19 September 2023

Bristol City coast to first home win of season with victory over Plymouth

19 September 2023

Bristol City coasted to their first home Sky Bet Championship victory of the season after a comfortable 4-1 demolition of west-country rivals Plymouth at Ashton Gate.

Sam Bell set them on their way to victory with a third minute opener before Matty James doubled the advantage with eight minutes on the clock.

Adam Randall pulled one back for Argyle after 26 minutes but the Robins wrapped up victory with further strikes from Mark Sykes and Harry Cornick.

The home side went in front when Kal Naismith played a short corner to Joe Williams and his near-post cross was fired home by young striker Bell with a first-time finish.

It was 2-0 on six minutes later when Sykes broke away and cut the ball back for James to shoot into the roof of the net from six yards.

The Robins completely dominated the opening exchanges and they could have gone 3-0 up after 10 minutes when Bell’s shot from a central position was saved by Hazard with an outstretched leg.

Argyle could not handle City’s front three of Bell, Nahki Wells and Sykes, to the dismay of their packed ranks of travelling fans behind the goal.

Sykes headed wide from another good chance and Cameron Pring was high and wide when getting on the end of Naismith’s far -post corner.

Argyle replied after 26 minutes, Randall finding the bottom corner with a low drive from just outside the box.

But seven minutes later Jason Knight’s superb crossfield ball allowed Sykes to race clear and send a sweet right-footed shot past Conor Hazard.

The Pilgrims missed a great chance to reduce the deficit again when Ben Waine shot wide following a poor clearance by City goalkeeper Max O’Leary.

The visitors left the field at the break to jeers from their supporters, who had chanted “This is embarrassing” as the half time whistle approached.

Argyle boss Steven Schumacher responded by sending on Jordan Houghton and Morgan Whittaker for Lewis Warrington and Tyreik Wright at the start of the second half.

The game became more of a contest, but City continued to create the clearer openings and Bell shot just wide on 52 minutes. Both managers made liberal use of their substitutes’ benches as the half progressed.

Substitute Cornick completed a resounding victory, shooting home from Naismith’s through ball 10 minutes from time.

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