Bristol City had a weekend to remember with two hugely important wins over relegation rivals lifting Derek McInnes’s side four points clear of the drop zone and giving the fans renewed hope.
The double over the Easter weekend halted a run of five matches without a win and with only four games remaining of their Championship season, these victories could well prove crucial to City’s survival in England’s second tier.
On Saturday City travelled to fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest who had been recoving from a terrible season by their standards. It was City, however, that took all three points, despite Forest having the lion’s share of possession and 27 efforts on goal.
City by contrast had just four, but it was the away side who capitalised on the few efforts they had on goal. Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp brought down striker Jon Stead in the box to give away a penalty in the 55th minute, and Stead’s fellow striker Chris Wood made no mistake from the spot.
The City faithful were even more ecstatic come the final whistle on Easter Monday as they took on Coventry City, who are also threatened with the drop to League One, at Ashton Gate.
It was the away side who took the lead, however, with an own goal by City striker Stead on the half hour, diverting a free kick from Sky Blues midfielder Sammy Clingan into the net. A win for Coventry would have taken them out of the relegation zone and above their opponents, and at half time this was all going to plan. The second half though saw a different Bristol City re-emerge from the tunnel.
Just two minutes after the re-start, Stead made amends for his earlier own goal, forcing the ball home from a Brett Pitman corner which has been flicked on by Cole Skuse. McInnes’s side then took the lead with eight minutes remaining as Yannick Bolaise steered home from twelve yards out, just moments after coming on as a substitute.
The Bristol City support were chewing their fingernails with three minutes left on the clock as Brett Pitman was sent off for a foul on Jordan Clarke, but in the end that didn’t matter when Wood finished the game with his 90th minute strike.
The result means Bristol City can go into the final few games of the season with a huge boost of confidence, whilst Coventry, after collecting just a single point from the weekend from a 2-2 draw with Peterborough on Saturday, will need a big performance in their next outing away at Burnley if they are to keep any hope of retaining their Championship status.
Southampton maintained top spot in the table with a 2-2 home draw with Portsmouth on Saturday, with both goals coming from Billy Sharp, and a 2-0 away win at Crystal Palace on Easter Monday, with Rickie Lambert scoring both. The Saints are three points clear of Reading in second place, but the Royals have a game in hand against Brighton tonight.
Reading’s win on Good Friday against Leeds was a late one, but they got the job done eventually. Adam Le Fondre scored twice in the last six minutes to secure a 2-0 win, and after tonight’s game against Brighton they play the league leaders on Friday the 13th – a potential title decider.
West Ham sit three point behind Reading having played a game more, after a big win on Saturday and a draw on Easter Monday. The 4-0 away win at Barnsley was a big boost for their promotion push, but the Irons looked like they had thrown away the chance to catch the top two after they went 3-1 down at the break at home to Birmingham City. A Ricardo Vaz Te goal with just a minute to go salvaged a point though for Sam Allardyce’s side.
Birmingham are up to fourth with the draw at Upton Park and a 3-1 win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Goals from Chris Burke, Keith Fahey and David Murphy sealed Saturday’s win and looks set to secure Chris Hughton’s side a play-off position.
Leicester City gave themselves a slim chance of making the Championship play-offs with a win double over Easter. On Saturday the Foxes took on relegation threatened Doncaster and beat them convincingly 4-0 at the King Power Stadium, while on Easter Monday Nigel Pearson’s side ran out 2-1 winners away at Ipswich. Ben Marshall and David Nugent were on target in this game.
Doncaster are now bottom of the Championship table after they lost on Monday too, this time at home to Burnley. Charlie Austin’s second half penalty sealed the win for the Clarets meaning that Rovers are now eleven points from safety and seemingly doomed to spending next season fighting for promotion from League One.
Cardiff City, meanwhile, set about the weekend trying to get back into the play-off positons and they succeeded first with a win on Saturday over play-off rivals Middlesbrough, and then a hardfought 1-1 draw at home with Watford. Only an 82nd minute equaliser from Nyron Nosworthy stopping it being a perfect weekend for Malky Mackay’s side.
Tags: Bristol City, Championship, Coventry City, Derek McInnes, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Southampton, West Ham