Bristol City player ratings: Three 8/10s as Robins lose narrowly to Norwich City in enthralling encounter

Nigel Pearson’s men were defeated in a five-goal thriller in Norfolk.

Teemu Pukki nets his second of the night against Bristol CityTeemu Pukki nets his second of the night against Bristol City
Teemu Pukki nets his second of the night against Bristol City

Bristol City suffered a 3–2 defeat to Norwich City in the EFL Championship on Wednesday night, to end their eight-game unbeaten run.

A first-half brace from Teemu Pukki put the hosts two up before the half-hour mark, before Tommy Conway’s header pulled one back for the Robins before the break.

Josh Sargent’s header gave the Canaries a 3-1 advantage with 25 minutes to play, and Antoine Semenyo struck his fourth goal in five games for the visitors.

The result moves the Robins down to seventh, as the Canaries remain in second place after six straight league victories.

Story of the match

It was a hectic opening minute to the match, as sloppiness in possession from both sides was almost costly.

Firstly, Todd Cantwell dispossessed Alex Scott in midfield and set Sargent away on the right-hand side, but the forward couldn’t create anything of note.

Soon after, a misplaced pass from Sam Byram presented Conway with a golden opportunity, but the forward rushed his shot and fired wide.

The visitors were made to rue their golden chance after 11 minutes, as Pukki gave the Canaries the lead.

Kal Naismith failed to deal with a lofted ball over the top, which left Pukki one on one against the onrushing Daniel Bentley. The striker nodded over the goalkeeper and tapped home from close range.

Teemu Pukki before his openerTeemu Pukki before his opener
Teemu Pukki before his opener

Moments later, the visitors were almost gifted a route back into the match. Mark Sykes travelled into the box and appeared to be bundled over by Grant Hanley – but the referee said no penalty.

After 23 minutes, Dean Smith’s side doubled their lead. Pukki went through one on one again after Naismith carelessly gave the ball away in midfield, and the Finnish striker slotted coolly past Bentley.

Nigel Pearson’s side then began to grow into the game more. Both Nahki Wells and Jay Dasilva had shots blocked by the Canaries’ defence, as Sykes started to look threatening down the right flank.

The Robins dominated the ball, and their reward came one minute before the break. Rob Atkinson stepped into the final third and passed to Wells, whose left-footed cross found Conway’s head.

The youngster rose above Andrew Omobamidele and nodded into the roof of the net, to give his side some momentum at half-time.

Pearson’s side started the second half positively as Scott’s cross found Wells’ head, however, his effort was saved comfortably by Tim Krul.

The away side were on top from the break, but failed to make any inroads on Krul’s goal up to the hour mark.

Jay Dasilva and Rob Atkinson battle with Max Aarons Jay Dasilva and Rob Atkinson battle with Max Aarons
Jay Dasilva and Rob Atkinson battle with Max Aarons

Against the run of play, the hosts added a third. Gabriel Sara’s out-swinging corner was headed into the near post by Sargent who was going away from goal.

Smith’s side then looked more comfortable on the ball, as the two-goal cushion allowed them to relax.

But it was 3-2 with just under 15 to play. Joe Williams pressed high up the pitch and stole the ball off the Canaries’ defence. His tackle found Semenyo who slotted through Krul’s legs from 12 yards out.

As the visitors chased an equaliser the game got stretched, and the home side had a number of chances to put the game to bed. But, it ended 3-2 after an enthralling 90 minutes.

Player ratings

Daniel Bentley – 6

Was left helpless for the opening goal and could do little about the Canaries’ second either. Perhaps beaten too easily at the near post for the hosts’ third. Made a good stop from close range to deny Pukki a hat-trick.

Zak Vyner – 7

Looked assured at the back but played Pukki onside for his second goal when he was positioned very deep in his own half. Looked comfortable on the ball throughout. Could’ve done better when beaten to the ball by Sargent for the hosts’ third goal.

Kal Naismith – 5

Bad errors for both opening two goals. Looked dangerous when crossing from set pieces and had moments of good quality but gave his team a mountain to climb with the early mistakes.

Rob Atkinson – 8

Looked solid at the back as usual and was impressive on the ball. Strode forward to create space for the attackers on numerous occasions and linked up well with Dasilva.

Mark Sykes – 8

Took a while for him to grow into the game but was excellent overall. Was busy in and out of possession and was a constant threat down the right side.

Alex Scott – 7

Was full of running and keen to get on the ball. Didn’t manage to create anything in attack but another very solid display.

Matty James – 7

Was tough and efficient in the tackle and kept the ball moving in midfield. Didn’t offer much solidarity in front of the backline early on but grew into the game in the second half.

Jay Dasilva – 8

Was consistent as usual. Rarely beaten by his man and looked a threat going forward. Had a shot blocked from close range in the first half.

Andi Weimann – 6

Looked off it early on but improved. Ran his socks off and travelled well with the ball in the Norwich half.

Nahki Wells – 7

Looked dangerous and made the assist for Conway’s header. Chased every ball and was unlucky not to score.

Tommy Conway – 7

Missed a golden chance in the opening minute but made amends with a well-timed header. Made some good runs in behind the Canaries’ backline.

Antoine Semenyo (subbed on for Sykes, ‘68) – 7

Netted to make it 3-2 with 13 minutes to play with a neat finish.

Joe Williams (subbed on for Conway, ‘76) – 7

Made an instant impact when he pounced on the Norwich defence and set up Semenyo’s goal.

Chris Martin (subbed on for Atkinson, ‘84) - 6

Came on in hope of finding a late equaliser.

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