Swansea City's play-off hopes took a bit of a setback following defeat at Bristol City.
In a game of very little goalmouth action it was a fine run and cross from Robins' substitute Ivan Sproule that set-up the games only goal with six minutes left as Nicky Maynard was left unmarked to tap into the net from close-range.
Gorka Pintado had the Swans' best chance of the game early on when he forced Stephen Henderson into saving his strike from just inside the box.
The Swans made three changes for the important Championship clash at Ashton Gate.
There were two alterations to the midfield where Mark Gower
and Guillem Bauza
dropped to the bench with Darren Pratley
and Andrea Orlandi
coming in to take their places.
The only other change was a straight swap in attack with Gorka Pintado
was picked ahead of Shefki Kuqi
, who was named amongst the substitutes.
There is also a return to the squad for defender Albert Serran
who played his first game in three months when he came through a reserve
fixture unscathed.Bristol City:
Stephen Henderson; Bradley Orr, Louis Carey (C)
, Lewin Nyatanga, Liam Fontaine, Jamal Campbell-Ryce (Ivan Sproule, 66'), Marvin Elliott, Paul Hartley (Evander Sno, 79'), Cole Skuse, Danny Haynes (David Clarkson, 68'), Nicky Maynard.Not Used:
Steve Collis (GK), Lee Johnson, Christian Ribeiro, Gary Sawyer.Swans:Dorus de Vries
; Angel Rangel
, 7'), Garry Monk(C)
, Ashley Williams
, David Edgar
; Joe Allen
, Andrea Orlandi
, Darren Pratley
, David Cotterill
, 78'), Nathan Dyer
(Cedric van der Gun
, 52'); Gorka Pintado
.Not Used:David Cornell
(GK), Mark Gower
, Guillem Bauza
, Besian Idrizaj
M Dean (Wirral)
The visitors got this game underway and came out all guns blazing with a chance to take the lead as early as the second minute.Andrea Orlandi
, back in the side after missing out against Scunthorpe, had two options on the edge of the area as he cut in from the left, his pass eventually finding Darren Pratley
who struck at goal but saw his attempt deflect wide off Paul Hartley.
But the Swans were dealt an early blow when Angel Rangel
was forced off injured with what looked like a problem with his thigh, and replacing him was Albert Serran
who only made his return from a three month lay-off for the reserves in midweek.
Bristol City were a side high in confidence as they came into this game on the back of an unbeaten five-match run, and the home side started this contest well as they looked strong going forward.
They were forced to come up against one of the division's meanest defences but with 12 minutes on the clock Bradley Orr was allowed plenty of space inside the box, picking Jamal Campbell Ryce's cross field ball only to disappoint with the end product, by firing high into the Wedlock Stand.
Midfielder Marvin Elliott had better luck with his sides next effort with 21 minutes played but his goalbound strike was easily collected by Dorus de Vries
, while Nicky Maynard pulled wide for the hosts two minutes later following a goalmouth scramble.
The Swans were handed two fine chances just before the half-hour to break the deadlock themselves - the first an Orlandi free-kick from 30-yards which dropped just the wrong side of the post before Gorka Pintado
, one-on-one of Stephen Henderson following a breakaway move, fired straight at the goalkeeper.
El Toro was well off target with his next effort while de Vries denied Campbell-Ryce an opener just before the break, palming down his 20-yard strike before calmy collecting afterwards.Half-Time:
Bristol City 0 Swans 0
A slow start to the beginning of the second period certainly didn't get supporters from either side up on their feet with the Robins and the Swans failing to create any clear cut chances inside the first 10 minutes.
The home side did threaten with a couple of corners while a Swansea City counter attack came to nothing when David Cotterill
's through ball had a bit too much weight on it for substitute Cedric van der Gun
to keep it in play.
It was left to Bristol City to create the first chance of the half, and even that came from a free-kick with just over an hour played as Paul Hartley curled high and wide from 30-yards. The fresh legs of Ivan Sproule were introduced moments later and he was straight in the thick of the action as he curled across the face of goal and just wide.
Henderson had to wait until 70 minutes had passed before being forced into making his first save of the second-half, collecting a Cotterill cross from the right with van der Gun chomping at the bit, but the goalkeeper went in strong to claim at the Dutchman's feet and hold on to the ball.Joe Allen
was penalised for a series of fouls which put the visiting defence under threat, though the Swans were able to successfully clear their lines, but they came unstuck with six minutes left on the clock as the home side took the lead.
The pace of Sproule down the right got the better of Edgar and after a lucky bounce the midfielder was allowed to cross into the heart of the area where Nicky Maynard
was unmarked to tap home.
Sproule was also the provider in the last minute of this game as the Robins went seeking a second, his wicked delivery from the right picking out fellow sub David Clarkson who flashed his header just wide.