Bristol City were defeated 1-0 by EFL Championship promotion hopeful’s Ipswich Town at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night.
Nathan Broadhead’s arrowing effort in the 16th minute sent the visitors into the break with a well deserved lead, after captain Sam Morsy struck the post moments before the whistle.
City came out fighting after halftime, and went close through Tommy Conway and Rob Dickie, before Harry Cornick saw his effort bounce off the post and roll across the goalline before Brandon Williams cleared away.
Nigel Pearson’s side move down to 13th in the table, and will face Cardiff City in the Severnside derby on Saturday.
The hosts made a positive start in front of an electric Ashton Gate, Taylor Gardner-Hickman picked up a loose ball in midfield and Sam Bell fizzed 25-yard pot-shot was gathered by Vaclav Hladky.
City were keen to put their opponents under pressure early on, which saw several Ipswich players make sloppy errors while in possession.
The visitors, though, soon began to assert themselves, as they managed to play around the City press smoothly.
However, the first clear chance fell to the Robins. Andi Weimann found a pocket of space and picked out Mark Sykes, who delivered a pinpoint cross onto the forehead of Conway. The Scot met the ball perfectly but his effort landed straight at the feet of Hladky.
The chance seemed to spark the Tractor Boys into life, and it took two top saves from Max O’Leary to deny first Conor Chaplin and then Massimo Luongo from opening the scoring.
Kieran McKenna’s side began to turn the screw, and got the goal that their start deserved on the 16 minute mark.
Broadhead was allowed too much space on the edge of the area, touched the ball out of his feet and fired a venomous low shot into the bottom left corner of the City goal.
The response was positive from Pearson’s side, and they would’ve been level on the half hour mark if not for some brilliant acrobatics from Hladky.
Gardner-Hickman ran into the open space on the edge of the Town box and curled an early effort towards the top corner. The Czech keeper was unsighted but got a strong left hand up to tip the shot over.
McKenna’s side then began to dictate the tempo of the match to suit them and frustrate Pearson’s side.
Cam Pring’s poor pass was intercepted by Morsy, who clipped a pass in behind for George Hurst to latch onto.
The attacker took a couple of touches and fired across O’Leary, but the Republic of Ireland international reacted swiftly to tip past the post.
On the stroke of halftime, Ipswich almost doubled their lead. Following a counterattack, the loose ball sat up for Morsy, who struck an arrowing effort towards O’Leary’s top right corner. The effort crashed off the post and to City’s relief, went behind for a goal kick.
The Blues came out for the second period in search of a second goal to kill the game, and almost got one just moments in.
Luongo’s delicate chipped pass set Leif Davis away on goal, the Englishman held off Sykes and struck across O’Leary, but yet again, the City keeper stuck out a hand to push away.
The hosts began to enjoy their own spell of dominance and went close to an equaliser through a low free kick from Conway, the shot seemed to take Hladky by surprise but the goalkeeper gathered at the second attempt.
McKenna’s side were seemingly content with keeping possession as they struggled to make inroads high up the pitch, which spurred the City players and fans on.
Ephraim Yeboah and Cornick were introduced to try adding some spark to their attack, and the latter couldn’t believe his misfortune when his left footed attempt rebounded off Hladky’s back from the post and rolled three yards across the white of the goal line in the visiting goal before eventually being cleared.
City tried to force the issue through Dickie and Yeboah late on, but despite a spirited performance, the Robins went down narrow losers.