Section: Bristol City

League 1: Bristol City promoted to Championship

League One leaders Bristol City thumped Bradford City to seal promotion to the Championship after a two-year absence.

The away side dominated from the start, with James Tavernier’s toe-poke and Joe Bryan’s far-post header putting them in command at the break.

Luke Ayling fired in from long range and Aden Flint nodded in as the Robins ran riot in the second half.

Tavernier’s slotted finish and Aaron Wilbraham’s strike completed a memorable evening.

Now 10 points clear of second-placed Preston North End, the Ashton Gate outfit need to win only one of their remaining three games to be certain of securing the League One title.

Under boss Steve Cotterill, the Robins have been in imperious form since the very start of the season, winning at fellow promotion contenders Sheffield United on the opening day and remaining unbeaten until mid-November.

Having lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley last month,Bristol City’s latest undefeated run in the league stretches 12 matches and leaves them strong favourites to complete a lower-league double.

This campaign also represents a remarkable turnaround for a club who, when Cotterill was appointed 16 months ago, were languishing in 23rd in the table and in danger of suffering successive relegations.

The former Cheltenham, Burnley and Portsmouth manager’s summer recruitment has been key to their success, with the arrival of Luke Freeman from Stevenage as significant as any.

Already the division’s leading assist maker, the 23-year-old was again the orchestrator as the visitors bossed the opening period, setting Tavernier clear for their first and crossing for Bryan to head in the second.

But, while Bristol City enjoyed the better of the first half, they produced an emphatic display of attacking football in the second to seal promotion in style.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Bristol City 0-1 West Ham

Substitute Diafra Sakho headed West Ham into the fifth round of the FA Cup, breaking the hearts of brave Bristol City with an 81st-minute winner.

It was the striker’s first appearance since suffering a back injury against West Brom on New Year’s Day and he marked it by rising at the far post to beat Frank Fielding from close range after Andy Carroll had done well to get in a cross from the right.

The outcome was harsh on the Sky Bet League One promotion contenders, who were competitive throughout and gave their Barclays Premier League opponents all the trouble they could handle.

City looked the more threatening side for most of a lively first half and it took two goal line clearances to keep the Hammers on level terms.

Mark Noble was on hand to block Matt Smith’s fifth-minute header after Aden Flint’s power in the air at a corner had set up the chance.

And Carroll did even better to divert another Smith header over his own crossbar in the 26th minute, leaving the big City striker holding his head in disbelief after he had connected with a Jay Emmanuel-Thomas cross.

Smith had already seen an early shot blocked by James Tomkins and Joe Bryan fired across goal from an Emmanuel-Thomas pass as the home side displayed the confidence gained from their league form this season.

It took West Ham until the 37th minute to force a save from Fielding. Then Carroll’s close-range shot was straight at the City goalkeeper from a Carl Jenkinson cross.

Kevin Nolan had a shot charged down by Bryan as the first half drew to an end, but it had been a largely frustrating one for the Premier League outfit.

City were more energetic in midfield, with Luke Freeman and debutant loanee George Saville showing up well.

The second half began more quietly, with an Emmanuel-Thomas free-kick from 25 yards bringing a comfortable save from Adrian in the 55th minute.

West Ham were still struggling to put any meaningful moves together and Sam Allardyce had seen enough, sending on Sakho and Morgan Amalfitano for Enner Valencia and the out-of-sorts Alex Song before the hour mark.

Stewart Downing sprang to life in the 62nd minute, driving at the City defence and sending a powerful shot over from the edge of the box.

But it was a rare moment of anxiety for Fielding. At the other end Smith continued to pose problems, heading over from Bryan’s left-wing cross.

Flint was outstanding at the back for City and did well to block a Sakho shot in the 75th minute and seconds later the lively Hammers substitute went closer, grazing the crossbar with the fierce shot from 12 yards.

Home boss Steve Cotterill responded by sending on Scott Wagstaff for Mark Little at right wing-back as the visiting fans did their best to lift their team following Sakho’s efforts.

West Ham were looking increasingly solid, but Nolan picked up a booking for a late challenge on Bryan, whose deep cross from the left was then headed over at the far post by Luke Ayling.

Amalfitano forced a save from Fielding with a curling shot from distance just before the deadlock was finally broken. Even then, City almost forced an injury-time equaliser when Smith headed inches wide from an Emmanuel-Thomas cross.

Read more at ESPN

FA Cup: Bristol City 2-0 Doncaster

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas struck twice to secure League One side Bristol City a televised FA Cup fourth-round home tie against West Ham.

The forward nodded in the first-half opener from close range after keeper Marko Marosi denied Aden Flint.

James Coppinger’s shot was cleared off the line for Doncaster, who pushed hard after the interval.

But Emmanuel-Thomas ran half the length of the pitch to score a second on the break with a cool finish.

Bristol City, knocked off the top of League One by Swindon’s win at Coventry on Monday, deserved their victory despite Doncaster’s second-half efforts.

On-loan Fulham forward Matt Smith – who went into the game on a run of nine goals in five matches – nodded an early chance wide before Flint headed over when unmarked from Marlon Pack’s corner.

Flint made amends by playing a part as Steve Cotterill’s side took the lead, though, with a header that Marosi pushed out before Emmanuel-Thomas scrambled in the loose ball.

Slovakia Under-21 international Marosi – making his first senior start after Manchester United recalled Sam Johnstone to send him out on loan to Preston – then had a lucky escape when his clearance hit Smith’s back, but the ball drifted wide.

