Liam Fontaine did more than break his senior duck with the header that rescued a point for Bristol City in this highly-charged encounter. He also put his manager Gary Johnson in the shop window by coming up with a quick fire response to Jay Bothroyd's first-half goal for a fully committed Wolverhampton Wanderers. So bemused was Johnson by the central defender's failure to get on the score-sheet while playing for him at Yeovil town or Ashton Gate that he promised several weeks ago to bare his backside in Burton's when he finally did so.
Fontaine and a few hundred shoppers in Bristol's Broadmead Centre will now see whether the Londoner is as true to his word as his side are in proving their durability in the pursuit of leaders Watford.
"I've got to check with my lawyer what I actually said," Johnson smiled, "but it was on local TV and I might be struggling. We motivate players in different ways and this is one way that has interested people because of the publicity it had. I will do it and have a couple of days to think how."
As if there was not enough at stake in the meeting of clubs standing fifth and second, extra needle had developed around Michael McIndoe's pre-match justification of his summer move to Bristol. The winger has more than once irritated his former Wolves colleagues in recent months with his comments and there was much vitriol from the stands for the player as well as close attention on the pitch, with Michael Kightly warned by his manager to calm down after one heated chase.
A poor final ball cost both teams before and after Wolves went ahead in the 22nd minute. Darren Ward's header to Kightly's corner was not cleared, leaving Bothroyd to strike a low first-time left-foot volley through a cluster of players from 16-yards.
Stephen Ward then headed over and Bothroyd saw a 30-yard shot saved, only for Wolves to be exposed at the back, as it were, after 28 minutes. McIndoe swung over a free-kick from the right and Fontaine was given yards of room to loop in a header from close range "It was a lousy goal to give away," said the Wolves manager Mick McCarthy.
"Bristol are a good side but to have lost two points to them like that really disappoints me. Their guy had enough space to put a bungalow on for his retirement. The first half was as good as we have played. This should have been home and hosed." McCarthy's mood was not helped by his players delaying shots from the chances they continued to create.
Ward's tentative finish following Adriano Basso's fumble of Kightly's centre struck Bradley Orr near the line and Karl Henry was guilty of taking several touches too many as a promising run came to nothing.
Bristol were impressive in the second half. Darren Byfield dragged wide from a good opening and, before a flurry of bookings including Kightly, Marvin Elliott brought a spectacular leap and catch from Wayne Hennessey with a 30-yarder.
A draw was a fair result, although Darren Ward might have won it for Wolves with a header that Basso turned over with a flourish following a Kightly corner.Reuse content