Bristol City 3-0 West Brom: Bell's brace sends Robins into FA Cup fifth round
Striker Sam Bell seized his chance to impress with a brace in Bristol City’s 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory over West Bromn at Ashton Gate.
Promoted to the starting line-up in place of £9million Bournemouth signing Antoine Semenyo, the 20-year-old academy product opened the scoring after 12 minutes with an exquisite right-footed curling finish from inside the box after Albion failed to clear a corner.
It was 2-0 after 28 minutes, Mark Sykes breaking on to a Nahki Wells through-ball and crossing low for Alex Scott to slot in from close range.
Bell was on target again three minutes after the break, cleverly controlling a George Tanner cross from the right before lifting his shot over advancing goalkeeper David Button.
Albion were run ragged at times and when they did attack with menace could not find a finish to reward their massed ranks of travelling fans.
City were good value for their half-time lead, having produced some exhilarating attacking football.
Bell, son of former City left-back Micky Bell who now works as a coach in the club’s academy, had scored his first senior goal in the previous round against Swansea and troubled Albion with his pace from the start and earned the hosts an early lead.
West Brom might have fallen further behind as Button made a fine save at the feet of Wells after 17 minutes.
Much-changed Albion threatened when Tomas Rogic shot over a minute later. Then Jed Wallace robbed Rob Atkinson and might have gone down inside the area when caught from behind by the City defender.
Instead, Wallace kept his feet and could only chip into the arms of goalkeeper Max O’Leary.
Scott doubled City’s lead, but the hosts then had O’Leary to thank as he produced a fine save to keep out a Daryl Dike shot with an outstretched leg.
Okay Yokuslu also went close for Albion with a header from a corner, but City were the more threatening side for most of the opening 45 minutes.
When Bell quickly added to their lead in the second half, Albion boss Carlos Corberan responded with a triple substitution, replacing Rogic, Dike and Jayson Mulumby with Grady Diangana, Brandon Thomas-Asante and Taylor Gardner-Hickman.
Still City pressed and Sykes was narrowly wide with a 20-yard shot, while Bell got behind the Albion back-line again after 71 minutes, forcing another brave save from Button.
Thomas-Asante had a fierce drive saved by O’Leary as the visitors fought for at least a consolation goal.
Home boss Nigel Pearson was able to utilise his young bench in the closing stages, giving a debut to winger Marlee Francois after 86 minutes.
Another youngster, Omar Taylor-Clarke, also entered the action on a proud day for the club’s academy.