Shrewsbury Town produced an impressive performance at Ashton Gate to force a replay against their Championship opponents.
Sean Goss’ first FA Cup goal cancelled out an opener from Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou.
The visitors were highly impressive and may feel unfortunate to require a replay, but Sam Ricketts will be thrilled with his side’s efforts.
The former Wales international made two changes – one enforced, from the side that drew against Bolton Wanderers 1-1. Joe Murphy replaced the ineligible Max O’Leary, whilst the aforementioned Goss was drafted in at the expense of Shaun Whalley.
Town received a huge boost as Callum Lang was in a matchday squad for the first time since breaking his metatarsal three months ago. There was no place in the squad for Fejiri Okenabirhie.
Shrewsbury began the contest confidently, spraying the ball around with aplomb. Josh Laurent tested Niki Maenpaa inside the first minute, but the Finland international made a comfortable stop.
Town looked more like a Championship side than their hosts, as they continued to create opportunities. Ryan Giles’ deflected cross appeared to be goal bound, but Maenpaa tipped over. The resulting corner was met by Aaron Pierre and the Grenada international’s header was fractionally wide of the target.
Shrewsbury continued to pile on the pressure. Aaron Pierre found Dan Udoh and the former Crewe striker skewed his attempt just past the target.
At the other end Marley Watkins nodded a free-kick over Joe Murphy’s bar. Then the ex Barnsley forward connected to Niclas Eliasson’s delivery, but his header flew off target.
But Shrewsbury continued to dominate proceedings. Ollie Norburn’s intricate corner was guided on by Sean Goss, but the former QPR man was left frustrated as the ball ricocheted off his teammate Dan Udoh.
The danger man for Lee Johnson’s outfit was Swedish winger Niclas Eliasson. The 24-year-old produced a jinking run as he glided beyond Donald Love. He turned possession over to Adam Nagy – but the former Bologna midfielder miscued.
Shrewsbury undeservedly fell behind on the half hour mark. The dangerous Eliasson whipped a cross into the box and Famara Diedhiou towered over Ethan Ebanks-Landell to plant a header beyond Joe Murphy and into the back of the net.
Bristol City enjoyed their best spell of the game toward the end of the half. Kasey Palmer’s well struck volley was kept out by Joe Murphy. The Irishman was rolling back the years as he was alert to make a superb reaction stop from the resulting corner, much to the frustration of Famara Diedhiou.
Town began the second half at full throttle. Dan Udoh wasted a glorious chance following a sublime cross from Ryan Giles. The Nigerian agonisingly put the ball wide from close range.
But the one thousand plus travelling support were soon experiencing delirium. The Robins could only clear Ollie Norburn’s corner as far as Sean Goss who was loitering with intent at the edge of the box. The reinstated midfielder struck a well-controlled effort onto the post and in.
Shrewsbury were in the ascendancy and continued to surge forward. Tomas Kalas was almost caught napping by Josh Laurent, but the home side were able to clear their lines.
Lee Johnson’s side appeared to settle somewhat. Ethan Ebanks-Landell cut out Niclas Eliasson’s fine set piece, and the Swede also placed a free-kick wide of the goal.
Substitute Andi Weimann elected to shoot from a tight angle, but Joe Murphy was on hand to deny the former Wolves striker.
Sam Ricketts’s side were agonisingly close to upsetting the odds. Josh Laurent’s dipping 25-yard attempt smashed the angle of the post, as the home side were able to breathe again.
And that was not the end of Town’s attacking prowess. Aaron Pierre showed the poise of a striker as he turned his marker but could only fire over.
Shrewsbury can count themselves unfortunate not to win the game, but will fancy their chances in the replay. They return to league matters when they visit Doncaster on Tuesday, whilst Bristol City are away to Wigan next Saturday.
Attendance: 9,730 (1,123 Town fans)
Team Line Ups
Bristol City: (4-4-2)
33. Maenpaa, 32. Pereira, 22. Kalas (74), 23. Moore, 3. Dasilva (60), 19. Eliasson, 4. Nagy, 42. Massengo, 45. Palmer, 15. Watkins (60), 9. Diedhiou
Subs: 6. Baker (74), 7. Smith, 11. O’Dowda (60), 13. Gilmartin, 14. Weimann (60), 18. Semenyo, 20. Paterson
Subs Not Used: 7. Smith, 13. Gilmartin, 18. Semenyo, 20. Paterson
Shrewsbury Town: (3-5-2)
Murphy, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 2. Pierre, 17. Love, 22. Goss, 8. Norburn, 11. Giles (87), 3. Golbourne, 28. Laurent, 23. Udoh (66)
Subs: 4. Edwards, 6. Beckles, 7. Whalley (66), 9. Lang (87), 15. Walker, 30. Gregory, 35. Cummings
Subs Not Used: 4. Edwards, 6. Beckles, 15. Walker, 30. Gregory, 35. Cummings
Other FA Cup Round Three Results:
(at the time of writing)
Birmingham 2 – 1 Blackburn
Burnley 4 – 2 Peterborough
Millwall 3 – 0 Newport
Rochdale 1 – 1 Newcastle
Rotherham 2 – 3 Hull