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Bristol City 0-2 Fulham Cham 32 1617 - Bristol Post

last updated Thursday 23rd February 2017, 1:14 PM


Bristol Post
Andy Stockhausen at Bristol Post


Bristol City (0) 0-2 (1) Fulham


Frustrated Bristol City fans turned on beleaguered head coach Lee Johnson after watching their side go down 2-0 to Championship play-off hopefuls Fulham at Ashton Gate.

A goal in each half from Lucas Piazon and Tom Cairney was enough to give the Londoners a comfortable victory on a night when the Robins produced one of their least effective displays of what is rapidly turning into a season to forget.

Perhaps even more than the result, it was the performance that condemned Johnson. City may still be one place and two points clear of the relegation zone, but the pressure is mounting on the young head coach.

Majority shareholder Steve Lansdown could not fail to notice the reaction of the home crowd, a larger percentage of which chanted "we want Johnson out" immediately after Fulham went 2-0 ahead early in the second half.

Given that City are next in action at Championship leaders Newcastle United on Saturday and then travel to Aston Villa four days later, it is difficult to see how they can come back from such a lacklustre showing against a Fulham side that won at a canter.

Superior in just about every department, the visitors could and should have won by a wider margin, while the Robins scarcely troubled Cottagers goalkeeper David Button. Beaten in ten of their last 13 Championship outings, City are still to show they what it takes to stage a concerted recovery and pull clear of the bottom three.

Johnson urged his players to disrupt Fulham's supply lines and not allow the visitors to find a rhythm. In the event, his words went unheeded as City backed off and allowed the Londoners to move the ball about with ease.

Such circumspection rendered the home crowd muted and Fulham, encouraged to move the ball at will, were able to play through the ranks of red shirts from the very outset.

The writing was on the wall long before Piazon benefitted from Cairney's incisive through ball, surging into the penalty area and steadying himself before sliding his shot between Fabian Giefer and the far post to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

There was a hint of offside, but City could have no complaints, having stood off and steadfastly refused to engage their opponents in the centre of midfield.

Fulham continued to create clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities at will and City had a narrow escape when Neeskins Kebano burst through the middle and beat Giefer with a shot that went in off the inside of an upright, only for his celebrations to be cut short by a linesman's off-side flag.

And the home side were again fortunate to survive moments before half time, fleet-footed teenager Ryan Sessegnon ghosting in behind Adam Matthews and sliding his angled shot inches beyond the far post with City's defence at sixes and sevens.

City supporters made their feeling crystal clear, chanting Lee Tomlin's name and greeting the half time whistle with a chorus of boos.

They certainly had a point, having watched their side struggle to beat Fulham's press, let alone seriously test Cottagers keeper David Button during a first half that ranked alongside their least effective displays of the season.

Johnson responded by withdrawing the ineffective Brownhill and replacing him with Bobby Reid in a like-for-like exchange at the start of the second half.

By the time he replaced Adam Matthews with Tomlin in the 57th minute, Fulham were two goals to the good and operating in cruise control.

Matthews was at fault needlessly giving the ball away to Kebano, whose short pass invited Cairney to curl a delicious shot beyond Giefer and into the far corner of the net from just inside the 18 yard area.

No sooner had Fulham doubled their lead than the mood inside Ashton Gate turned ugly, some City fans openly calling for the head coach to be sacked.

Tomlin's introduction served to raise the tempo and even suggested the possibility of a City recovery, but they simply lacked the finesse needed to make things happen in the final third.

Matty Taylor crucially delayed his shot and saw his effort blocked, while Milan Djuric was narrowly off-target with a half-volley that fizzed wide. But the truth of the matter was that Fulham were comfortable in defending their lead and seeing the game out.























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