Bristol City moved a step closer to Championship safety and put a significant dent in Huddersfield’s automatic promotion hopes.
First-half goals from Lee Tomlin and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham paved the way for City’s consummate victory, before Aden Flint and David Cotterill made the game safe in the final quarter.
It was a chastening night for the visitors, for whom victory would have taken them to within three points of the long-time leading pair Newcastle United and Brighton. In the end, however, Lee Johnson’s Bristol City were left to celebrate after a second successive league victory. The game itself was overshadowed in the early stages when a seemingly innocuous collision between Huddersfield captain Mark Hudson and his team-mate Jonathan Hogg left the latter needing lengthy treatment for a neck injury.
It took the medical staff more than 13 minutes to settle Hogg on a stretcher before carrying him off. Although both sides had plenty to play for, the home side showed far greater urgency after the lengthy stoppage. Still, with 14 wins in their last 18 Championship games having propelled David Wagner’s side to within touching distance of the top two, the visitors appeared in reasonable control until Hudson’s attempted back-pass fell short of goalkeeper Danny Ward.
Tomlin nipped in and having rounded Ward took his time before giving City a 30th-minute lead. Thereafter, Huddersfield had plenty of possession with Aaron Mooy pulling the strings, albeit slowly, from his deep-lying position in midfield.
Unfortunately, for the 686-strong visiting contingent, there was precious little over which to enthuse when the ball found its way into the final third. Elias Kachunga and Nakhi Wells did create one opportunity in the ninth of 14 minutes of first-half stoppage time, but goalkeeper Frank Fielding pushed the ball to one side and Korey Smith completed the clearance.
Then, with just about the final kick of the half, City struck a decisive blow. The Wales international Cotterill broke on the right and when his inch-perfect cross reached Abraham, at the near post, the 19-year-old striker stabbed the ball past Ward. The second half was barely three minutes old when Callum O’Dowda struck the woodwork from a wonderful, whipped cross from the increasingly influential Abraham.
To their credit, Huddersfield, for whom substitute Joe Lolley made a significant difference, were far better after that and had one or two moments of their own. However, it was City’s night and after Flint diverted Gary O’Neil’s scuffed shot past Ward with 13 minutes remaining, Cotterill converted an 84th-minute penalty after Joe Bryan was hauled down by Philip Billing.
Bristol City (4-2-3-1): Fielding; Smith, Flint, Wright, Bryan; O’Neil (Hegeler 86), Pack; Cotterill, Tomlin (Brownhill 81), O’Dowda; Abraham (Wilbraham 86) Subs: Giefer, Taylor, Reid, Magnusson
Huddersfield Town (4-2-3-1): Ward; Smith, Schindler, Hudson, Lowe; Hogg (Billing 22), Mooy; Kachunga (Lolley 45), Brown (Quaner 67), Van La Parra; Wells Subs: Coleman, Holmes-Dennis, Payne, Quaner, Cranie