Sears at the double but Town lose out in goal rush
Freddie Sears twice put Town in front but Blues’ homesickness continues.
The striker broke the deadlock with a crisp finish to give Town the advantage at the break but a mad spell of four goals in nine minutes proved decisive early in the second-half.
Substitute Famara Diedhiou saw his effort deflected into the net by Town ‘keeper Bart Bialkowski. Sears immediately restored Blues’ lead but seconds later Jamie Paterson had levelled things up again.
It was Diedhiou who had the final say, heading in from close range to stretch Town’s run without a win at Portman Road to 12 games.
Paul Lambert stayed with the same side for the fourth successive game, with Ellis Harrison included on the bench after recovering from an ankle ligament injury. City included former Town defender Adam Webster in their line-up.
The visitors started the better and Bialkowski was forced into a save to deny Liam Walsh finding the net inside four minutes.
Paterson smashed a right footer over the bar from the edge of the box, Town responding with a cross that Sears couldn’t quite connect with, the striker going much closer seconds later with a 20 yarder that went just wide.
Niki Maenpaa punched clear from Gwion Edwards’ free-kick, Niclas Eliasson cutting in from the right but Paterson had strayed offside, then at the other end Sears’ strike was deflected behind.
Just past the half hour Town got the breakthrough, a superb pass from Cole Skuse found Sears on the left and the striker, full of confidence, cut in and found the bottom corner.
The impressive Skuse earned a free-kick 25 yards out, Jordan Roberts firing into the wall, Trevoh Chalobah flicking the ball over the bar, then Flynn Downes was in the right place to block Walsh’s piledriver as Town maintained the advantage at the break.
Diedhiou replaced Hakeeb Adelakun at half-time in the game’s first change, Paterson testing Bialkowki with a snap shot as City looked for an immediate impact.
Joe Morrell entered the fray, Walsh making way in another change for the visitors and seconds later City were level, Bialkowski diverting the ball in from Diedhiou’s shot that was going wide.
Town didn’t have to wait long to edge in front though, Sears burying his shot into the net from the edge of the box just short of the hour.
A minute later, Bristol were level - another cross from the left and Paterson volleyed in at the far post.
Luke Chambers looked to have put Blues back in front but City smothered his header away from the line and it was Bristol who struck, Lloyd Kelly’s shot deflected into Diedhiou’s path and he headed in from six yards.
Kayden Jackson replaced Roberts, Jack Lankester soon on for Edwards as Blues shuffled the pack, Jackson immediately in the game with a cross that Webster cleared at full stretch.
City made a final move from the bench with Jack Hunt on for Eros Pisano for the closing stages, Town following suit with Harrison on for Downes.
Bialkowski was alert to keep out Andreas Weimann as the striker threatened to tie up the points, Jackson’s overhead kick held by Maenpaa after Lankester threaded a superb pass into Jonas Knudsen’s path.
Paterson flashed a shot wide from distance, Sears couldn’t get on the end of a Skuse ball forward with the game finishing with City boss Lee Johnson yellow carded.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Edwards (Lankester 72), Skuse, Chalobah, Downes (Harrison 78), Sears, Roberts (Jackson 64). Subs not used: Gerken, Bishop, Donacien, Ward. Booked: Roberts, Spence.
Bristol City: Maenpaa, Pisano (Hunt 75), Webster, Walsh (Morrell 54), Weimann, Adelakun (Diedhiou 46), Kelly, Eliasson, Paterson, Pack, Kalas. Subs not used: O’Leary, Dasilva, Baker, Eisa. Booked: Paterson.