Debutant Tommy Rowe’s ferocious strike saved Bristol City as they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw away to Birmingham City.
Benik Afobe, another summer signing, was twice denied by Lee Camp in the Blues goal, who denied fellow new arrival Ádám Nagy as the hosts kept the Robins at bay.
Lukas Jutkiewicz headed the hosts in front in the second half with City facing their second defeat of the campaign.
That was until Kasey Palmer fed the advancing Rowe who smashed the ball into the corner of the goal, in front of the travelling City supporters at St Andrew’s.
Pedro Pereira was the fourth new signing to make his Robins debut, while Lee Johnson made six changes to his starting XI after last Sunday’s season opener, with captain Bailey Wright and Nathan Baker also making their returns.
Nagy was particularly busy from the off, not giving the Birmingham midfield a sniff as he looked settled on his first Sky Bet Championship outing.
The home side were confident from the beginning though, playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season and eager to put things right after a Carabao Cup exit just days earlier.
Their build up play looked sharp and when Fran Villalba found himself a pocket of space, Daniel Bentley was forced to tip his ferocious effort over the bar, with Gary Gardner heading over just after.
City’s new men were involved early on, starting with Nagy who broke up a Blues attack. He released Palmer in midfield and the former Chelsea man slid a delightful through ball into Afobe, whose curling right-footed effort was well beaten away by Camp.
The chances would continue at either end, with Gardner striking over Bentley’s goal, while good defending from Maxime Colin got in the way of Rowe who looked ready to pounce at the back post from a Pereira cross. Weimann headed off target from the resulting corner.
Afobe, who said this week he wants to recover his best form, played a pinpoint pass which enabled a one-two with Weimann. City’s number 40 picked out Palmer on the edge of the area but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
The second half began just as lively as the first 45 had ended, this time it was the Robins’ piling on the pressure. A long throw from Pereira was met by the audacious overhead kick from Wright but the captain’s spectacular effort was straight at Camp.
City’s loanee from Benfica would soon be forced off the pitch due a knock inflicted minutes prior, with Jack Hunt his replacement in the right wing-back role.
And the former Sheffield Wednesday man was involved straight away, floating a cross towards Afobe and Weimann, neither could turn the ball into Camp’s goal and Nagy’s follow up was deflected for a corner.
The home side were soon in full voice when only the gloves of Bentley and the post denied Birmingham from opening the scoring. Jutkiewicz was able to turn on the edge of the area and force a fantastic stop from City’s keeper with a shot destined for the top corner, and as the ball fell back down to the ground, it spun off the base of the post before the visitors could clear.
Nagy had another opportunity to score when he broke into the area after closing down Kristian Pederson’s clearance, only Camp got down well to make the save.
And City would rue another missed chance with Pep Clotet’s side breaking the deadlock soon after, Jutkiewicz heading in from close range from Marc Roberts’ right-sided cross.
The Blues nearly had their second soon after with the quick feet of Wes Harding keeping the ball alive. He slid in the onrushing Gardner whose drilled effort slammed into the side netting, to the frustration of many home supporters who thought his shot had squeezed into the net.
‘Attack’ was Johnson’s message as the game progressed as he introduced Famara Diédhiou and Niclas Eliasson in a double change for Weimann and Wright, respectively. They were soon through on goal when Diédhiou held up the ball for Palmer, who picked out the run of Afobe but again Camp got the better of City’s loanee forward.
But there would be no stopping a thunderbolt from Rowe who unleashed a powerful drive into the far corner. Palmer was again the architect with a defence-splitting ball to find the advanced wing-back, who drove the ball beyond Camp from a tight angle.
The goal was enough to secure a share of the points with City turning their attentions to Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup trip to QPR.
Photo by JMP