Bristol City’s winless away run extended to four matches as they were defeated 1-0 by Championship play-off contenders Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday night.
Carlton Morris’ 16th goal of the season gave the Hatters an early lead, following Cody Drameh’s pinpoint cross.
Elijah Adebayo had an effort cleared off the line and missed a one-on-one as Luton dominated the match in the first half.
The Robins improved in the second period but couldn’t force a breakthrough against Rob Edwards’ side, who would’ve furthered their advantage if not for a couple of good saves from Max O’Leary.
Nigel Pearson’s side remain in 13th, while their opponents stay in 4th place and take another step towards securing a play-off spot.
Despite a front-foot approach from City in the early moments of the match, it was the Hatters who took the lead inside five minutes.
Some sloppy play at the back saw Cam Pring and Jay Dasilva gift possession back to Luton, the ball fell to Drameh who whipped in a dangerous cross towards Morris. Luton’s top scorer rose above Zak Vyner and headed low into the left-hand corner of O’Leary’s goal.
Edwards’ side grew in confidence after the goal and began to dominate proceedings. Their energetic approach gave the Robins little time on the ball, as Pearson’s side struggled to get a foothold in the match.
10 minutes before the break, the Hatters almost doubled their lead. A ball in behind Pring was latched onto by Adebayo, who went through on goal under heavy pressure from the defender.
Pring was lucky that Adebayo stayed on his feet, as a red card would’ve been likely if the striker had gone to ground. The Luton man’s shot was saved well by O’Leary, and the keeper reacted well to deny Luke Berry’s follow-up effort as the ball rebounded.
City’s struggles to make their presence felt in the match went on, and Pearson’s side didn’t manage a single shot in the first 45 minutes.
The Robins began the second period more positively and Andi Weimann had their first attempt of the match before the 50-minute mark.
But it didn’t take long for Luton to remind the visitors of their threat. Morris bundled his way in between Vyner and Sykes to get on the end of Gabriel Osho’s cross, and it took a brilliant reaction save from O’Leary to prevent the target man from doubling his tally.
O’Leary’s saves provided City with a lie chance of getting something from the game, and with 20 minutes to play they began to push on more.
But, Luton’s defence were able to cope with the Robins’ threat comfortably, and held on for all three points.
Max O’Leary – 7
Had little chance with the goal which was well-directed into the bottom corner, but didn’t inspire much confidence in his backline with a few sloppy moments with the ball at his feet. Made a big double save from Adebayo and Berry at 1-0 and a couple more top saves in the second half.
Mark Sykes – 6
Cleared Adebayo’s effort off the line after 12 minutes and got caught out with passes over his head a couple of times. Didn’t have many chances to get forward, but was energetic and one of City’s best players on the night. Booked.
Zak Vyner – 5
Lost Morris for the opening goal and misjudged Drameh’s lofted ball for Adebayo’s chance. Struggled to cope with Morris’ physicality all night. Booked.
Cam Pring – 5
Gave the ball away sloppily which eventually led to the opening goal and was fortunate that the referee didn’t deem his contact with goal-bound Adebayo as a foul. Almost cost his side when he under-hit a back pass to O’Leary, but luckily the goalkeeper beat Morris to the loose ball. Booked.
Jay Dasilva – 6
His early interception fell to a Luton player for Morris’ goal, but he was energetic and fairly solid down the left-hand side. Didn’t have any opportunites to get forward.
Andy King – 5
Was a passenger for most of the match as Luton were dominant in midfield, couldn’t control the tempo of the match from the engine room.
Alex Scott – 6
Didn’t get as much of the ball as he’d have liked against a solid midfield but had some bright moments.
Andi Weimann – 5
Was another who had trouble getting into the game against a dominant Luton, had one of City’s only shots on target but wasn’t involved much.
Harry Cornick – 5
Couldn’t get into the game from the right wing and is clearly still adapting to new surroundings. Had a snapshot in the second half that was down the throat of Ethan Horvath.
Nahki Wells – 5
Struggled to make the ball stick up top and his touch was off at times, had little service up top.
Anis Mehmeti – 5
Failed to make his presence felt in an attacking sense up against a solid Drameh.
Sam Bell (subbed on for Wells, 62’) – 6
Came on to try and offer something different up top but to no avail.
Omar Taylor-Clarke (subbed on for Mehmeti, 62’) – 7
Looked bright when he came on in the middle, made a couple of good tackles and won a few free kicks. His display was a silver lining on the night.