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Match Reports

Lions lose out in Bristol

Our take from Ashton Gate...

2 January 2022

Millwall were defeated 3-2 by Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship on Sunday afternoon at Ashton Gate.

Tom Bradshaw's fifth goal in five matches and a Benik Afobe penalty-kick turned the game on its head after The Lions fell one behind in BS3, but an Andreas Weimann hat-trick secured all three points for The Robins.

Gary Rowett made one enforced change from the side which defeated Coventry City on Wednesday night, as Benik Afobe came into the starting XI at the expense of Mason Bennett, who missed out through illness.

The Lions were also only able to name just six substitutes on the bench, with Academy pair Nana Boateng and Zak Lovelace amongst them.

An opportunity presented itself to The Lions with just three minutes on the clock, but as Alex Pearce's lofted free-kick caused the ball to bounce around in the penalty area, Bristol City goalkeeper Max O'Leary was able to claim.

Four minutes later, however, The Lions found themselves behind as Weimann was able to capitalise on some slack defending and a weak clearance from Bartosz Bialkowski to strike home from outside the area.

Afobe looked to run onto a through-ball as the clock struck 10 minutes, but his touch was heavy and allowed O'Leary to gather, before a passage of passing play saw Billy Mitchell strike from distance, but his attempt sailed over.

Bialkowski had to save from Antoine Semenyo as the attacker shook off the close attentions of Shaun Hutchinson to strike on the 20-minute mark, and that was to prove pivotal as The Lions were to equalise three minutes later, as Bradshaw nodded home a superb Murray Wallace cross for his fifth consecutive goal.

On 29 minutes, the turnaround was complete as The Lions were able to nudge themselves in front after the attacking power of Afobe won Millwall a penalty-kick - Ryley Towler hacking down the frontman as he advanced into the box. Afobe picked himself up to send O'Leary the wrong way and put Millwall into the lead.

The Lions were picking the ball up in the midfield and creating chances as the first-half wore on, with the next falling at the feet of Murray Wallace six minutes from the break, but after cutting inside, his right-footed curler went wide of O'Leary's far post. There was one final chance for Bristol City in stoppage-time, but Ayman Benarous' shot from outside the box was wild and failed to trouble Bialkowski. At the other end, meanwhile, Hutchinson met a George Saville corner with his head on the edge of the six-yard box, but it was straight at O'Leary.

Bialkowski was called into action with just three minutes played in the second-half as the stopper saved well from City goalscorer Weimann, who struck at goal from inside the area, before The Lions were able to clear the resulting danger.

Billy Mitchell's effort on goal whistled just over the crossbar on 58 minutes, before a short spell of pressure from The Robins ended with Alex Scott scuffing an attempt into the arms of Bialkowski. Bristol City substitute Han-Noah Massengo then drilled a low shot into the diving goalkeeper, before a delightful pass from Danny McNamara found the run of Afobe, but solid defending from Cameron Pring prevented the attacker from getting a shot on goal.

With 17 minutes to play, however, came the equaliser as Weimann was able to turn a cross home from Massengo and find the back of the net.

With both sides probing for a potential winner, Millwall were able to win back possession with six minutes to play, but failure from Saville to spot the unmarked Afobe inside the area meant The Lions could not get a shot away. Just seconds later, The Robins were to take a late lead as Weimann completed his hat-trick after turning a rebound home from the edge of the six-yard box following a block from the combination of Bialkowski and McNamara on the line.

Bradshaw's dipping header rippled the side-netting with 90 seconds to play as Millwall looked to get themsevles back into proceedings once again, but they were unable to find an equaliser in four minutes of stoppage-time, slipping to defeat.

Bristol City: O'Leary, James, O'Dowda, Weimann, Pring, Semenyo (Wells 90+4'), Kalas, Vyner, Towler (Massengo 46'), Scott, Benarous (Martin 46'). Subs not used: Bentley, Dasilva, Atkinson, Conway.

Scorer: Weimann 7' 73' 85'

Booking: Towler, O'Dowda, Semenyo, Wells

Millwall: Bialkowski, McNamara, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Bradshaw, Ojo (Evans 68'), Pearce (Smith 88'), Saville, Afobe, B. Mitchell (Malone 88'). Subs not used: Long, Boateng, Lovelace.

Scorer: Bradshaw 23', Afobe pen 29'

Booking: Cooper, Afobe

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 18,033 (831)

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