Bristol City 2-1 Nottm Forest - 16-Dec-2017 : Match Report
Long-range goals from Marlon Pack and Joe Bryan set Bristol City on course to boost their Sky Bet Championship promotion bid with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Ashton Gate.
Midfielder Pack broke the deadlock on 36 minutes, accepting a Korey Smith pass 25 yards out and beating Jordan Smith with a sweetly struck right-footed drive. Bryan netted from even further out in first-half stoppage time, hammering a left-footed shot that appeared to wrong-foot goalkeeper Smith as it flashed into the net.
Forest replied with a special goal of their own two minutes after the break, Kieran Dowell advancing to strike a 30-yard shot past Frank Fielding with his left foot to stun the home fans. But the visitors could not force an equaliser in a closely fought clash that did credit to both sides.
Forest goalkeeper Smith kept his side in the game with brilliant first-half saves to deny Bobby Reid, Jamie Paterson and Pack as City showed why they are pressing for a place in the Championship top's two.
Reid was just wide with an acrobatic volley on 11 minutes and Lee Johnson's side were well worth their interval lead.
Mustapha Carayol created and missed Forest's best first-half chance on 32 minutes. The former Bristol Rovers winger raced past three defenders into the box only to fire wildly over with only Fielding to beat.
Daryl Murphy had been denied by an early Fielding save, but the visitors found it hard to carve out chances against a strong City back line.
Just before Bryan's goal Forest lost defender Matt Mills to injury and sent on Ben Osborn as replacement.
Dowell's strike lifted Forest spirits at the start of the second period, but City almost restored their two-goal advantage when left-back Hordur Magnusson burst forward and was inches wide with a low shot.
Carayol's shot from distance was comfortably held by Fielding as Forest fought hard for an equaliser.
There was a collective intake of breath from City supporters when substitute Osborn almost scored the fourth long-range goal of the match, grazing the crossbar on 76 minutes.
At the other end Bryan volleyed wide and the outcome remained in the balance. Both managers made changes and it was City who went closest to another goal on 89 minutes.
Substitute Matt Taylor made room for a low shot inside the box and Smith went full length to his right to make a superb save.
Forest kept going to the end and their 1,267 travelling fans could have no complaints about the effort put in by their team.
But it was City who claimed the points with another strong display that suggested they are there to stay in the Championship promotion shake-up.