SAM Baldock crashed home his first goal of the year in stoppage-time to snatch a point for bottom club Bristol City and deal Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship survival hopes a blow
City striker Baldock lashed home a shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 93rd minute to cancel out Jermaine Johnson’s first-half opener for the visitors and keep alive Sean O’Driscoll’s side’s slim hopes of escaping relegation.
Wednesday winger Johnson struck his first goal since August as Wednesday appeared to have taken another big stride towards safety until Baldock’s last-gasp equaliser.
Dave Jones’ side looked to have seen out the second half without alarm against a desperate City side who struggled to create scoring chances, but still have plenty to do in a congested bottom half of the table to avoid the drop.
The home side had carved out six efforts on goal before Wednesday mustered their first shot, which flew wide from Johnson in the 33rd minute.
City striker Steven Davies’ early header was caught by Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who then held on to defender Lewin Nyatanga’s curler from the edge of the penalty area.
Davies then saw his angled drive blocked by Owls midfielder Giles Coke before City defender Greg Cunningham fired a shot straight at opposite number Miguel Llera.
City threatened again when Davies headed just wide of the left-hand post with Kirkland stranded midway through the first half, while Baldock’s thunderbolt crashed into Wednesday defender Anthony Gardner.
But just two minutes after Johnson had teed himself up with Wednesday’s first attempt, the Jamaica international fired the visitors into a 36th-minute lead, guiding home a loose ball in the area into the bottom corner from a central position.
The opening goal sucked the air from City’s sails and they failed to trouble Kirkland again before half-time.
A free-kick early in the second half from Davies cannoned back off the wall before Johnson spurned a golden chance to double the visitors’ lead soon after when he stabbed the ball wide from six yards.
Johnson made way for former City favourite Leroy Lita, making his eighth appearance for Wednesday since joining on loan in February, and he pulled a shot from close range wide within a minute of coming on.
City responded through midfielder Marvin Elliott, whose 25-yard effort flew wide, before Owls debutant Steve Howard, on loan from Hartlepool, was replaced by Gary Madine.
Robins boss O’Driscoll made a double substitution in the 68th minute, sending on winger Albert Adomah and midfielder Neil Kilkenny for Stephen Pearson and Liam Kelly.
Neither player was able to effect the status quo though, with chances at either end drying up in the final quarter as the tension mounted.
City winger Paul Anderson replaced Cole Skuse with seven minutes remaining before Adomah rifled a right-footed shot from inside the area over the crossbar and after Owls defender Reda Johnson headed a corner just wide, Nyatanga’s stoppage-time shot was blocked by Gardner.
But in the 93rd minute Baldock latched on to the ball on the edge of the area and fired an unstoppable shot into Kirkland’s top left-hand corner
Bristol City: Heaton, Fontaine, Nyatanga, Cunningham, Moloney, Kelly, Skuse, Pearson, Elliott, Baldock, Davies. Subs: Gerken, Carey, Bates, Kilkenny, Howard, Anderson, Adomah.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Lee, Gardner, Llera, R Johnson, J Johnson, Pugh, Prutton, Coke, Helan, Howard. Subs: Bywater, Taylor, Mattock, Semedo, Madine, Maguire, Lita.
Referee: Darren Deadman.