City head towards safety as leaders stumble
Bristol City 2 Southampton 0
All runs come to an end, as Kip Keino could have informed the Championship pacesetters. The great steeplechaser was introduced to the Ashton Gate crowd at half-time and then sat back and watched as Southampton proceeded to upend themselves over a not-inconsiderable obstacle.
Bristol City were well worthy of the three points and, with four wins out of six since Derek McInnes took charge, warrant stepping to the brink of the safety zone. In contrast, this was Southampton's first defeat in a nine-game spell which had brought 20 points from a possible 24 – and was also the first time they had failed to score all season. However, their manager was philosophical.
"We haven't lost before this in nine games," said Nigel Adkins. "If we maintain that ratio we'll do OK. For long periods we had control, but we didn't have that cutting edge. The lads have been flying in training. It just didn'thappen today."
It certainly did for City and McInnes. It has been since he arrived last month, or at least since he lost his first game in charge. "It hasbeen better than I expected," said the Scot.
Both City goals were fortuitous, coming from big deflections, but it would have been churlish to append "lucky" to this victory. In truth, the home side should have wrested the advantage in the first half, although the visitors had a few shouts, most notably when the City goalkeeper, David James, repelled Adam Lallana.
Otherwise it was City grievances, with the excellent Albert Adomah and Nicky Maynard coming close and Kelvin Davis almost spinning a Ryan McGivern cross into hisown net.
But the best chance went to Stephen Pearson. Played in by Neil Kilkenny, the left-winger rounded Davis, but his touch was too eager and the angle thus became too prohibitive. The deadlock-breaker duly arrived in the 48th minute when a wicked deflection gifted Adomah the goal his performance deserved. With chances coming at either end, City put the game beyond doubt in the 84th minute. Again it owed plenty to a Southampton touch. Jose Fonte put himself in the way of substitute Brett Pitman's feet and saw the ball loop over Davis.
The look on the face of Keino, the two-time Olympic medallist in the city as part of the Kenyan delegation checking out the facilities for their London 2012 training base, showed how greatly he approved. The Championship is a long-distance contest, not a sprint.
Bristol City (4-5-1): James; Skuse, Fontaine, Nyatanga, McGivern; Adomah, Elliott, Cissé (Woolford, 61), Kilkenny, Pearson (Wilson, 76); Maynard (Pitman, 87).
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld,Fox; Chaplow (Schneiderlin, 7), Hammond (Barnard, 78), Cork, Lallana; Lambert, Guly (De Ridder, 64).
Referee Chris Sarginson.
Man of the match Adomah (Bristol City).
Match rating 6/10.
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