Bristol City edge out Norwich City as Mark Sykes continues hot scoring form
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Nigel Pearson made one change from Bristol City’s 2-1 victory over Preston North End to face Norwich City, as Joe Williams came in for the injured Kal Naismith.
After a highly intense opening 20 minutes in the West Country, City took the lead in the 24th minute. A swift pass and finish started when Williams dispossessed a Canaries midfielder on the halfway line, the ball fell to Cam Pring, who travelled forward and picked out an excellent through ball that evaded Dimitris Giannoulis’ outstretched leg to find Mark Sykes.
Sykes took a touch inside onto his left foot and slotted calmly underneath Angus Gunn in the Norwich goal from 15 yards out. The Canaries’ keeper would’ve been disappointed that he didn't do better with the shot.
The opener is Sykes’ fourth goal in his last four EFL Championship matches after he netted against Preston last weekend and fired in a brace in the Robins’ 4-2 win over Birmingham City at Ashton Gate on Saturday, January 14.
Alex Scott, one booking away from a two-match ban, went down injured before the break, but to the Robins’ fan’s relief, was able to carry on.
The match looked like it might boil over early in the second half when Max Aarons reacted hastily to push over Williams after the midfielder made a tactical foul on the halfway line.
Williams fell to the floor in front of referee Chris Kavanagh, but the official deemed the push worthy of just a caution - Williams was also booked for the initial foul.
With half an hour to play, January signings Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick were introduced for their home debuts, as the Robins went in search of a second goal to try and kill the game.
Both home debutants looked lively, as the Ashton Gate crowd cheered on both in their efforts to craft openings and win the ball back when dispossessed.
Mehmeti almost marked his debut with a goal. He cut inside onto his right foot, faked to shoot and took both Andrew Omobamidele and Gabriel Sara out of the game, laid the ball up on his left but saw his shot blocked.
Minutes later, Cornick had a chance to get his first City goal. the striker broke in behind the Canaries' defence and raced through one on one with Gunn. Cornick tried to squeeze a shot in at the near post by Gunn stood firm to save behind.
The travelling Canaries thought they’d equalised with five minutes to play, when Giannoulis’ cross was slotted home by Adam Idah, but the linesmans flag was up for offside against the full back.
Gunn came up for a series of late corners as Norwich seeked an equaliser, but the hosts held on comfortably.
Bristol City (4-3-3): Max O’Leary, George Tanner, Zak Vyner, Rob Atkinson, Cam Pring, Joe Williams, Matty James, Alex Scott, Mark Sykes, Nahki Wells, Sam Bell
Substitutes: Nikita Haikin, Jay Dasilva, Tomas Kalas, Andy King, Andi Weimann, Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick.
Goals: Mark Sykes 24’
Norwich City (4-3-3): Angus Gunn, Max Aarons, Andrew Omabamidele, Grant Hanley, Dimitris Giannoulis, Kenny McLean, Kieran Dowell, Marcelino Nunez, Gabriel Sara, Teemu Pukki, Josh Sargent
Substitutes: Tim Krul, Ben Gibson, Adam Idah, Sam McCallum, Jacob Sorensen, Onel Hernandez and Liam Gibbs