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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, May 10th 2018

2017/18 Season review: November/December

The end of the calendar year brought much to celebrate for everyone associated with the football club: a Severnside derby win, Korey Smith’s winning goal against José Mourinho’s Manchester United, more away games without defeat and an award for Joe Bryan’s Carabao Cup screamer from the previous month.

It’s fair to say the club ended 2017 on a high!

As November arrived, BS3 was gripped by a derby-day atmosphere, when the Bluebirds made the short trip east along the M4 motorway.

But it was the Robins who soared to victory in the Severnside derby thanks to strikes from Callum O’Dowda and Aden Flint.

Republic of Ireland winger O’Dowda curled a left-footed strike into the top corner, before Omar Bogle equalised just before half-time.

But the Cardiff City striker received a red card early into the second half and Lee Johnson's side capitalised on their man advantage.

Flint leapt like a fish out of water to meet Hordur Magnusson’s corner-like throw, burying the ball beyond Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge.

The goal was special-enough, being the winning goal of the game, but the celebration was perhaps even more momentous as the towering defender cupped his ear to the crowd; a nod to the iconic Scott Murray moment.

Flint marks his goal against Cardiff City with an iconic celebration

A good point at Hillsborough followed, while Cauley Woodrow struck a late consolation as Preston North End inflicted only City’s third defeat of the season.

ANOTHER UNBEATEN RUN

However, the disappointment was short-lived when Johnson’s squad rallied to beat struggling Hull City 3-2 at the KCOM Stadium with Josh Brownhill’s late long-range strike securing the points.

It was the start of seven-game unbeaten streak, with play-off chasing Middlesbrough and Sheffield United beaten, and a 2-1 win at home to Nottingham Forest proving City’s penultimate game before arguably the club’s greatest-ever moment arrived.

Bryan blasts City ahead v Manchester United

"IT'S SMITH..."

The Ashton Gate atmosphere was electric; a cauldron of noise for the arrival of Manchester United who brought a squad which included the likes of Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But this was a City side on quite a roll and an upset looked on the cards when Joe Bryan hit another thunderbolt, to give the hosts an early second-half lead. It was at times hard to know who the Premier League team were, so good was the performance from every player in a City shirt.

But United were level minutes later through Ibrahimovic’s free kick and the game looked set to be heading for extra-time.

That was until Matty Taylor picked out the run of Smith, who tucked the ball through Sergio Romero’s legs, to send the buzzing BS3 crowd into raptures.

The draw for the Carabao Cup semi-finals followed the full-time whistle, handing the Robins a two-legged tie against soon-to-be Premier League champions, Manchester City.

But before all of that attentions turned back to the festive period with Reid’s penalty securing a point against QPR, while Lloyd Kelly’s first goal for the club securing a Boxing Day win at home to Reading.

Wolves would secure a fortunate 2-1 win in the last fixture of 2017 but City were simply deserving of their high league position ahead of the new year.

WATCH: CITY KICK ON INTO THE FESTIVE PERIOD

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