Ciy started the month at home to Middlesbrough in front of the Sky sports cameras, knowing a win would push them up to third and help push for the automatic places. Both teams had chances early on but it was a dominant performance from city which in turn allowed them to strike first just after half time, an in swinging right hand cross from Bailey Wright was met by Joe Bryan and put into the near post, then a few minutes later Aden Flint of all people made a surging run forward playing a one-two with Reid and crossing the ball into the box to find the onrushing Paterson who poked home from close range. Middlesbrough did get a goal back 15 minutes from time when Magnusson headed a clearance into his own goal. This was a not enough to stop city with all aspects of the team performing on the night to secure the three points.
Away from home City faced Sheffield United again in front of the Sky sports cameras, it looked to be an entertaining game with Sheffield’s United impressive return to the Championship. Both teams occupied the play off positions and for city it would be a game to steer clear of them. Shefield United dominated the first half and should of gone ahead hitting the woodwork on numerous occasions, but it was city who struck first after a surging run from Paterson he struck the ball to beat the keeper, 1-0 city. Sheffield United did get back into the game thanks to their man in form Leon Clarke, it was duly deserved to reignite the game. Both teams pushed for a winner but city come out top, Aden Flint in injury time after a run forward Reid chipped the ball into the box to find Flint who made a neat finish past the keeper and send the fans wild, another three points on the road.
Back at Ashton Gate Nottingham Forest were the visitors, city would be looking to emulate their previous away performance and secure a home victory. Both sides started well with forest going closest, but it was city who would come strike first. Marlon Pack with his low driven shot from 25 yards out nestling into the bottom corner to break the deadlock. From then on city added another with Joe Bryan adding to the score sheet and continuing his impressive form this season. Forest did get a goal just after half time with a speculative 35 yard effort catching Frank Fielding and the whole of the stadium out. City, like they have done so often this season saw the game out to ensure the three points would be staying in BS3.
Back in League Cup action city hosted previous winners and English giants Manchester United. Ashton gate was a sellout and this match had been talked about for weeks, there was such a good feeling around the ground for this. United fielded a starting XI featuring the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Martial. City put out there strongest team in hope of shocking them. United started well, Martial playing a teasing cross to the back post finding Ibrahimovic who’s shot was deflected onto the crossbar, a sign of things to come. Rashford also came close, his shot hitting the post to the delight of the home crowd. City too came close to going ahead, Korey Smith denied a shooting chance after a last ditch tackle from Daley Blind.
0-0 at halftime I think many City fans would of been happy with that; this was Manchester United after all. City started well in the second half making numerous chances but it would be Joe Bryan to open the scoring for city. 50 minutes on the clock Pack played a lovely through ball behind the defence to release Bryan, his shot from outside the area nestling into the top corner, scenes of sheer pandemonium and ecstasy; Bristol City 1 – Manchester United 0. United did find a equaliser after Zlatan Ibrahimoivc scored with a low shot from his set piece. All square. This did not scare city but only give them confidence, backed by an electric atmosphere one in which I can say is the best I’ve ever experienced they pushed for a winner… and that they did. When writing this I must say I have seen some highs and lows of watching city but what happened next goes down in Bristol City folklore it felt like time froze still, and to say I was there, I saw it, is something I will never ever forgot.
90+3 it is virtually the last kick off the game, I struggle to find words to sum it up and the only way I can is thanks to the commentary from the game “Still life in this for Bristol City, in by Taylor… IT’S SMITH!!!… THE ROOF HAS JUST COME OFF HERE AT ASHTON GATE, STOPPAGE TIME…BRISTOL CITY 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 1, THE HOLDERS ARE CRASHING OUT”. These words are forever etched into our history as we beat Manchester United to progress to the Semi-finals of the league cup and make it a very memorable night.
After the highs of the League Cup city returned to League action, away at Loftus Road facing Ian Holloway’s QPR. City were backed with a sold out away end, one in which contained myself. QPR started much better of the two and were rewarded with this after ex city man Luke Freeman’s free kick found the back of the net thanks to an Aden Flint own goal. It did not look like city at all and seemed their cup heroics had come back to bite them, but this was not the case and city played the second half much better, chance after chance came their way but they just couldn’t finish. On the 80th minute city were awarded a penalty, and the man in form, Bobby Reid calmly finished right in front of the travelling supporters to send them wild. From then on city dominated and should of won the game, Cauley Woodrow’s shot inches away from the goal, but it was not to be and the game ended 1-1, a good result on the road to help maintain city’s unbeaten month.
Boxing day football and city hosted Reading who have seemed to struggle after their play off final defeat last season. City came into the game unbeaten throughout the whole month and looked to keep their promotion push on track. City started well pressing in the early stages and whenever possible. They should of gone ahead but Josh Brownhill’s effort sailed over the crossbar, Reading reacted to this and gave their all causing the game to be closely knit affair. Second half city played much better and were rewarded thanks to Jamie Paterson’s curling effort finding the top corner of the net and leaving Mannone with no chance for heroics. In the latter stages city doubled their advantage through young substitute Lloyd Kelly, his quick rebound to Brownhills effort putting the game to bed and securing another important win.
Championship leaders Wolves were the visitors to Ashton Gate and the match was also being broadcast on sky. I did not manage to attend the game as I was in holiday in Scotland, we did however manage to find a pub broadcasting the game and were definitely the only city fans in there! City played well in the first half controlling the game from the off, they were unlucky not to go ahead on numerous occasions if it wasn’t for the heroics of Wolves keeper Ruddy. City were handed an even better chance to go ahead after Wolves were reduced to ten men, defender Batth sent off for his late challenge on Magnusson.
After the restart city finally went in front thanks to the star man Bobby Reid his low shot beating John Ruddy. Wolves fought back and they have a reason to be at the top of the league, Doherty was played through and keeper Fielding raced off his line bringing him down, Fielding was sent off and both teams were to play with ten men, game set and match. To make matters worse Wolves scored straight from the set piece and give the visitors vital confidence. It looked like it would finish all square but Wolves had other ideas, awarded a set piece near the edge of the area it was met by Bennett at the back post to beat the keeper and secure the three points for Wolves. A hard defeat to swallow but city were still in the play off places.