‘Solid ‘Nuisance’ - Bristol City player ratings v Norwich as Robins go nine unbeaten
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Bristol City maintained their unbeaten start to the New Year as they beat Norwich City 1-0 to stretch their unbeaten run across all competitions to nine.
Mark Sykes scored his fourth goal in four games, netting in the 23rd minute, as the Robins made their early pressure count. Joe Williams - the only change from the win against Preston - displaced Gabriel Sara, and that allowed Pring to slide in Sykes who let fly from inside the box that had too much power for Angus Gunn.
Norwich sought a response and Max O’Leary had to dive down low to deny and palm his effort around the post to stop the Finland international Teemu Pukki from equalising. In the second-half Rob Atkinson made a telling block to deny Gabriel Sara from getting the Canaries back on level terms.
City had opportunities to increase their advantage, the introduction of both Anis Mehmeti and Harry Cornick brought on a fresh outlook but Mehmeti couldn’t hit the target with his chance and Cornick was denied in a one-on-one. It was a second-half that brought very few chances but Nigel Pearson’s side saw out the game well.
The victory for the Robins moves them up five places from 18th to 13th, and they are now 10 points clear of the drop zone, and only seven points off of the play-offs. As for Norwich, they are non-movers in the Championship, remaining in 10th.
Max O’Leary - 7
Assured between the sticks, claimed crosses when he needed to and made a good sav from Teemu Pukki.
George Tanner - 8
Pring might get more of the plaudits for his assist, but Tanner put on a solid performance on his side. He closed out Onel Hernandez well, ushering him out of lay and kept the Canaries quiet.
Zak Vyner - 7
Another assured performance from Vyner, who was rarely troubled by Pukki, who is regarded as one of the best strikers in the Championship.
Rob Atkinson - 7
A tremendous block to deny Gabriel Sara who should have buried his chance. Assured alongside his centre-back partner. Solid.
Cam Pring - 8
Superb piece of tracking back to stop Teemu Pukki, who was played in for a good goalscoring opportunity. He set up Mark Sykes for his goal and put in a well-rounded performance. A nuisance for the Norwich attackers.
Matty James - 7
James continued to assume the role of the midfielder whose work goes under the radar. City did well on the counter and he acted as a good layer of protection for the midfield.
Alex Scott (subbed off, 81) - 7
A bit of rough and tumble for Scott, who in the first-half got clattered and required treatment. He did well to avoid a booking given Norwich will have been aware of his trickery.
Joe Williams - 7
Assumed the role of Kal Naismith, who could have been a big miss, but Williams managed the game well, and was involved in the opening goal. He was shown a yellow card for a scuffle with Max Aarons, but can be applauded for keeping his cool.
Mark Sykes (subbed off, 88) - 8
Sykes is the man in-form at the minute, scoring goal after goal after being tried further up the pitch. He took his goal well with a clinical finish and also delivered some good crosses.
Nahki Wells (subbed off, 60) - 6
Wells showed some early promise and pressed the defenders well, but other than his header, did not get many attempts on goal.
Sam Bell (subbed off, 60) - 6
Bell’s been in good form as of late, but it was down the right-hand side that things happened for City in attack. He was subbed off on the hour, in a straight-forward swap.
Anis Mehmeti (subbed on, 60) - 6
Mehmeti wasn’t afraid to take on his man and the fans have already adopted a song for him. He came on hoping to help contribute to a second but Norwich made it difficult.
Harry Cornick (subbed on, 60) - 6
A good opportunity for the deadline day signing to open his account but Gunn denied him in a one-on-one.
Andi Weimann (subbed on, 81) - N/A
The Robins captain entered the pitch to replace Scott, who was beginning to get tired. Weimann played a few crosses in to his teammates, but they couldn’t find that second.
Tomas Kalas (subbed on, 88) - N/A
Another cameo appearance for Kalas, who came on to sure things up at the back and secure a clean sheet.