Josh Brownhill scored the only goal of the game as despite, yet another hard-working performance Town bowed out of this season's Emirates FA Cup at the Third Round stage.
Ashton Gate hasn't been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Terriers in recent visits, and the torrid record in the South West continued although the men from HD1 did have chances of their own to go ahead and potentially send the match to a replay in response to Brownhill's strike mid-way through the second-half.
Ahead of the trip to a chilly South Gloucestershire, David Wagner had expressed a need to instill a winning mentality on the back of eight straight league defeats, and named a strong starting XI for the tie against the Sky Bet Championship hosts.
Amongst the notable inclusions was Jason Puncheon, making his Huddersfield Town debut, along with Jon Gorenc Stanković's first start since the Carabao Cup tie at Stoke in August, and Adama Diakhaby, making a first appearance since October.
A quiet start to proceedings; both sides content to work the ball around with a degree of patience, as new recruit Puncheon showed some nice touches and looked to be at ease with his new team-mates.
Town's opening sighting of goal arised as a result of a Puncheon pinpoint cross-field pass to find Chris Löwe in acres of room down the left-flank. The latter delivered for Laurent Depoitre positioned near the front-post, but as the Belgian looked to turn home, a determined home skipper in Bailey Wright had other ideas and strongly got his body in the way to divert out of harms reach.
It was a scrappy cup tie to say the least after 20 minutes had gone. Quality wasn't at its finest with errors from each outfit, both seeing potential counter attacks draw to a sharp close thanks to a combination of wayward finishing, lacklustre passing and a failure to beat the offside trap.
Not a first-half that will live long in the memory, but it was Bristol City who came closest to breaking the deadlock. Ex-Terrier Jack Hunt put a looping ball into the box which landed on the head of Callum O'Dowda. The winger’s initial flick towards goal rattled the crossbar, and as a number of illuminous Town shirts converged to clear, Robins striker Famara Diédhiou somehow muscled his way into frame to head over from a yard as Ben Hamer scrambled to his feet.
City again went close as the break neared. Another ex-Town man, this time in the form of Jamie Paterson, rifled an effort inches over from distance after a neat passage of play had concluded with a loose rebound dropping kindly to the edge of the area.
And it seemed that a rather dull first period had finally sprung to life as that interval crept ever nearer, with a duo of chances; one for each Club.
Firstly, Erik Durm's centre from the by-line having met Jonathan Hogg's flighted through ball was prodded over by the unlucky figure of Depoitre, who had done well to lose the attentions of his marker around the back stick.
Back at the other end, City central defender Adam Webster leapt highest to meet a corner delivery but once again the finish was to be desired, landing way wide of the target.
Adama Diakhaby had seldom been able to use his electric pace to full effect against a deep City backline. As soon as the opportunity presented itself courtesy of a loose pass out from the back by Webster, the winger galloped into the area and played in half-time substitute Alex Pritchard. Pritch tried to turn and fire, but found himself swamped by recovering red shirts and half-hearted shouts for a penalty were waved away by referee Peter Bankes.
Town kept the pressure on to an extent with a flurry of chances to go ahead at Ashton Gate. Diakhaby's cultured ball to the underlapping Chris Löwe saw the latter flash across the face and ultimately the wrong side of the post, as Jonathan Hogg shanked a left-footed effort marginally wide of nestling in the top corner.
The yellow shirts continued to pour forward in search of the opener. It took a Bailey Wright last-ditch clearance off the line to prevent Steve Mounié - another half time replacement - from seeing his committed chip, having beat Mäenpää to the punch, trickle over the line in prime view of the 800 hardy souls who'd travelled from West Yorkshire.
Direct running was causing to be a thorn in the side of the hosts' defensive ranks. This time Pritchard picked the ball up and drove from deep, and with Wright retreating, a good shooting chance went begging as Alex could only place over once more.
Chances missed would prove costly, as Josh Brownhill twisted and turned his way into striking range and powered past Hamer to give Lee Johnson's City a lead which could be said to have been against the balance of play.
Brownhill thought he'd doubled the lead moments later with a stinging right-footed effort that concluded with Ben Hamer confidently batting away from danger.
Town almost snatched a late leveller to send it to a replay. Neither Zanka or Elias Kachunga could force goalwards as legs flailed everywhere to get the definitive touch. The ball was recycled to Isaac Mbenza, and his cross agonisingly evaded everyone and the on-rushing Jon Gorenc Stanković to confirm the Emirates FA Cup exit for this season.
Action continues a week on Saturday with a trip to Cardiff City on the horizon (12 January 2019, 3pm).
Ben Hamer; Chris Löwe, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Mathias Zanka, Erik Durm; Juninho Bacuna (Alex Pritchard, 46'), Jonathan Hogg (c); Elias Kachunga, Jason Puncheon, Adama Diakhaby (Isaac Mbenza, 73'); Laurent Depoitre (Steve Mounié, 46')
Jonas Lössl, Terence Kongolo, Florent Hadergjonaj, Philip Billing
BRISTOL CITY (4-5-1)
Niki Mäenpää; Jay Dasilva, Adam Webster, Bailey Wright (c), Jack Hunt; Niclass Eliasson (Tomas Kalas, 66'), Joe Morrell, Callum O'Dowda, Josh Brownhill, Jamie Paterson (Matty Taylor, 66'); Famara Diédhiou (Andreas Weimann, 77')
Max O'Leary, Lloyd Kelly, Sam Pearson, Mo Eisa