TOWN 1 BRISTOL CITY 2
David Wagner's second home game in charge of the Terriers ended in defeat as Bristol City struck twice in the first half to make sure that the points would be returning back to South Gloucestershire.
On the back of another impressive display in the 2-0 win at Birmingham last Saturday, Town named all but one of the same squad that started against the Blues and Middlesbrough; Jonathan Hogg making his first start in three months in the place of the injured Dean Whitehead. Martin Cranie made his 300th league start on a gloomy day at the John Smith's Stadium.
Wagner's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation was once again the focal point for the Terriers, who sat 18th before play commenced; three places higher than the visitors, who tasted defeat at the hands of Blackburn in their last outing.
Unusually for the Terriers, the start to the game was poor - with Town not controlling possession as Wagner would have liked.
As a result, it was Steve Cotterill's outfit who broke the deadlock in the opening ten minutes. Highly rated striker Jonathan Kodjia glanced City ahead after turning in a Marlon Pack free-kick; Town failed to pick up the Frenchman's run as well as failing to deal with the pace and whip of Pack's delivery. 0-1 after eight minutes.
It didn't take long for Town to have a possibility of drawing level; Luke Ayling clumsily brought down Nahki Wells in the box after a lovely through ball from Joe Lolley. All that hard work was scuppered after Frank Fielding denied Emyr Huws' resulting effort from the spot, seemingly injuring himself in the process. That was a big chance for Town who found clear-cut opportunities hard to come by in the first period. Ben Chilwell was the only Town player to really test Fielding after the penalty incident, but the intent to press and get forward quickly was still there to see.
City countered Town's potential threat by changing to a 4-5-1, getting bodies behind the ball and stemming any chance Town had of getting the equaliser.
With Town continuing to probe, it was the Robins who grabbed the vital second goal through Aden Flint. The tall defender drifted to the back post unchallenged, and among the supporters' claims of offside, steered his header over a helpless Jed Steer into the far corner.
It could've been even worse for Town had Aaron Wilbraham found the net shortly before; an effort drew an excellent diving save from the on-loan Terriers' keeper.
Wilbraham then missed another glorious chance to put the Reds 3-0 to the good, but he couldn't latch on to the end of an Elliott Bennett centre; leaving Town relieved to head in only the two goals down.
The introduction of Ishmael Miller bolstered Town's physical presence up top against the Robins' tough defensive unit, but it was Sean Scannell's work down the right which brought the first major chance of the second period; he put the ball in a dangerous area across the six-yard box, only to evade the on-coming Nahki Wells by a matter of inches.
Chances were again few and far between; bright spark Joe Lolley hitting the woodwork midway through another highlight in a half which Town had to be patient against the men from Ashton Gate. City sat deep, and Town's incisive attacking play was slightly altered due to a firm back-line reducing any effect of through balls.
Jed Steer nearly contributed to his own downfall shortly after the Lolley chance, misplacing a pass way short of his target Martin Cranie; nearly gifting Luke Freeman a goal, but he blazed over from distance.
Substitute Kyle Dempsey hit the side netting after a neat turn from Harry Bunn on the edge of the box, but still The Terriers continued to attack to no avail.
Town's comeback was given a major lifeline after Harry Bunn produced a 30-yard thunderbolt to reduce the deficit. Out of nowhere, the attacker collected a pass and turned goalwards before unleashing an astounding long range drive that beat Fielding on its way into the top corner.
With the atmosphere becoming ever more buoyant, Kyle Dempsey then squandered a golden chance to grab the equalising goal after he couldn't find a way past Fielding from six yards after good work from Miller.
That was the biggest chance Wagner's side had of getting something from a game in which the Gloucestershire side did all it could to nullify the Yorkshire Club's potent in front of goal.
Town's team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; Ben Chilwell, Martin Cranie, Mark Hudson, Tommy Smith; Emyr Huws (Kyle Dempsey, 17), Jonathan Hogg; Joe Lolley, Jamie Paterson (Ishmael Miller, 46), Sean Scannell; Nahki Wells (Harry Bunn, 61)
Lloyd Allinson, Jason Davidson, Murray Wallace, Mustapha Carayol