Bristol City eased past Plymouth Argyle 4–1 in the Championship on Tuesday night to earn their first home league win of the season.
Sam Bell’s flick-on ended up in the back of the net to give the Robins the lead inside three minutes, before the captain on the night Matty James poked home to double their advantage before the 10-minute mark.
Adam Randell pulled a goal back for the Pilgrims when his long-range strike nestled into the bottom corner, as Mark Sykes’ finish sent Nigel Pearson’s side into halftime with a two-goal lead.
The Robins saw out the second period comfortably and even had time to add a fourth when substitute Harry Cornick slotted past Conor Hazard late on.
Here’s how the City players fared…
Max O’Leary – 6
Had very little to do all match except pick the ball out of his net and he might feel slightly aggrieved that he didn’t keep out Randell’s strike. Almost cost his side when a poor kick led to Ben Waine going through on goal, was fortunate that the forward struck wide.
George Tanner – 7
Was relatively untroubled at right back and looked assured. Linked up with Sykes well and perhaps got forward more often than usual.
Zak Vyner – 8
As solid as ever at the heart of defence, strong in the tackle and led by example. Stepped out of defence at times but always won the ball. Made a brilliant late challenge to deny Ryan Hardie.
Kal Naismith – 8
Defended on the front foot and made some excellent challenges. Comfortable in possession and is a big asset to the way City play. Played a brilliant pass to Cornick who slotted home for 4-1.
Cam Pring – 7
Made an aggressive start to the match and always looked to be positive. Was committed in the challenge and carried the ball forward with purpose. Whipped in some excellent crosses and could’ve had a goal himself, all while dealing with Tyreik Wright with ease.
Matty James – 8
Was a key part of City controlling the match and was part of an excellent midfield three. Kept the ball moving, pressed hight, and popped up in the area to notch a rare goal to double City’s lead.
Joe Williams – 7
Whipped in the ball for the Robins’ opener and set the tempo in the middle of the park. As competitive as ever, winning aerial duals and slide tackles.
Jason Knight – 8
Was the tip of a brilliant trio in midfield. Got into plenty of attacking positions and caused the away side countless problems in and out of possession. Whipped in a low cross which led to James’ goal, before sending a brilliant, lobbed pass to Sykes who scored City’s third.
Mark Sykes – 8
Was always dangerous off the right flank and drifted inside at times. Composed himself well to slow down and fire past Hazard when one-against-one to make it 3-1. A constant threat with his blistering pace and just as tenacious when out of possession.
Nahki Wells – 6
Didn’t give the Plymouth backline any time to settle and led from the front brilliantly. Was a key part in creating a brilliant atmosphere at the Gate, was just missing a goal.
Sam Bell – 7
Reacted well to flick towards goal for City’s opener and looked a threat cutting in from the left wing. Could’ve added a third before the 10-minute mark but saw his close-range effort saved. Was in and out of the game at times but was electric when involved.
Ephraim Yeboah (subbed on for Sykes, 60’) – 7
Instantly got the crowd on their feet after a neat nutmeg on Kesler-Hayden. Played with a swagger and a raw energy that added what City needed late on.
Harry Cornick (subbed on for Wells, 60’) – 7
Continued Wells’ fine pressing work up front. Scuffed his shot when the ball fell kindly to him in the area late on but instantly made amends when he slotted calmly past Hazard to add City’s fourth.
Taylor Gardner-Hickman (subbed on for Knight, 60’) – 6
Adapted to the game well in the middle of the park and delivered some dangerous set pieces.
Haydon Roberts (subbed on for Bell, 71’) – 6
Was a threat on the left flank and linked up well with Pring. Showed that he is another option in that role, as well as Bell and Anis Mehmeti.
Andy King (subbed on for Williams, 71’) – 6
Came on to see out the win.