Saturday, January 9th, 2016
Steve Cotterill was left ruing the last-gasp equaliser that denied Bristol City a famous victory at the home of Premier League opposition – a goal the manager believes should not have stood.
City matched a West Bromwich Albion side 30 places above them in the league ladder, even outplaying them at times, but fell behind to Saido Berahino’s opener on 63 minutes.
However, the visitors turned the game on its head and looked destined to cause an upset after goals from Jonathan Kodjia and Kieran Agard, who poked City in front six minutes from time.
Four added minutes were signalled with Cotterill’s men holding on, but James Morrison popped up in the 95th minute to beat debutant goalkeeper Max O’Leary – on as a half-time substitute for the injured Frank Fielding – and force a replay.
“It’s mixed emotions,” the boss told Bristol City Player HD.
“We played really well in difficult conditions and I felt we were the better team, but we’ve conceded a late goal that shouldn’t have happened.
“Upon the free kick being taken there was no time left in the game, but they’ve been allowed to put the ball in our box.
“We deserved to win the game. We timed it – he (the referee) is wrong and needs to blow the whistle. They were out of time and it shouldn’t be a goal.”
Cotterill, who paid tribute to the club’s biggest away following for 22 years, believes City’s performance was in keeping with a lot of their displays in league action this season.
“We started the game well before they had a bit of a purple patch, which you would expect them to have, but I thought we were excellent,” he added.
“The players were great – every single one of them to a man. They don’t let this football club down and their performance here is not a coincidence.
“Our supporters can help the players get through the tired moments, and they did that.
“It’s a pity we weren’t defending our end (in the second half), because I’m not sure they would’ve got that free kick. It’s a soft free kick in the last minute of the game.
“People who didn’t see the game might think it’s a coincidence, because we’re third from bottom of the Championship, but that was our game today and we’ve had it taken away from us.”
Cotterill revealed Fielding was replaced due to a rib injury and admits he is unsure whether or not his first-choice keeper will be fit for Tuesday’s Championship clash with Preston North End at Ashton Gate.