Report: Bristol City 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Saturday, December 16th 2017
Marlon Pack's first goal of the campaign helped City on their way to a fourth-straight victory in the Sky Bet Championship, with a 2-1 home win against Nottingham Forest.
The midfielder's 25-yard strike put City ahead before Joe Bryan, playing on the left-wing, smashed in the Robins' second goal of the day soon after.
Forest's Kieran Dowell halved the deficit with a stunning long-range strike of his own soon after the restart.
However, the visitors never really threatened a grandstand finish, leaving Lee Johnson's side to walk away with 12 points from a possible 12 in their last four outings.
City made just one change to the team which beat Sheffield United eight days earlier, with Hordur Magnusson restored to the starting XI ahead of Niclas Eliasson.
Former Forest winger Jamie Paterson, who scored the winner in this fixture last season, also started as he went in search of his third goal in as many games.
CITY IN CONTROL
It was a comfortable display from both sides for the majority of the first half, until City cranked up the gears to hit two goals 11 minutes apart.
Forest came close to breaking the deadlock but Frank Fielding got down smartly to turn away a Daryl Murphy low shot. City’s number one then positioned himself well to deny a Matt Mills header from the resulting corner.
At the the other end, Bobby Reid went close with an audacious scissor-kick, before Jordan Smith parried a shot from the forward just minutes later.
Mustapha Carayol then burst his way into the box, dodging a number of City players in the process, but he blazed well off-target when presented the opportunity to shoot, to much applause from the home crowd.
THE PACK AND BRYAN SHOW
But it was Lee Johnson's side who drew first blood thanks to Pack's first goal of the season.
Paterson played in Reid who was denied again by Smith but City kept the pressure on. Smith picked the ball up and played a pass to the unmarked Pack, whose 25-yard shot nestled into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Pack almost grabbed his and City’s second goal not long afterwards. Paterson skipped past two challenges before his shot was saved by Smith and Pack's follow up header was blocked.
But City didn’t have to wait much longer to double their lead. A City corner was flicked into the path of Bryan, courtesy of Paterson, and the City Academy graduate blasted the ball into the goal from range, wrong-footing Smith for his third goal of the season.
FOREST QUICK OUT THE BLOCKS
That goal appeared to kick the away side into life ,as they reduced the deficit within minutes of the second half. Dowell received a pass from Liam Bridcutt before unleashing a 35-yard screamer beyond Fielding, after running forward, completely unchallenged.
Magnusson could have added City’s third but his rifled shot from an acute angle fizzed inches wide of goal, before the game settled in terms of chances.
But as it progressed into the latter stages, it was Forest had the better opportunities to score next, in their pursuit of an equaliser.
A tame effort from Carayol was easily smothered by Fielding, before winger Tyler Walker scuffed a close-range effort wide. Seconds later, Ben Osborn fizzed a strike inches over Fielding’s bar from distance.
CITY GO IN SEARCH OF A THIRD
Nathan Baker also fired off-target for the Robins and Bryan drilled an effort wide of goal, all before substitute Matty Taylor saw his low shot saved by Smith late on.
But City held on to claim all three points in a third consecutive 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory.
The Ashton Gate win strengthens their position in the top six, although second-placed Cardiff City were also victorious, beating Hull City 1-0, to maintain a four-point advantage in the automatic spots.
City return to action in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday evening, when they host Manchester United in BS3. The match is sold out.