STALEMATE: Bristol City start with a draw against promoted Blackpool
PA - Simon Galloway
Bristol City start with a draw against newly-promoted Blackpool at Ashton Gate in their 2021/22 Championship season opener.
Shayne Lavery’s last-gasp equaliser earned Blackpool a 1-1 draw with Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
The game was deep into stoppage time when Josh Bowler crossed low from the left for fellow substitute Lavery to fire home from close range.
City had looked set for their first home win since January when Chris Martin powerfully headed home Andy King’s 44th-minute cross from the right.
But Lavery’s strike kept Nigel Pearson waiting for his first victory at Ashton Gate and sent travelling fans behind the goal into wild scenes of celebration.
City created all the scoring opportunities during a first half played in pouring rain and deserved their interval lead.
The first chance fell to Callum O’Dowda early on, but he was denied by a saving tackle from Callum Connolly and was injured in the process.
Kasey Palmer was introduced as a 13th-minute substitute, but Pearson’s team adapted well and began to take control.
Nathan Baker had already headed wide from a Matty James corner when Andreas Weimann fired high and wide following a long throw from the right.
Palmer had a shot saved by Chris Maxwell and King headed wide from a Zak Vyner cross before the half-hour mark.
Rob Atkinson then sent a half-volley wide from Alex Scott’s centre and it was no surprise when Martin broke the deadlock just before the interval.
Blackpool had built some threatening situations on the break, without finding a final pass or effort to test City keeper Dan Bentley, and they had the first effort of the second half when Grant Ward fired wide from distance.
Then a Luke Garbutt cross flashed across City’s six-yard box with no one getting a touch.
James should have done better when shooting high and wide from the edge of the box as the home side began to attack with menace again.
Palmer had a shot blocked and James fired narrowly wide from distance with Blackpool under increasing pressure.
At the other end there was a major scare for City in the 79th minute when Connolly rattled a post with a fierce volley.
They did not heed the warning, though, and there was barely time to kick-off after Lavery equalised.
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