Bristol City. . . .1
POWER FAILURE had played a prominent part in this FA Cup tie and Liverpool suffered one of their own last night surrendering this third-round replay to Brian Tinnion's second-half goal.
Bristol City now go to Stockport County for Saturday's fourth round while Liverpool face the prospect of another season bereft of honours. A Uefa Cup place via the League is a remote possibility but attention, inevitably, will turn to Graeme Souness's position as manager.
As the home players left the field they were greeted with a barrage of boos and shouts of 'Souness out'. To the Kop's credit, their attention was not so one-eyed that it rested only on their own problems and they gave the First Division side a standing ovation.
The visitors thoroughly deserved it. They had been the equal of their supposed betters before their first meeting at Ashton Gate was cut short after an hour by floodlight failure and Liverpool had been more relieved with the 1-1 draw in the replayed match seven days ago. Losing home advantage did not encourage meekness and Bristol were the better side last night until Liverpool's desperation to get an equaliser in the last 15 minutes gave them the upper hand. By then it was too late.
'I wondered whether they could raise their game for a third match,' Russell Osman, the City manager, said. 'To be honest I don't know where they got the passion and commitment from. To go on to the pitch at the end and be applauded by the Kop was wonderful. It will be something I and the players will treasure all our lives.'
'We were outfought by a team who thoroughly deserve to be in the next round,' Souness said. Asked about his supporters' response, he added: 'I will have to wait for the cold light of day to answer that.'
The warning signs for Liverpool were evident in the opening minutes when Rob Edwards and Liam Robinson both had opportunities. The former shot wide while the latter was denied only by Bruce Grobbelaar's save low to his right but neither incident encouraged confidence in Liverpool's defence.
It caved in after 66 minutes, largely due to the weight of Bristol chances bearing down on them. Some referees would have sent off Grobbelaar when he handled outside his area to halt Junior Bent on the hour but, fortunately for the Liverpool goalkeeper, Mr Bodenham flourished the yellow rather than the red card.
Immediately afterwards Bent missed a better opportunity when Dave Martin found him unattended in the Liverpool area. The winger had missed three chances in the second match at Ashton Gate and he was profligate again, volleying over from close range. That let-off for Liverpool proved temporary, for City took the lead with their next attack. Wayne Allison, the 6ft 1in spearhead of the Bristol attack, may not be the most graceful footballer in England but he uses his bulk and height to great effect and he withstood two challenges before being rewarded when the ball bounced clear to Tinnion, who turned and shot from 16 yards, beating Grobbelaar with a curling left-foot shot.
Little had been seen of Liverpool's attack by this point and, indeed, they had not figured significantly in their best chance before the Bristol goal. John Barnes's 10th- minute corner was flapped at by the goalkeeper Keith Welch and then an attempted clearance by a Bristol defender looped dangerously near to his own posts until Martin Scott headed off the line.
A goal behind, however, they poured forward, Don Hutchison forcing a diving save to his right from Welch. Steve Harkness also had two long-range efforts but, for all the huffing and puffing, there was no real indication that the Bristol house was about to fall down.
It was entirely appropriate, therefore, that the match should conclude with the visitors on the offensive, Glenn Pennyfather hitting a low shot that Grobbelaar saved only with a reflex lunge to his left.
'I kept trying to give a team talk at half-time,' Osman said, 'but all I could hear was Tinnion saying he was going to score.' And so it came to pass.
Liverpool (4-4-2): Grobbelaar; Jones, Ruddock, Nicol, Harkness; McManaman, Redknapp (Hutchison, h/t), Clough, Walters; Rush, Barnes. Substitutes not used: James (gk), Bjornebye.
Bristol City (4-4-2): Welch; Llewellyn, Shail, Munro, Scott; Bent (Pennyfather, 81), Edwards, Martin, Tinnion; Robinson, Allison. Substitutes not used: Leaning (gk), Rosenior.
Referee: M Bodenham (East Looe).
FA Cup Countdown, page 34
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