HALF-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 1, Bristol City 0
Yet to keep a clean sheet this season, City held out for a mere seven minutes at Ewood Park.
There appeared little danger when Rovers skipper Danny Murphy collected the ball inside the centre circle. But red-shirted defenders failed to close the veteran down and he advanced 15 yards before unleashing a venomous drive that beat Robins keeper Tom Heaton and ended up in the top left-hand corner of the net.
Heaton looked to have got at least a hand to the ball, only for the power of the shot to defeat him.
City tried to respond and former Blackburn striker Jon Stead met Ryan Taylor's cross with a firm header that flew over from 12 yards out.
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Not surprisingly, given the disparity between the two sides in the Championship, Rovers were playing with greater purpose and Colin Kazim-Richards almost capitalised on a back-pedaling defence after 15 minutes. Afforded far too much time and space, the striker let fly with a low shot that required Heaton to make a fine diving save to his right.
City were proving their own worst enemies and Louis Carey had to cover across hurriedly to deny Jordan Rhodes a clear sight of goal after Mark Wilson had needlessly given the ball away.
If City's best chance of getting back on terms rested with set-piece routines, their delivery was invariably poor and Blackburn's back four hardly had to break sweat in a first half in which they were asked precious few questions.
Although the visitors retained possession for longer than they managed in the first half at Millwall in midweek, too often the final ball lacked the quality to trouble Rovers.
More incisive when they had the ball, the home side attacked with pace and power and almost doubled their lead 10 minutes before half time. Ruben Rochina showed a leaden-footed Mark Wilson a clean pair of heels and let fly with an angled shot that required Liam Fontaine to clear off the line with Heaton beaten.
City created their first worthwhile goal-scoring opportunity in time added on at the end of the first-half, Taylor meeting Cunningham's centre with a header that forced Jake Kean into a finger-tip save.