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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, December 21st 2017

Mark Ashton reflects on 'amazing night' for City

Mark Ashton has spoken of his pride, following City's 2-1 Carabao Cup victory against Manchester United.

Speaking to BCTV on Thursday morning, City's chief executive officer said the stadium had returned to a sense of calm after what Ashton described as "an amazing storm last night."

Joe Bryan and Korey Smith's goals, either side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's free-kick, dumped United out of the cup, sending the Robins through to face Manchester City in the semi-finals.

Ashton said: "It was amazing. It almost seems a little bit surreal being here today, seeing the calmness after what was an amazing storm last night. I think it was a fantastic night for Bristol City Football Club but also an amazing night for the city of Bristol.

"It was an opportunity for us to showcase to a global audience what we have built here and what we are trying to build. The result and the goal in the last couple of seconds of the game just typified what was an amazing night for everyone.

'ALL I REMEMBER IS THE PLACE EXPLODING'

"I was there thinking we're heading to extra time, with a game on Saturday at QPR and this is going to make it even tougher. Then Matty Taylor reverts a ball into Korey (Smith) and all I remember then is the place exploding. I heard someone say the roof came off, I think it literally did.

"I have to say a huge thank you to the fans because they played more than their part last night. They were unbelievable from start to finish and they were a major part in that result.

SENSE OF EUPHORIA

"At one point Steve (Lansdown) had me in a headlock. It really was euphoria and you always worry when fans come onto the pitch but I can't blame them because the excitement, the pent-up passion and the club waiting for an opportunity to celebrate something of that magnitude.

"Let's be clear Manchester United are a Galactica, there were some very big names on that pitch last night. It was not a lucky win, that was a great performance from start to finish and I think we deserved the win."

He continued: "There's something quite special about this place under the lights. Our record and performances under the lights are outstanding. The new stadium build, the team in red, the passion, the atmosphere, 27,000 people crammed into this stadium last night - what an atmosphere it generated and it transfers onto the pitch.

"I have been talking to the players and Josh Brownhill said that in his career he had never experienced anything quite like that."

CREDIT TO THE COACHES 

Ashton also spoke about the impressive Bryan and how his abilities as a left-sided player have been boosted by the club's coaches.

Ashton said: "I think Lee Johnson deserves some credit. When I came back here two years ago, there were questions about Joe: is he a left-midfielder or is he a left-back? Is he playing enough games?

"Lee has taken him on to the next level, so has Dean Holden and Jamie McAllister. They have played a huge influence on that and for an Academy boy from Bristol, to put on that kind of performance, with that kind of finish, on a world stage, is something we should all be very proud of."