Milan Djuric scored the only goal as Bristol City narrowly beat Ipswich Town 1-0 at Ashton Gate.
The result leaves the home side only one point behind Middlesbrough who occupy the final play-off spot. Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town have now failed to score in their last three matches.
Both sides were missing key players with Joe Bryan and Aden Flint still suspended for the home side whilst the travellers were without Joe Garner who has suffered a fractured skull, ruling him out for the rest for the rest of the season.
Following the torrid weather conditions in the first half, neither side managed to get a foot on the ball or have much control where their crosses were going as the snow poured down over Bristol. A half that didn’t provide many clear cut chances, a tame shot from inform Bobby Reid and a looping header from Martyn Waghorn meant the sides were level at the half-time break.
Lee Johnson had seen enough, readying the Bosnian international Milan Djruic replaced Famara Diedhou just before the hour mark. The Senegal striker failed to get into the match and create much space for himself with the Tractor Boys opting for a formation that was based around a tight back four.
Jens Hegeler was introduced for the first time this season in the after Hordur Magnusson was forced to withdrawal early after picking up a nasty head injury.
Djuric came close minutes after his introduction. Marlon Pack ended a surging run through the middle of midfield with a 30 yard strike towards goal which Bartosz Bialkowski fumbled, leaving a clear goal. However, the target man was only able to loop it over the goal as well as the stranded goalkeeper.
It didn’t take long for another opportunity to come the way of the former Cesena player, young academy wing-back Lloyd Kelly played an inch perfect ball right on his head. The striker glanced the ball towards Bialkowski’s near post giving the home side the lead in the 64th minute.
Kelly was in inspired form throughout the game, it was only the Bristolians second competitive start for the club. His fine performance earned him the man of the match upon final whistle.
Since being a goal down, the Tractor Boys responded well and managed to create some promising opportunities but were unable to make them count.
Gary O’Neil also made his first appearance of the season for the Robins since coming back from injury. The former Norwich player replaced Jamie Paterson with just under ten minutes left to play.
With six minutes of added time announced by the fourth official, the away side increasing the pressure on City’s goal. The home fans nervousness of the fans increased, fresh memories of letting leads slip against Leeds and Sunderland of recent times. However, Lee Johnson’s side stood firm and dealt with the questions that the Suffolk side threw at them.
Bristol City XI:
Fielding (GK); Pisano, Wright (c), Magnusson (Hegeler 71), Kelly; Brownhill, Pack, Smith, Paterson; Reid, Diedhou (Djuric 54).
Diony, Kent, Walsh, Wollacott (GK).
Ipswich Town XI:
Bialkowski (GK), Carter-Vickers, Chambers (c), Webster, Knudsen, Spence; Ward (Celina 83), Skuse, Connoly; Sears (Morris 90), Waghorn.
Crowe (GK), Drinan, Gleeson, Hyam, Kenlock.
Referee: Steven England