Bristol City ride their luck as big Rob rises highest against Coventry City

Bristol City 1-0 Coventry City
Rob Dickie’s header was enough for Bristol City to edge past Coventry City Rob Dickie’s header was enough for Bristol City to edge past Coventry City
Rob Dickie’s header was enough for Bristol City to edge past Coventry City

Rob Dickie’s towering header proved vital as Bristol City got back to winning ways at Ashton Gate in their 1-0 win over EFL Championship rivals Coventry City.

Taylor Gardner-Hickman whipped in a threatening cross which was converted by Dickie late in the first half, after the Sky Blues had struck the crossbar twice.

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The Robins came out second half in much more solid fashion, and dealt with the Coventry threat comfortably and take all three points. Nigel Pearson’s side move up to 8th place after the victory, just one point off the play-off places.

The hosts lined up in a new look system of 3-4-1-2 following their recent injury woes and it took a while for them to adapt to the formation. Ex-Robin Jay Dasilva whipped in a dangerous cross which was cleared, before Tatsuhiro Sakamoto saw his effort saved.

Ben Sheaf was then allowed too much in the middle of the park and after weighinh up his options, unleashed a brilliant 30-yard effort that bounced off the crossbar to Max O’Leary’s relief.

The Coventry pressure continued. Ellis Simms dragged narrowly wide of the mark after good work from Josh Eccles, before the visitors struck the bar again from Matt Godden’s bending effort.

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Midway through the first half, Matty James went down after a collision with O’Leary, but after some treatment and the application of a head bandage, the midfielder was able to continue.

The three-minute halt in proceedings could’ve stopped Coventry’s positive momentum, but that proved wishful thinking, as Godden struck inches wide moments after the restart.

By the half-hour mark, the Robins has failed to register a shot, and their frustration was evident, as Andi Weimann pushed Luis Blinks over after the ball had gone out of play.

The Austrian looked to turn his frustration into something positive and came close to opening the scoring soon after.

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James put in a strong challenge in the middle of the park and found Gardner-Hickman, who delivered a brilliant through ball to the skipper.

Weimann cut inside and struck left footed to Ben Wilson’s left-hand side, but the goalkeeper was down quickly to push away.

The Sky Blues responded as they had all game, and thought they’d found an opener when Milan Van Enijk’s effort bounced in off Dickie’s knee, but Sakamoto was ruled offside earlier on in the move.

It was obvious to see that the Robins’ system wasn’t working, and Pearson decided he’d seen enough as he switched to a back four minutes before the break.

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Roberts was sacrificed for Jason Knight in the hope of bringing some kind of stability to the team and the tactical switch worked.

On the stroke of half time, the Robins were ahead. Gardner-Hickman lofted in a brilliant free kick, and Dickie was perfectly placed to head down and into the Coventry goal and give Pearson’s side a surprise lead at the break.

The hosts began the second half well. Cam Pring stole possession and played a one-two with Sam Bell, before seeing his shot deflect behind.

A booking for Weimann and a few short stoppages in play dampened the flow of the game somewhat until the hour mark, which suited the hosts.

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Mark Robins’ side, though, soon began to push on in their search for a leveller. Van Enijk’s cross looked destined to be poked home, but Mark Sykes snuffed out the danger with a last-ditch clearance inside his own six-yard box.

The away side continued to control the game but struggled to force their way through a much improved second half display from the Robins.

Deep into added time, the ball was set up for Yasin Ayari to strike from six yards out. The ball looked certain to nestle into the net, but up popped Dickie to throw his frame in front of the effort and block away, to cap off a top display from the defender.

The Robins rode their luck in the first half, but showed the grit and desire required to record the victory.

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