Bristol City 4-0 Huddersfield Six Things: Hogg’s importance

Tammy celebrates the Robins’ second – bbc.co.uk

Bristol City helped their survival chances with a 4-0 win over promotion-chasing Huddersfield Town. They got their goals from Lee Tomlin, Tammy Abraham, Aden Flint and a David Cotterill penalty – but what have we learnt from the game?

Hogg’s importance

In a way, this was the game that best demonstrates Jonathan Hogg’s importance to Huddersfield Town – not because of his contributions on the field, but because of the team’s woes in his absence. He received medical attention for 14 minutes after an early tussle with Lee Tomlin, but thankfully his injury is not as serious as first feared. The more forward-thinking Phillip Billing came on in Hogg’s place and thus, Huddersfield did not have the gritty defensive qualities which offer the likes of Aaron Mooy the platform to perform.

Bristol City pressed well

Bristol City exploited the vulnerabilities of Hogg-less Huddersfield superbly. Gary O’Neil used his experience well in midfield while Marlon Pack was quick to second balls. Abraham harried from the front, ably-supported by Tomlin who added effort to his enigmatic effervescency. The ex-Middlesbrough man robbed a sluggish Mark Hudson in possession and quickly rounded Danny Ward to tap home. Throughout all the questions over Lee Johnson’s position, this did not look like a team that was not playing for their head coach.

Impressive wide men

Wide men David Cotterill and Callum O’Dowda pinned full-backs Chris Loewe and Tommy Smith into their defensive third in the first half. Cotterill set up first half efforts from O’Neil and Pack, so it was of little surprise that he assisted the second goal, just after Rajiv Van La Parra forced a save from Frank Fielding. Tammy Abraham feinted to peel off to the back-post then darted to the near to glance home another sumptuous delivery from Cotterill.

Quaner offered a focal point

With two substitutions having been made early, David Wagner was reluctant to make his third and final change, despite the lack of urgency from his side in the first 22 minutes of the second half. The 67th-minute introduction of Collin Quaner, who gave Huddersfield a focal point in the box, coincided with a brief improvement. Quaner saw his snapshot saved at the near-post, Tommy Smith got forward more to cross tantalising balls, one of which required a smart headed clearance from Smith with the lively Van La Parra lurking. Smith also blocked substitute Joe Lolley’s close-range effort a moment after Nahki Wells had seen his stopped by the outstanding Aden Flint, who snuffed out danger all game.

Flint’s fancy finish

Flint deserved his goal, even if the manner of it was not what one might expect from a tall centre-back. After an attack down the left through the lively O’Dowda was half-cleared, O’Neil put the ball back into the danger area and Flint applied an improvised, step-over finish to divert the ball past Ward. Cotterill also got on the scoresheet with a late penalty after Billing’s challenge on Joe Bryan, compounding a miserable night for the Terriers.

What it means

Friday night’s result boosts Newcastle and Brighton, whose mixed form since the turn of the year suggests they will welcome a little more room for error. It will not detract from the impressive campaign they are having, but Huddersfield may have to settle for the play-offs after taking just seven points from their last five games. That same return is more welcome for Bristol City, who climb out of the relegation zone and up to 19th. The Robins have rarely been outplayed this season, but their second half defending and composure in front of goal has left a little to be desired. Friday night’s display suggests the green shoots of recovery are there.