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Report: Bristol City 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Two early goals from Aaron Wilbraham fired Bristol City to their first home win of the season at the expense of Nottingham Forest in Steve Cotterill’s 100th game in charge.

The television cameras have proved a lucky omen for the manager, who remains unbeaten in seven matches on Sky Sports including this latest success over his former club.

City skipper Wilbraham scored with a deflected shot and a trademark header inside the opening 11 minutes from two crosses as City flew out of the traps.

Only a late double save from Forest keeper Dorus De Vries prevented a Wilbraham hat-trick in a game City were well deserving of maximum points.

Steve Cotterill handed a debut to Elliott Bennett at right wing-back, with fellow loan recruit Simon Cox only among the substitutes against his former club.

Elsewhere, Korey Smith returned from a groin strain to replace Bobby Reid in midfield, while Derrick Williams ousted Joe Bryan on the left flank to pit his wits against makeshift right-back Danny Fox in a Forest side decimated by injuries and suspensions.

City started brightly – so much so the visitors looked blinded under the lights at Ashton Gate.

Bennett was involved straight away, latching on to some excellent build-up play by Luke Ayling before picking out Jonathan Kodjia with a low cross just fractionally behind the Frenchman, who lifted his shot high over the crossbar as he leaned back.

But it was a warning not heeded by Dougie Freedman’s side, who fell behind from a similar move inside four minutes.

Again Bennett crossed for Kodjia, who this time headed on towards the back post for strike partner Wilbraham to collect, take aim and score from eight yards via a deflection.

City have been criticised of late for not continuing to attack once in front, but certainly could not have been accused of the same problem this week as they continued to tear into Forest.

The visitors would have to wait ten minutes for any form of sustained possession, but within seconds found themselves 2-0 down.

This time Williams was the architect, floating an enticing cross on to the head of Wilbraham – the sort of delivery the striker has gobbled up for years on end and this was no different, adding his second of the night with a decisive header past De Vries.

Confidence was flowing through the red shirts, illustrated by Marlon Pack’s willingness to try his luck from 35 yards with a rising drive that drifted high and wide.

But Forest would have their moments. Frank Fielding had to be alert for the first time to make a tremendous save to keep out Jack Hobbs when the defender headed with power towards the roof of the net from Henri Lansbury’s right-wing corner.

Fielding was called upon again to deny the same player soon after, before Aden Flint blocked bravely at the feet of Chris O’Grady.

It would prove a brief spell of visiting pressure. Luke Freeman, still searching for his first Ashton Gate goal, has rarely come closer than with a 25-yard drive that had De Vries scrambling to his left and relieved to see the ball fly past his post.

Then Kodjia sold a delightful dummy to engineer a shooting chance in the box only for his left-foot shot to deflect behind off Hobbs.

City’s top scorer had the beating of the Forest backline who looked scared of his pace – a trend that continued into the second half as the hosts maintained a counter-attacking threat even after Forest showed signs of improvement.

The early stages of the second period suggested Freedman had not minced his words at the interval, as Daniel Pinillos wasted no time in testing Fielding from 30 yards.

But skipper Lansbury looked the pick of the bunch in yellow, sending one dipping effort a couple of yards wide before threatening to haul his team back into the context with a spectacular strike just shy of the hour.

Having survived a bout of head tennis inside the penalty area, City were breathing a collective sigh of relief when the former Arsenal man took the ball on his chest and sent a deliberate curling volley towards the top corner that only stayed out via the angle of post and bar with Fielding a spectator.

Fielding was required to deny former Derby County team-mate with a stooping save down by his near post, but it was De Vries at the other end who had to make really fine save to keep out the ever-dangerous Kodjia.

Ayling and Bennett had combined well all night and did so again when the defender prodded the ball towards the byeline for the debutant to cut it back first time into a great area for Kodjia, who drilled a fierce first-time shot towards the bottom corner that looked like wrapping up maximum points only for De Vries to stretch out a big left hand down by his upright.

De Vries was busy again in keeping Ayling at bay from point-blank range at the far post, as City set about putting the game to bed once and for all.

Still the Dutchman remained the busier keeper as the clock ticked by, ensuring there would be no matchball for the evergreen Wilbraham with a sprawling stop from a far-post header before picking himself up to deny the City man’s side-footed follow up.

But at no point were the home team hanging on as they eased to a first Ashton Gate victory since the 8-2 thumping of Walsall on the final day of last season.

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