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26 September 2015

Fraser's late strike earns Town a point

 Ryan Fraser’s goal five minutes from time gave Town a share of the spoils at Portman Road.

The Scotland U21 international took his tally to four for the season when he latched on to Freddie Sears’ cross to guide the ball into the empty net.

Town had led through Luke Chambers’ first goal of the campaign early in the second-half but Blues were stunned by two goals inside three minutes. Luke Freeman’s shot taking a big deflection before finding the net, then Jonathan Kodjia putting City in front with an excellent finish.

Daryl Murphy was the only survivor from the line-up at Manchester United in midweek, the Republic of Ireland international starting up front alongside Freddie Sears, with Cole Skuse facing his former club for the first time since leaving Ashton Gate to join Town in the summer of 2013.

It took a brilliant save from another former Robin, Dean Gerken, to prevent City taking a lead inside five minutes, the ‘keeper showing a strong right arm to keep out Jonathan Kodjia’s effort from 12 yards.

The visitors started the better side and Gerken had to scramble a cross clear, then Joe Bryan forced a corner as he looked to get behind the Town defence.

Murphy responded for Blues with a header at Frank Fielding from Jonas Knudsen’s cross, then Sears headed wide after Fraser found him as Town started to get a foothold in the game.

Sears whipped a cross in that was half cleared, Fraser crowded out as looked to get in, then Jonas Knudsen had a shot blocked.

Christophe Berra’s cross was held by Fielding after a lovely touch from Jonathan Douglas sent him clear down the right, Sears then denied by Aden Flint’s touch as he threatened to get on the end of Fraser’s delivery.

Fielding had to move quickly to his right to prevent Flint conceding an own goal, Fraser then finding Murphy inside the area but last season’s top scorer in the Championship couldn’t get a shot in.

Nathan Baker got on the end of a free-kick that caused a threat in the Town box, Ainsley Maitland-Niles then doing well to track the run of Freeman and smother the danger.

Knudsen’s long throw beat everyone and bounced to safety at the far post, Murphy then seeing a final effort of the half deflected into the sidenetting.

Town only needed a minute of the second-half to take the lead, Chambers rising highest at the far post to head home from Knudsen’s cross.

Freeman responded for the Robins, sending a left footer wide, while at the other end Murphy rifled a shot inches past the post.

City were level on 53 minutes, Freeman weaving his way onto the edge of the Town box, his shot lacked power but took a heavy deflection off Tommy Smith to wrong-foot Gerken and go in the net.

Fraser fizzed a cross in front of Murphy as Blues looked to regain the advantage but it was City who struck again two minutes later, Kodjia finding space from Aaron Wilbraham’s cross and burying his shot into the roof of the net.

Sears hooked a volley over, then Fielding was in the right place to save from Fraser’s header, the City ‘keeper doing excellently to tip over from Fraser’s deflected cross. 

Maitland-Niles saw an effort diverted wide as Town pressed forward looking for an equaliser.

Blues made a first change with David McGoldrick replacing Murphy midway through the second-half, the substitute almost capitalising on good work by Maitland-Niles but Derrick Williams cleared the danger.

Brett Pitman replaced Maitland-Niles for the final 20 minutes, McGoldrick then bursting into action with a drop of the shoulder and a right foot effort that was beaten out.

Jonathan Parr replaced Chambers, who looked to have picked up an injury, for the closing minutes.

City threatened to tie the game up when Mark Little got around the back, his cross deflected clear of Wilbraham at the far post.

The equaliser came five minutes from time, neat play involving Pitman and Sears left Fraser with a tap in six yards out.

It was the Bournemouth loanee who threatened a winner for Town, cutting inside and testing Fielding with a low drive, then Pitman diverted McGoldrick’s driven cross just wide and with it went Town’s chances of turning a point into three.

Town: Gerken, Chambers (Parr 83), Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Douglas, Maitland-Niles (Pitman 71), Fraser, Murphy (McGoldrick 66), Sears. Subs not used: Bialkowski, Tabb, Bru, Toure.
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Williams, Flint, Ayling, Freeman, Baker, Wilbraham, Pack, Kodjia (Burns 89), Bryan. Subs not used: Robinson, Agard, Reid, Moore, O’Leary. Booked: Pack, Baker.

Att: 20,347







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