Bristol City player ratings and the tale of the game as Luton Town dismissed at Ashton Gate

The Robins finally take three points as the Hatters were seen off 2-0 in BS3.

That is how you play football. Bristol City finally ignited their stuttering league campaign on Tuesday evening, as Luton Town were defeated 2-0 at Ashton Gate with some spectacular play.

A goal from the recalled Nahki Wells after just five minutes set the tone and Tommy Conway tapped in for a second on 27 minutes as the Robins played their best half of football for many games.

After the break Nigel Pearson’s side were well in control, and cruising nicely and threatening more goals, until a 67th minute red card for Mark Sykes allowed the visitors to dominate the final stages.

But the home side defended the last 20 minutes stoutly, with Rob Atkinson clearing after a Dan Bentley parry to deny Gabe Osho in the final seconds, and finally Bristol City have started their Championship 2022/23 season.

The tale of the game

The first real attack of the game arrived as Scott threaded a pinpoint through-ball perfectly weighted and with the invitation to shoot given the huge space and time afforded to Wells.

The Bermudian converted, sliding a low cross-shot off the far post, and Bristol City were ahead.

With Zak Vyner seeing off Carlton Morris, and Naismith flicking the ball past the pressing Amari’i Bell and Cauley Woodrow there was a panache to the play on the Ashton Gate pitch.

Perhaps a deluge before the match allowed for City’s young midfield to play the ball faster and destabilise the opposition, as Adebayo flashed a long-range effort just wide of Dan Bentley’s far, right post.

Tommy Conway sped down the line to win a throw off Reece Burke, Andi Weimann bought a free kick in the penalty area and City were bobbing along nicely.

And it was two by the 28th minute as Weimann was released down the left, via Han-Noah Massengo’s lofted pass, to flash over to Conway in the middle for a two-yard tap-in.

Wells miscontrolled a few minutes later when the Robins were rampant and the chance to make it three arrived.

With Ethan Horvath gifting the ball out of play, Jay Dasilva sliding across the turf to win the ball and Adebayo heading over the bar, the first half drew to a close with Bristol City having played their best 45 minutes of the campaign so far.

Nathan Jones rang the changes at the break (making three changes with Luke Freeman clapped onto the field, as Woodrow went off) but nothing changed.

Dasilva rampaged through the middle to release Conway to shoot, Weimann whacked a Wells cutback over the bar and Sykes outrageously nutmegged Amari’i Bell. Pearson-ball was finally here and full effect.

And the past of Bristol City collided with the present as Freeman tangled with the dynamic Massengo, who soon was pirouetting down the wing to win a free kick with his quick feet.

But they couldn’t make it easy for themselves. After Sykes, who had been excellent up to then, was dispossessed he lunged into a two-footed challenge on Freeman, sparking a melee. Sykes saw red, and Freeman and Weimann yellow.

Soon Nigel Pearson was ringing the changes to see out the game, with Scott offering one last nutmeg before the former Guernsey FC midfielder was replaced by Timm Klose.

And when Atkinson intercepted to stop Luton scoring following a low Osho shot and Bentley save with a minute to go, the writing was on the wall: a 2-0 win, cheers around Ashton Gate, a rocking atmosphere and lift-off.

Who stood out

Naismith toyed with his former team at times at several stages of the game, but the excellent play from Alex Scott could not be ignored: a laser-guided pass that showed the vision and technical excellence of the young England U19 player.

Dasilva was the very best version of himself, after the break, scurrying through the midle with Weimann doing likewise to carry the ball forward after the sending off.

But perhaps the livewire Conway was the pick of the lot as he scored his first home goal.

Who has work to do to impress Nige

Sykes was excellent but then slightly reckless with his tackle, as he launched into the Luton playmaker Freeman, formerly of this parish, to get a red card and now serve a suspension.

Bentley meanwhile had little meaningful work to do on the night, a good thing of course, and everyone else did their jobs well.

Ratings (for players to play 75 mins at least)

Bentley - 7

Vyner - 8

Naismith - 8

Atkinson - 8

Sykes - 6

Scott - 7

Massengo - 7

Dasilva - 7

Weimann - 7

Conway - 8

Wells - 7

Teams

Bristol City: Bentley, Dasilva, Naismith, Atkinson, Scott (Klose, 81’), Weimann (King, 89’), Conway (Williams, 76’), Sykes, Wells (Martin, 76’), Vyner, Massengo

Luton Town: Horvath, Bree, Potts (Clark, 45’), Bradley, Morris (Jerome, 79’), Woodrow (Freeman, 45’), Adebayo, Burke (Muskwe, 45’), Campbell (Thorpe, 85’), Bell, Osho