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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, May 11th 2018

2017/18 Season review: January

The New Year saw City appear in their first Carabao Cup semi-final in almost three decades, where they would go toe-to-toe with eventual Premier League champions Manchester City.

Off the pitch, City looked to cover their injury situation with loan recruits Ryan Kent and Loïs Diony from Liverpool and Saint Etienne, respectively. Young Liam Walsh also signed for the club in a permanent deal, as City looked to the future while the transfer window reopened.

But the month's big talking point was of course that deserved semi-final showdown with the Blues. The Robins faithful sold out the away end for the first time in the Etihad Stadium’s history, on a night where the City in red came close to another cup shock.

Lee Johnson’s side were gritty, dogged and matching Pep Guardiola’s team of world-class players all over the pitch...and then their breakthrough came.

With half-time approaching, Josh Brownhill fed Bobby Reid who was taken down by the onrushing John Stones and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.

Was the striker fazed by the pressure of the Etihad, in front of the Man City fans? No, was the answer as the Bristol City Academy graduate tucked his spot-kick under the diving Claudio Bravo to give City the lead under the lights in Greater Manchester.

JOHNSON'S CITY BATTLE TO THE END

Aden Flint’s goal-line heroics ensured a half-time lead but Kevin De Bruyne’s magic kept the home side in the tie, before Sergio Aguero popped up late on to gift the Citizens a cruel advantage heading into the second leg.

Ashton Gate, a sea of noise and colour for the decisive tie, was packed to the rafters and emulated the atmosphere which had helped the Robins overcome their Premier League opponents in previous rounds.

Again Johnson’s side failed to be rolled over by the Premier League giants but when they did go 2-0 down through Aguero and Leroy Sane strikes, they rallied to equalise through Marlon Pack’s well-placed header and Flint’s late tap-in.

Marlon Pack rises to the occasion

One more goal could have clinched a spot in the final but Guardiola’s team quickly added their third of the night to put the show to bed.

But what an incredible experience, not only those 180 minutes but the entire cup run, was for Johnson’s City.

And they created special memories which will last a lifetime in the minds of all City supporters.

WATCH: CITY'S JANUARY GOALS

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