‘Flashes of brilliance’ - Bristol City player ratings: 9/10 scored as defender notches a brace in late win

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
How the Bristol City players fared in their 2-1 win over Preston North End

Bristol City narrowly defeated Preston North End 2-1 at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night, as centre-back Rob Atkinson netted a brace.

Atkinson put the hosts in front with a powerful close-range header early in the second half, following a Mark Sykes chipped cross.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Andrew Hughes levelled for the Lilywhites with six minutes to play, after the Robins failed to clear a Robbie Brady free kick.

Time seemed to be running out for the Robins, but Atkinson attacked an Alex Scott corner to head home his second in the final minute of the 90.

Nigel Pearson’s side move up to 11th, while Preston remain in eighth.

Story of the match:

The Robins made a fast-paced start to the match and were clearly keen to make amends for several poor performances of late.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tommy Conway had an effort blocked before Sykes got in behind the Preston backline and hit the side netting.

Pearson’s side continued to dominate proceedings and it looked like they had an opening to net the first goal of the game after 13 minutes.

Sykes’ cross found Conway with his back to goal, the ball was half-cleared but fell perfectly to the onrushing Andi Weimann. The Austrian’s fierce shot looked goal bound, but Liam Lindsay stood strong to block.

20 minutes in, the tempo died down and the Lilywhites gained control of the ball as they pushed the Robins back.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ryan Lowe’s side almost opened the scoring before the half-hour mark when Daniel Johnson found a pocket of space in midfield and slid a ball through to Sean Maguire.

It looked like the no. 24 would get a shot off, but Max O’Leary came out sharply to smother the forward.

Some neat footwork from Antoine Semenyo almost forced a penalty minutes later, the Ghanaian beat Lindsay on the touchline, before the centre half brought Semenyo down just before he could attack the box.

Lindsay received a yellow card for his troubles.

Jay Dasilva was next to receive a caution 33 minutes in, when his forceful challenge on Ali McCann was deemed worthy of a card by Keith Stroud.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Tommy Conway of Bristol City challenges Alvaro Fernandez of Preston North End during the Sky Bet Championship between Bristol City and Preston North End at Ashton Gate.Tommy Conway of Bristol City challenges Alvaro Fernandez of Preston North End during the Sky Bet Championship between Bristol City and Preston North End at Ashton Gate.
Tommy Conway of Bristol City challenges Alvaro Fernandez of Preston North End during the Sky Bet Championship between Bristol City and Preston North End at Ashton Gate.

In a half of few chances, Conway had a good opening moments before the break. Semenyo’s through ball found the Scotsman, who could only shoot straight at Freddie Woodman from 15 yards out.

The second half started in a less frantic fashion, but a moment of sharp play from Semenyo almost broke the deadlock. Joe Williams’ diagonal pass was latched onto by the no. 11, who cut inside a fizzed a shot just wide of Woodman’s goal.

The City pressure continued and 10 minutes into the second half, the Robins made the breakthrough.

Sykes cut in onto his left foot and crossed into the area, Zak Vyner rose to flick the ball on and his fellow centre-back Atkinson was perfectly placed to head home from eight yards out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But their joy was almost short-lived, and it took an exceptional stop from O’Leary to keep the Robins ahead.

A speculative long ball from Ryan Ledson found Emil Riis Jakobsen, who managed to beat the offside trap and go through one vs one.

The Dane struck a low effort to O’Leary’s right and the Irish keeper reacted well to push away.

Semenyo then shrugged off Lindsay and shot just over the bar up the other end, to cap off a fast and furious 10 minutes of football.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The game then went flat until the 70-minute mark, as both teams struggled to attain any periods of attacking play.

Antoine Semenyo delivered a strong performance for the Robins. (Image: Getty Images) Antoine Semenyo delivered a strong performance for the Robins. (Image: Getty Images)
Antoine Semenyo delivered a strong performance for the Robins. (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

With 15 minutes to play, a late challenge on Scott from Greg Cunningham went unpunished, much to the Robins’ fans’ coach’s dismay.

The three points were almost secured in the 80th minute when Semenyo’s thunderous 20-yard strike cannoned back off the palms of Woodman.

Moments later, though, it was 1-1. Brady’s left-footed free kick wasn’t cleared by the Robins defence, and Hughes reacted the fastest to fire home from six yards out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As the clock wound down, it looked as if Pearson’s sides winless streak would be extended to six. However, Atkinson had other ideas.

Scott’s in-swinging corner caught Woodman off guard, and the no. 5 was on hand to bravely head home from a couple of yards out.

The Robins then saw out the seven minutes of additional time.

Player ratings:

Max O’Leary – 7

Came out well in the first half to deny Maguire. Good distribution with the ball at his feet. Made a great stop from Jakobsen in the second half. Could do little about the goal.

Zak Vyner – 6

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Solid at the back but gave the ball away cheaply at times. Booked.

Timm Klose – 7

Assured at the heart of defence on his return to the side. Powerful in the air.

Rob Atkinson – 9

Assured in defence and linked up well with Dasilva as usual. Got forward with the ball and netted both goals on the night with two powerful headers.

Mark Sykes – 7

Big threat down the right flank early on, but relatively quiet afterwards. Found Alvaro Fernandez a tricky opponent.

Alex Scott – 8

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some brilliant touches in midfield and good vision. Perhaps a little too passive out of possession at times and allowed Preston midfield too much space. Assisted the late winner.

Joe Williams – 7

Strong start to the match, and was steady when in possession. However, struggled to dictate the tempo of the game for large parts.

Jay Dasilva – 6

Full of energy on the left-hand side but lacked end product in his crossing at times. Booked.

Andi Weimann – 6

Started brightly but faded out of the match. Made some nice passes and ran his socks off as usual.

Tommy Conway – 6

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Aggressive, but could’ve done better with a chance before the break. Put himself about but not his night.

Antoine Semenyo – 8

Flashes of brilliance when he beat Lindsay with some nice footwork. Was a constant threat and could’ve scored. Drove the Robins’ attack in the second half.

Nahki Wells (subbed on for Conway, 85’) – 6

Came on late.

Chris Martin (subbed on for Sykes, 90’) – N/A

Was introduced to see the game out.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.