Kenyan defender produces rock-solid display as Bristol City down Sunderland

STARS ABROAD Kenyan defender produces rock-solid display as Bristol City down Sunderland

Mark Kinyanjui 11:00 - 17.12.2023

Obiero helped Bristol City keep a clean sheet and get three valuable points in the hunt for Premier League promotion, but his fellow Harambee Stars prospects failed to feature.

Harambee Stars prospect Zak Vyner Obiero produced an inspired defensive display as Bristol City recorded a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win over Sunderland on Saturday.

Obiero, who was named the Bristol City player of the year last season, made four tackles and interceptions and had a 90 percent duel success rate. He made four clearances and also looked tidy in possession, being successful with 86 percent of his passing.

Bristol City needed Tommy Conway's first-half penalty and a string of fine saves from Max O'Leary as well to get back to winning ways after a sticky couple of months.

The hosts made the decisive breakthrough in the 20th minute after Sunderland were caught playing out from the back. Taylor Gardner-Hickman was tripped by goalkeeper Anthony Patterson and Conway sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a low spot-kick.

An inspired performance from goalkeeper Max O'Leary protected the lead and Sunderland will feel hugely frustrated not to have taken something from an impressive display at Ashton Gate.

Down the divisions, none of the Kenyan contingent of Clarke Oduor and Vincent Harper featured as Exeter City settled for a draw against Stevenage while Bradford City got all three points away at Gillingham.

Bradford took the lead in the 32nd minute when Gills' Scott Malone was dispossessed deep inside his own half by Alex Gilliead, who squared the ball for team-mate Walker to pass the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards out.

Gillingham offered little in the way of attack for the rest of the half, but they applied more pressure after the break when Mahoney delivered a succession of set-pieces and Max Ehmer headed over when well placed.

The visitors held firm, however, and then doubled their advantage in the 74th minute when Cook fired a free-kick from 25 yards underneath the Gillingham wall in front of the Bradford supporters.

The result now means that Bradford are in 14th place in the League Two standings. 

There was little to choose between the sides in a drab first half until Jack Aitchison, already on a booking, received a second yellow card for dissent two minutes before the break.

Boro were quick to make their visitors pay as Carl Piergianni headed Dan Sweeney's cross into the bottom corner in added time at the end of the first period.

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell was booked for his protests but his half-time alteration had the desired effect as the newly introduced Yanic Wildschut converted Dion Rankine's cross within two minutes of the restart.

It was the Grecians' first league goal since October and Wildschut twice came close to adding another before Jordan Roberts fired a glorious chance over from close range at the other end.

Elliott List was later denied by Vil Sinisalo as the struggling visitors held firm through nine minutes of added time to earn a valuable point. It now means that Exeter are 20th in League One.

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