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Bristol City 3-1 Southampton: Robins end Saints' sensational run
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Sam Bell, right, opened the scoring for Bristol City (Adam Davy/PA)
Sam Bell, right, opened the scoring for Bristol City (Adam Davy/PA)

Second-half goals from Sam Bell, Rob Dickie and Harry Cornick put a dent in Southampton’s bid for automatic promotion as Bristol City won an entertaining Championship clash 3-1 at Ashton Gate.

The home side grabbed a 52nd-minute lead when Anis Mehmeti and Jason Knight exchanged passes on the right of the box and Mehmeti crossed low for Bell to net from six yards.

Centre-back Dickie rose above the Saints defence to head home a Joe Williams corner from the left after 72 minutes and Cornick set the seal on an impressive City display by lashing home an 82nd-minute cross from fellow substitute Ross McCrorie.

Southampton – who sit third in the table with a game in hand over second-placed Leeds two points above them – had to wait until stoppage time to reply when Adam Armstrong netted from the spot following a foul on Kyle Walker-Peters.

The visitors could have no complaints after failing to find a finish to match some slick passing moves. It was Liam Manning’s best win since replacing Nigel Pearson as City boss.

His side edged an open first half in which both teams produced some attractive football without conjuring up a telling final touch.

Manning’s team were quicker off the blocks and the first seven minutes saw Bell, Tommy Conway and George Tanner have attempts on goal without troubling goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

It was Southampton who came closest to breaking the deadlock after 18 minutes when a looping volley from Samuel Edozie clipped the crossbar.

Knight sent a low volley wide for the hosts before City goalkeeper Max O’Leary had to save bravely at the feet of Will Smallbone.

Walker-Peters and David Brooks were combining well on Southampton’s right flank, but the Saints defence looked vulnerable as Mehmeti had a shot saved and Bell fired inches wide at the far post from a right wing cross.

City defender Zak Vyner had to block two shots from Armstrong, who also forced a save from O’Leary.

At the other end Bazunu did well to race outside his box to rob Mehmeti as he broke on to a clever Knight pass, before the half ended with a Mehmeti shot deflected into the side-netting.

Saints looked sure to go ahead a minute into the second half when Edozie sent a low left-footed drive across goal and Brooks just failed to get a touch as he slid in, colliding with a post and requiring treatment. It proved a key moment.

Russell Martin had sent on Stuart Armstrong in place of Shea Charles. But it was City who struck with Bell’s close-range finish to take a deserved lead.

From then on, Manning’s men dominated with some fast attacking football. The goals from Dickie and Cornick rammed home their superiority.

Other chances went begging, but Ashton Gate was rocking at the final whistle as home fans contemplated a late play-off challenge.


ChampionshipBristol CitySouthampton
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