Doncaster, mid-table in League One, threw on strikers Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson in a bid to save the game, but Emmanuel-Thomas snuffed out any hopes of a comeback.

West Ham needed a penalty shootout to defeat Everton.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Doncaster 1-1 Bristol City

Matt Smith’s second-half header earned Bristol City an FA Cup third-round replay against Doncaster Rovers.

The on-loan striker guided Luke Ayling’s cross past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone with 15 minutes remaining.

Luke McCullough had put Doncaster ahead before the break, hooking the ball in off the post after City failed to clear Harry Forrester’s corner.

Kyle Bennett came closest to winning the match for the hosts, forcing Frank Fielding into a smart save.

The Doncaster substitute had an even better chance to score from inside the penalty area in injury time but shot well wide of the goal, and the teams will now contest a replay at Ashton Gate.

Bristol City, who were knocked off the top of League One for the first time since September thanks to Swindon’s draw with Fleetwood on Saturday, were beaten by Watford in a replay at the same stage of the Cup last season.

Read more at BBC Sport

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy: Bristol City 2-1 Wimbledon

City reached the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area semi-finals despite a low key display against Sky Bet League Two visitors AFC Wimbledon.

The hosts were far from their best throughout the tie and had to wait until the final 17 minutes to make the breakthrough, as Aaron Wilbraham struck the first of two quick-fire goals to extinguish the threat of a penalty shoot-out.
Wilbraham made it two just four minutes later after latching on to Korey Smith’s pass, but George Francomb’s stunning long-range strike threw the Dons a lifeline.
Francomb came closest to forcing penalties in the second of four added minutes, but Frank Fielding was equal to his free kick to resist an unlikely comeback.
Steve Cotterill made five changes to his side who progressed into the second round of the FA Cup, continuing to share the responsibility throughout his squad in the two-week sabbatical from league action.
Derrick Williams, Joe Bryan, Wes Burns, Smith and Wilbraham were all handed starting berths in place of Luke Ayling, Greg Cunningham, Wade Elliott, Luke Freeman and Kieran Agard.
Bryan, who opened the scoring early on in City’s last home cup tie against Oxford United back in August, was the first to threaten a breakthrough in similar style.
Scott Wagstaff’s cross from the right was neatly taken down by Wilbraham before the ball ran loose for the onrushing Bryan, who showed excellent footwork to weave between two challenges only to shoot well wide on his right foot.
But the League Two side soon grew into the contest and fired a warning shot on 19 minutes through lively forward Adebayo Azeez, who drifted inside and fizzed a low drive goalwards which only evaded the bottom corner by a matter of inches.
It was a close call for the tie’s overwhelming favourites, who suddenly sparked into life as Wilbraham’s cross was almost turned into his own net by Adam Barrett before Smith’s shot from the edge of the box looped over the crossbar via a deflection.
City were far from their fluent best but showed glimpses of their attacking prowess. Burns was presented with a half-chance from a pinpoint Bryan cross but his header was too high before an awkward landing left the youngster needing treatment.
Burns continued to hobble around for a couple of minutes, but his number was soon up as Freeman took his place and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas pushed forward to fill the void alongside Wilbraham.
The absence of Burns and Agard, not named on Cotterill’s five-man bench, left City short of pace up front and lacking cutting edge.
One Aden Flint header apart, which prompted a fine save from James Shea down to his left, Wimbledon were able to see out the first half relatively comfortably and visibly gained in confidence after the break.
When Dannie Bulman’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by Sean Rigg there seemed an open invitation for a yellow shirt to convert, but City’s defenders were quickest to react and snuff out the danger.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel-Thomas was not enjoying a vintage night but remained a problem for the Dons in the final third of the pitch.
Whether his through ball ten minutes into the second half was meant for Wilbraham or Bryan, it forced visiting keeper James Shea to race from his line and stop the Bristolian in his tracks. Had he got it wrong, a penalty would surely have been forthcoming.
Then Emmanuel-Thomas drifted out to the right touchline before typically cutting inside on to his left foot and letting fly with a powerful drive just a couple of yards too high.
In the end the deadlock breaker would come after a decent Wimbledon spell. Livewire Azeez remained the chief outlet with his pace, and temporarily escaped the attentions of Williams who was accused of holding him back by the visitors only to survive appeals for a penalty.
Moments later Azeez showed the Irishman a clean pair of heels to run beyond the attentions of Williams and Flint, but Fielding was alert to rush from his goal line and pounce at the striker’s feet.
It would take 73 minutes for the breakthrough to arrive, thanks to some individual brilliance from Emmanuel-Thomas, who engineered space for a cross towards the back post which was kept alive by Bryan on the stretch and rammed in by Wilbraham for his tenth goal of the season.
City’s top scorer would take only four minutes to take that total to 11, running clear down the inside right channel from Smith’s pass to hit a low shot inside Shea’s near post from 20 yards.
The home side’s passage into the last four of the southern section looked assured, but Wimbledon substitute Francomb kept the hopes of the underdogs alive with a stunning 25-yard strike that flew like an arrow beyond Fielding’s right hand and glanced the post on its way into the net.
Suddenly Cotterill’s men were hanging on, but Fielding pushed aside Francomb’s sweetly struck free kick from even longer range to keep City’s hopes of a Wembley final intact.

Read more on www.bcfc.co.uk