to clear.

Matty Pearson then got his head on a left-wing cross from Kazenga LuaLua, but couldn't direct it on target, before Shea held onto a 15-yard shot from Weimann at the other end.

The Town keeper then had to tip a 25-yarder from City captain Liam Brownhill around the post, before comfortably fielding an acrobatic volley from the edge of the box from Diedhiou.

Soon after the half-hour Luke Berry became the first player into referee Oliver Langford's notepad for dragging Diedhiou down 30 yards from goal. Brownhill hit the free-kick well over the bar.

Shea's reactions were sharp to deny Watkins a second on 35 minutes, as the Robins' right winger met another Eliasson cross with a downward header at the far post, but the Town keeper pushed it away at the foot of the post.

City extended their lead a minute before half-time when Diedhiou converted a penalty after LuaLua was penalised for a trip on Hunt as the right-back burst into the penalty area.

Jones made one change at the break as Cranie came on for Bolton, with Bree switching to right wing-back and the substitute going into the heart of a back three.

The Town's first real chances came ten minutes into the half. First, they worked to ball to Cornick on the right side of the penalty area and the forward's low shot beat Bentley, but Hunt got back to hack clear off the line. Then Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu hit a powerful curler from the edge of the box that just didn't come back enough.
Diedhiou called Shea into action again at the other end with a header after Sonny Bradley had been booked for a foul, then Moncur was introduced for Tunnicliffe on the hour.
By the 66th minute, however, it was 3-0 as Andreas Weimann converted Hunt's cross at the near post with a clever flicked finish.
Alan Sheehan came on as the Town's third substitute with ten minutes left, and within a minute he cushioned a lay-off for Cornick to strike at goal, only for a deflection to send it over the bar. Mpanzu tried his luck from distance as City cleared the resulting corner, but the midfielder's shot was off target.
The result leaves the Town 23rd in the Championship table, level on points with Stoke and Barnsley and one above bottom club Wigan ahead of the New Year's Day trip to Millwall.


TOWN: Shea, Bolton (Cranie 46), Pearson, Bradley (c), Bree, Tunnicliffe (Moncur 60), Mpanzu, Berry, Cornick, LuaLua (Sheehan 80), Collins.

Subs: McManaman, Shinnie, Moncur, Butterfield, Stech.

Yellows: Berry, Collins, Bradley, Pearson


ROBINS: Bentley, Hunt, Dasilva (Rowe 68), Nagy, Brownhill (c), Diedhiou (Rodri 84), Weimann, Watkins (Smith 80), Eliasson, Kalas, Williams.

Subs: Maenpaa (GK), Semenyo, Moore, Massengo.

Goals: Watkins 4, Diedhiou 44, Weimann 66

Yellows: Williams


REFEREE: Oliver Langford

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