The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Phillips

STEVE Cot­ter­ill ded­i­cated Bris­tol City’s first win in seven matches to long­time fan John Tovey and his guide dog af­ter an emo­tional chance en­counter at a cof­fee shop.

Cot­ter­ill met Tovey at the Costa cof­fee shop in Cribbs Cause­way, Bris­tol, this week and the pair struck up a con­ver­sa­tion.

Tovey had spent time in pri­son for fight­ing be­fore los­ing his sight due to di­a­betes. But he has since turned his life around and is now men­tor­ing young­sters to try to en­sure they do not go down the same path he did.

Cot­ter­ill promised Tovey he would record a first home win of the sea­son for him against Not­ting­ham For­est on Fri­day night and City duly de­liv­ered thanks to two early Aaron Wil­bra­ham goals.

The Robins boss said:“I ended up fuss­ing this guide dog while queue­ing up for a cof­fee and started speak­ing to his owner, who was a guy called John Tovey.

“He said to me, ‘Do I know that voice?’ – and asked me if I had any­thing to do with the Bris­tol City tat­too he had on his arm? I told him who I was and he be­came quite emo­tional.

“The dog was called Des and John and I had a great chat to­gether. I said we would win the game for them and I kept my prom­ise. John and Des, this one is for you.

“I don't think he’d mind me say­ing it, but John had been a bit of a naughty boy in his younger days and had turned his life around. He now gives talks to young of­fend­ers and helps other peo­ple. How fan­tas­tic is that?”

Bris­tol City took the lead af­ter four min­utes when Wil­bra­ham’s de­flected shot went past Dorus de Vries at his near post.

And it was 2-0 af­ter just 11 min­utes when the City cap­tain pulled off Kelvin Wil­son to head in Derek Wil­liams’ ex­cel­lent cross from the left.

Wil­bra­ham would have had a first hat-trick in al­most seven years had it not been for a fine dou­ble save by De Vries.

For­est did have chances to get back into the con­test though. Henri Lans­bury’s classy vol­ley struck the up­right and City goal­keeper Frankie Field­ing made a su­perb re­flex save to deny Jack Hobbs’ header from a cor­ner. But the Robins held on for their first home win since May - an 82 drub­bing of Wal­sall no less - and just their sec­ond vic­tory of the cam­paign to move off the bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship.

"We never de­served to be bot­tom of the ta­ble be­cause we have played like that in other games this sea­son and been pun­ished for er­rors,” added Cot­ter­ill.

“Look­ing at the ta­ble over the last fort­night has made us an­gry, rather than de­spon­dent, and that was the re­ac­tion I ex­pected.”

For­est cur­rently have a host of in­juries but Freed­man re­fused to make ex­cuses.

“A lot of man­agers and coaches will try to twist things and make some ex­cuses and look to cover their own backs. I am not go­ing to make ex­cuses,” Freed­man said.

“We are miss­ing play­ers in key po­si­tions, but those first 20 min­utes were nowhere near good enough if you want to play for this club. That is why we lost.

“I will look at things head on. I will not duck away from this; I will make sure we ad­dress th­ese is­sues.

“It was as poorly as we have played un­der me, in those first 20 min­utes. That was as bad as I have seen us play,I am dis­ap­pointed for the fans.

“It is not about ex­plain­ing why things have hap­pened, it is about do­ing some­thing about it to change it. We will dust our­selves down and we will get back into train­ing.

“We will work on the things we did badly in those first 20 min­utes.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

GOOD WIL HUNT­ING: Aaron Wil­bra­ham scores his and Bris­tol City’s first goal



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