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Debutant Scott Twine nets first-half equaliser as Bristol City hold Watford

Scott Twine equalised on his Bristol City debut (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Scott Twine equalised on his Bristol City debut (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A headed debut goal from on-loan forward Scott Twine earned Bristol City a 1-1 draw with Watford in a closely-fought Championship clash at Ashton Gate.

The visitors grabbed a 13th-minute lead when referee Andrew Kitchen spotted a handball by centre-back Rob Dickie after a free-kick had been played into City’s box and Tom Dele-Bashiru fired a right-footed penalty beyond Max O’Leary’s despairing dive.

But the home side were level after 25 minutes as Tommy Conway’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Ben Hamer and Burnley loanee Twine climbed above a defender to head the rebound into an unguarded net.

Both teams had chances to win it, but neither could find the finish to match some promising approach play.

City head coach Liam Manning had no hesitation in selecting Twine – signed during the week – while his Watford counterpart Valerian Ismael made three changes from the 2-1 victory over QPR.

He brought in Mileta Rajovic to lead the attack, while Ryan Porteous returned in defence and Ismael Kone started in midfield and Jamal Lewis started on the bench.

Fresh from knocking Premier League West Ham out of the FA Cup, City were stunned by the early penalty award as no Watford player appeared to claim a handball.

Twine had a chance to equalise after 21 minutes when sending a low shot wide, but made up for the miss four minutes later and showed up well in support of striker Conway.

Watford had a great opportunity to go back in front four minutes before the break when Rajovic broke clear down the left and crossed for the unmarked Yaser Asprilla, who allowed O’Leary to make a brave save at his feet.

A largely low-key first half ended with a fair scoreline and both teams had room for improvement.

The Hornets made a change at the interval, with Matheus Martins replacing Asprilla. City made a strong start, Ross McCrorie heading over from a Twine corner.

Jason Knight had a header saved from a Twine free-kick, but Watford were soon threatening at the other end and Cam Pring made brave defensive blocks, first from Martins and then Giorgio Chakvetadze.

Kone fired over for the visitors as they started to look the more likely winners. Both sides made changes as the game entered its final quarter.

Andrews sent a fierce 25-yard drive straight at O’Leary after 78 minutes, while – at the other end – Dickie’s downward header from a Twine corner was gathered by Hamer.

Watford had no intention of settling for a point and Martins had a shot blocked as they committed men forward.

But the visitors were lucky after 87 minutes when another Dickie header brought a reaction save from Hamer and the ball was somehow scrambled clear to see the spoils shared.