Lee Johnson`s 52rd minute winner continued Southampton`s poor home form this season. The Saints have still only recorded one home win this season, which has left the south coast side in 21st place. Johnson`s goal has put the Robins up to 9th with 24 points, just one point off a play off place.
At a dull and wet St. Mary`s, it was the home side who started the brighter. With the Saints attacking the Northam End, they won a series of corners in the first ten minutes, with Olly Lancashire coming the closest with a header.
Winger Jake Thompson forced a save from keeper Adriano Basso on 18 minutes, which sparked a Bristol City counter attack resulting in Surman having to head over his own bar to concede a corner. From that corner, City were awarded a penalty when on loan from Reading, Alex Pearce handled the ball after McCombe`s header.
City fans were optimistic when leading goal scorer Michael McIndoe stepped up to take the spot kick. Saints captain, Kelvin Davis produced a fine save down to his left, to deny McIndoe his fourth goal of the season.
City continued to pressure Saints with a series of attempts. Brian Wilson went close, with his shot sailing just past Davis` post. Striker Dele Adebola clashed with Davis and Surman had to clear the ball away frantically.
Lee Noble broke free and was one on one with Davis. The Saints keeper came rushing out of goal to deny Noble. His hurried clearance fell to McIndoe who tried to find the back of Saints` empty net; and to the delight of the home fans the ball sailed high and wide.
After two minutes of added time, referee Andrew Penn brought the first half to an end.
Manager Jan Poortvliet made his first substitution of the night with Bradley Wright-Phillips being brought on to replace Jake Thompson to start the second half.
Michael McIndoe continued to trouble the Saints defence with a series of crosses, in hope that powerful striker Adebola would get on the end of them. Youngster, Olly Lancashire seemed to be dealing well with Adebola`s presence as he continued to clear the ball as it entered the penalty area.
Southampton had an opportunity on 50 minutes, when Wright-Phillips won a free kick, 25 yards from goal. Rudi Skacel attempted to curl the ball passed Basso, but the ball sailed high over the crossbar.
Adebola continued to use his sublime strength and two minutes later. He bullied his was past Lancashire to smash the ball against the post; with the ball falling to Noble who kindly set up Johnson, who calmly curled the ball over diving Davis from 16 yards.
The home responded well, maintaining a lot of possession and pinning the away side back. Poortvliet brought on Jason Euell for Paul Wotton in order to give the side a bit more pace and composure. The tactical decision nearly came off, with Saints creating their best chance of the game on 61 minutes. Adam Lallana swerved his way through City`s defence to slip Euell in with a clever pass. The Jamaican was one on one with Basso, yet he couldn`t find the net, with the ball sailing wide from 10 yards.
Seven minutes later the two England under-21 internationals combined, with Surman setting Lallana free with a clever back heel. Lallana couldn`t get his feet right and Basso denied another Saints opportunity.
The tall Czech striker, Tomas Pekhart came on to replace Oscar Gobern with 20 minutes to go. Ten minutes later, Saints best chance fell to the right man, McGoldrick, yet the 20 year old could not convert the diagonal shot, as the ball brushed Basso`s right hand post.
Four minutes were added, and the hosts threw everything at City. David McGoldrick nearly found himself in behind City again, yet a tired touch let Saints` top scorer down.
Quotes from Jan Poortvliet:
Davis, Cork, Wotton (Euell 60), Pearce, Lancashire, Thomson (Wright-Phillips 45), Lallana, Surman, Skacel, Gobern (Pekhart 73), McGoldrick.
Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, White.
Bristol City team:
Basso, Orr, Fontaine, McCombe, Brian Wilson, Williams (Sproule 81), Elliott, Johnson, McIndoe, Noble (James Wilson 87), Adebola (Maynard 90).
Subs Not Used: Weale, Trundle.
Quotes from Jan Poortvliet:
‘I was disappointed because in the first half we lacked a little bit of quality and team spirit.
‘It was not until we went 1-0 down that we showed our skill and what we are capable of.
‘The players perform differently at home to when we play away and I think they are a little bit fearful.’