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Report: Yeovil Town 0-3 Bristol City

Bristol City eased to a 3-0 victory away to local rivals Yeovil Town this evening to move 13 points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One.

Kieran Agard and Luke Freeman struck in quick succession at the start of the second half before George Saville added gloss to the scoreline with a well-taken third goal four minutes from time.

Steve Cotterill named another unchanged team in search of a third straight win on the road against a team battling for survival.

City, persisting with the purple and lime strip, did not take long to settle.

Yeovil promotion winner Luke Ayling was applauded by the home fans before kick-off but greeted by boos as he embarked on an early charge towards the penalty area, which culminated in stabbing a shot only inches wide of the upright on the outside of his right foot.

The hosts were not afraid to go for it, regularly leaving two or three players forward when on the back foot, paving the way for openings for City to exploit.

From one such attack, Joe Bryan fed the ball into the left channel for Freeman, whose first-time cross from the byeline found Aaron Wilbraham peeling away at the far post.

The skipper showed excellent composure to bring the ball down and spot Korey Smith pleading for the ball to be laid off 20 yards from goal.

As Smith strode forward to shoot first time, he must have thought he had found the bottom corner with Scott Loach rooted to the spot only for defender Stephen Arthurworrey to smell the danger and make a crucial clearance.

At the other end, the hosts possessed a 6ft 5in centre-forward keen to unsettle the league leaders. He should have done exactly that when a Nathan Smith cross was delivered perfectly on to his head, but elected to try to pick out a team-mate rather than head for goal from no more than ten yards.

Clear chances were proving few and far between. When Wilbraham was pulled back 25 yards out, the ensuing free kick award appeared a relatively presentable opportunity.

Whilst the obvious candidate seemed to be former Yeovil loanee Luke Freeman, a disguised set-piece routine instead invited Marlon Pack to connect with a clean strike tipped around his near post by the diving Loach.

It had been a first half in which City had enjoyed no shortage of possession without unduly troubling the home team.

Another of the ex-Glovers in the visiting ranks, Agard tried his luck from the right corner of the box with a low shot not close enough to worry Loach nor wide enough to find the poaching Wilbraham.

But any absence of thrust in City’s attacking play was soon extinguished after the interval, as Cotterill’s men struck twice inside the opening four minutes of the second half.

First Smith picked out Bryan on the left, who provided a carbon copy of his assist for Wilbraham at Leyton Orient seven days prior to roll the ball invitingly along the six-yard line for Agard to move into double figures with a simple tap-in at the far post.

That was after 47 minutes, and two minutes later the lead was doubled by Freeman’s third goal in his last five games.

It was a classy finish too, as the attacking midfielder picked his spot from Mark Little’s square pass, opening up his body to curl a precise shot just inside the far post from 18 yards.

Suddenly, from being satisfied at the break, Yeovil were facing a mountain to climb.

The Glovers did threaten an immediate riposte to halve the deficit through veteran substitute James Hayter, who had only just wandered on to the pitch when Joel Grant picked him out with a cross that seemed to be on a plate only for Hayter to head the ball wide from six yards with his first touch.

Cotterill was afforded the luxury of making the first of his three substitutes relatively early, just after the hour mark, as Greg Cunningham replaced the typically impressive Bryan. Saville would follow nine minutes later.

Not that City’s effectiveness down the left was compromised, as Freeman crossed from the same flank towards Agard, who might have done better than head the ball into the majority of the 2,000 City fans occupying the terraced stand behind Loach’s goal.

There were further chances for goal poacher Agard, who always seems to come alive after finding the net, as he came close to profiting from good work from Aden Flint at a set-piece before lashing a shot wide of the post from uncharacteristically long range at the end of a bustling solo run.

Yeovil continued to plug away, as Hayter set his sights on the top corner to no avail, but Saville would kill off the home challenge once and for all.

After his first shot was comically scuffed into a crowded penalty area on his right foot, his second attempt on his stronger left was dispatched with conviction, beating Loach down to his left with a dipping effort to send the travelling masses into party mode.