Chris Martin fires Bristol City to derby win at Cardiff
Bristol City went second in the Sky Bet Championship thanks to a 1-0 Severnside derby win over rivals Cardiff which was secured by Chris Martin’s early goal.
Dean Holden’s side are likely to be overtaken by either Norwich or Swansea on Saturday, but this was a gritty win for the men from Ashton Gate, who have had a fine start to the season.
Cardiff had chances to respond in either half, but they paid the price both for missing those opportunities and for conceding a poor early goal.
The Bluebirds reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sheyi Ojo replacing Robert Glatzel.
Bristol were without striker Famara Diedhiou after he tested positive for Covid-19.
The visitors wore ‘Stay Strong Tarty’ t-shirts in the warm-up as a message of support for Phil Tart, City’s equipment manager of 20 years who is unwell.
Bristol made the perfect start and went ahead in just the second minute.
Striker Martin tapped home Antoine Semenyo’s cross inside the six-yard box, with the Cardiff defence static. It was Martin’s first Championship goal this season.
Junior Hoilett had a cross clawed away and Kieffer Moore went close with a header from Marlon Pack’s corner, which required a fine save from Daniel Bentley.
Harry Wilson shot over twice either side of Bentley saving well from Moore. The Bristol goalkeeper did not know the giant Cardiff striker had been penalised for handling the ball.
Leandro Bacuna was the next to test Bentley from range and Moore headed a corner over. To add insult to injury, Moore collided nastily with the post following his miss.
It meant Bristol went to the break ahead thanks to their only shot of the half.
Former Bristol man Pack was booked for a foul on Nahki Wells when the game resumed.
Cardiff’s passing was poor at the start of the second half, but Wilson did have a header saved.
Curtis Nelson also headed over as Ojo made way for Glatzel, who joined Moore in attack with Cardiff switching to a 4-4-2 formation.
Callum O’Dowda had a rare Bristol effort deflected over, but the Cardiff chances kept coming. Joe Ralls could not get over a shot he should have converted, albeit with his weaker right foot.
Chris Brunt replaced Wells as Bristol City looked to shore up their lead.
It worked as, although Cardiff had more of the ball and went direct with both Moore and Glatzel in attack, they could not get back on level terms.
No Cardiff player got on the end of Pack’s fine free-kick and Moore had yet another header saved, which summed up the home side’s evening and their struggles so far this season.
Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Smithies – who was virtually redundant in the second half – went up for a corner in added time, but even that made no difference.