Live: Bristol City v Middlesbrough
Posted: Tuesday, October 20th 2020
Tuesday, April 14th 2020
There would be much to look forward to at the turn of the new calendar year, which kicked off with action in the FA Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy before City could return to their impressive league run.
On-loan striker Matt Smith was the reliant robin as City fought back to earn a replay in the FA Cup third round fixture away to Doncaster Rovers. City were far from their best in South Yorkshire but they stuck to their task and grabbed the deserved equaliser with 15 minutes to play.
Steve Cotterill would then take his men to Kent to face Gillingham for a second time in nine days, this time in the first leg of the JPT southern area final.
City proved victorious 4-2 with Smith showing his worth once again to help set up a small cushion ahead of the second leg.
The man on loan from Fulham struck all four goals, three of them spectacular, on a night where City could have scored many more.
Todd Kane's loan from Chelsea came to an end - he had made seven appearances in all competitions - just days before league action returned for 2015.
City would play at Ashton Gate for the first time of January 10th, where they recorded a convincing 4-0 win over Notts County.
An inspired Jay Emmanuel-Thomas led from the front, providing the opening goal for Joe Bryan and scoring the third with a low shot which crept just inside the far post.
Matt Smith continued his remarkable recent form with an important poacher’s effort just before half-time to leave County facing a mountain they never looked like conquering.
Derrick Williams added a late fourth and City’s eighth in two games with a neat finish from a Bryan cutback to round off the most convincing of the Robins’ 15 league wins this term.
Doncaster Rovers were in town in midweek where City did the business to secure a spot in the FA Cup fourth round, thanks to a double from Emmanuel-Thomas and set up a clash with the Premier League's West Ham United.
But before that City had a league test with Scunthorpe United. The hosts would play much of the game without a recognised keeper with both their starter and bench shotstopper injured during the game though City mustered enough to get the win thanks to Emmanuel'Thomas' first half penalty before Freeman's late breakaway goal.
But City couldn't follow this up with a home FA Cup shock, as West Ham United held on to a 1-0 lead thanks to substitute Diafra Sakho and reach the fifth round.
There was still the matter of that JPT southern area final second leg to play to round off January, and when Smith headed in against the Gills - his fifth goal of the two-legged tie - it was all but over. Gillingham did level the scores but 1-1 was how the game ended with City progressing to Wembley where they would face Walsall in March.
City marked the end of January top of the table with 63 points, now five points clear of second-placed MK Dons, and before the winter transfer closed, they added defender James Tavernier and midfielder George Saville to their ranks.
The extra bodies would help play a push in this second half of the campaign with 13 League One fixtures between now and the sight of the Wembley Arch. But City would head into February full of confidence, with Fleetwood Town marching up to Ashton Gate the first of those 13 fixtures...
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