Monday, May 27, 2024

Blackburn in big bother after Bristol City battering

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Apr 2024

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Tommy Conway netted a first-half brace as Bristol City increased Blackburn’s relegation fears with a thumping 5-0 Championship win at Ashton Gate.

The striker capitalised on a bad error by Dominic Hyam to race clear and shoot low past Aynsley Pears for his 10th goal of the season in the 24th minute.

Seven minutes later Conway sent Pears the wrong way from the penalty spot after a mistake by Callum Brittain had led to Hyam bringing down Mark Sykes inside the box.

Substitute Anis Mehmeti capitalised on yet more weak defending by Hyam to fire in the third in the 73rd minute and another replacement, Nahki Wells, drilled home a 78th-minute penalty after Blackburn substitute Kyle McFadzean had handled.

Wells completed the rout with a stoppage time tap-in from Harry Cornick’s cross and the thrashing left hapless Rovers just three points above the drop zone with four games to play.

City head coach Liam Manning made three changes, bringing in Ross McCrorie, Joe Williams and Conway for Matty James, Mehmeti and Wells.

They faced a Blackburn side featuring goal machine Sammie Szmodics, eager to show Ashton Gate fans his skills after a disappointing spell as a City player in 2019.

The hosts made a blistering start, Scott Twine twice going close in the opening six minutes. The midfielder shot wide from a short Haydon Roberts free-kick and then had an acrobatic volley blocked.

Blackburn flickered as an attacking force as City goalkeeper Max O’Leary dealt with two tame efforts from Dilan Markanday and one from Joe Rankin-Costello.

But the home side looked more threatening and Conway’s opening goal came as no surprise. They could have been out of sight at the break as Rovers continued to make sloppy defensive errors.

After the penalty, Conway was presented with a hat-trick chance by Harry Pickering’s short back-pass, but was denied by a sprawling Pears save.

Sykes had chipped wide when clear through the middle and Manning’s men looked altogether sharper than their mistake-prone opponents.

Blackburn head coach John Eustace reacted by making four half-time substitutions, sending on John Buckley, McFadzean, Andy Moran and Ben Chrisene for Markanday, Tyrhys Dolan, Scott Wharton and Rankin-Costello.

Still the next goal effort of note came from the home side after 69 minutes when Jason Knight shot wide at the end of a slick move.

A better chance fell to Szmodics two minutes later, but he could only shoot wide after good control on the edge of the box. Manning responded by sending on Mehmeti, Wells and Cornick for Twine, Sykes and Conway.

Within seconds Mehmeti had settled any doubt about the outcome and Wells’ two late goals put the icing on the cake of City’s biggest Championship win of the season.

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