Bristol City begin pre-season programme with Cheltenham win as Conway and Tanner on target

Bristol City’s 2022/23 season is up and running as they claim victory in their opening match against Cheltenham Town

<p>Bristol City won their opening match of a six game pre-season schedule. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)</p>

Bristol City won their opening match of a six game pre-season schedule. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Nigel Pearson named a starting XI that perhaps may not be too far off of what the starting XI for the opening game of the season on July 30 against Hull City.

Pearson stuck with the 3-4-1-2 formation that he reverted to last season with some subtle changes, owing to a difference in recovery programmes.

Timm Klose, Rob Atkinson and new signing Kal Naismith were named as the three starting centre-backs.

They were accompanied by a familiar face in Jay Dasilva on the left hand side and new recruit Kane Wilson on the right hand side.

Mark Sykes was included on the left-hand side of a three-man central midfield along with Matty James and Joe Williams.

Nahki Wells was given a start up front in the absence of Antoine Semenyo with Alex Scott afforded a rest for his England Under-19 exploits, whilst top scorer Andi Weimann was put on the bench after coming back from international duty.

Stefan Bajic was not included either as he continues to recover from a minor wrist surgery, as well as waiting back on his international work visa.

An early opportunity came from Sykes who was keen to make an impression. He threaded a through ball to Martin who couldn’t get a shot away but Wilson forced a shot at goalkeeper Max Harris.

Wells and Wilson were the two players impressing with Wells interchanging play well with the former Forest Green Rovers defender who whipped in many troubling crosses.

The Bermuda international however spurned a good opportunity to break the deadlock as he hit a low free-kick straight at the wall on the edge of the box.

Cheltenham Town began to grew into the game and found pockets of space down the right side but fortunately Daniel Bentley dived down well enough to save from George Lloyd.

A few loose passes were being played by the home defence and Callum Ebanks was allowed space to get another shot from a wide angle.

City were then to make their best opportunity as Matty James drove a low powerful shot at goal with Harris making the save.

Two troubling balls from the two opposite flanks caused problems with Wells flashing a header wide from Dasilva’s cross, whilst Wilson continued to impress and played a delicious ball to Joe Williams who’s header was blocked.

Early in the second-half, Rovers were given a penalty as Rob Atkinson was bundled over for a spot kick but City failed to take the lead. Martin for all his experience blasted his penalty over the bar.

A dangerous James corner almost saw Naismith grab his first goal in City colours as his troubling header had to be tipped over the bar. From the second corner, Naismith had another header that was glanced just wide.

City continued to dominate as Wells drilled a narrow-angled shot just past the target. Joe Williams, surviving a slight injury scare after being barged into, was picked out by Wilson and he powered a shot at Harris that was tipped over.

On the hour mark, a raft of changes were made with Daniel Bentley the only starting player left remaining on the pitch and that brought the first goal.

A goal came from an unlikely source as George Tanner controlled the ball with his right foot and drove home with his left after a Cameron Pring cross could only be parried out to the wing-back.

Weimann then almost opened his account as he went for a deft lob but his attempt cannoned off of the post as he aimed to replicate his stunning chip against Hull City.

In stoppage time, Pring got himself involved in another goal for the home side as he broke into the box and teed it up nicely for Tommy Conway to slide it home.

City have a free weekend but resume their schedule with another behind-closed-doors friendly against League One opposition with Portsmouth the visitors on Tuesday, July 12 (14:00).

Bristol City starting XI: Daniel Bentley, Jay Dasilva, Rob Atkinson, Timm Klose, Kal Naismith, Kane Wilson, Mark Sykes, Matty James, Joe Williams, Nahki Wells, Chris Martin.

Cheltenham Town: Harris, Long, Bradbury, Gyamfi, Sercombe, Chapman, Hutchinson, Lloyd, Ebanks, Barkers, Liggett.