Man­ager­less Bris­tol City shocked Mid­dles­brough

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Richard Latham

JOHN Pem­ber­ton’s thoughts were with Steve Cot­ter­ill af­ter an in­jury-time goal from Wes Burns clinched a Cham­pi­onship dou­ble over lead­ers Boro for man­ager­less Bris­tol City.

Cot­ter­ill’s loyal as­sis­tant was as shocked as any­one by the man­ager’s sack­ing on Thurs­day and is des­per­ate to have a fu­ture at Ash­ton Gate him­self

Pem­ber­ton did those prospects no harm by over­see­ing a fully de­served vic­tory, hav­ing in­her­ited the reins along with Un­der-21 coach Wade El­liott.

To­gether they mas­ter­minded a hugely com­mit­ted dis­play that had City fans in a 15,000 crowd leap­ing around in ela­tion at the fi­nal whis­tle.

Pem­ber­ton said: “It has been a very dif­fi­cult week be­cause we lost a good man and a good man­ager.

“I am gut­ted for Steve Cot­ter­ill and I know no one will be hap­pier than him over the re­sult.

“The re­sponse from the play­ers was un­be­liev­able and we fully de­served to win.

“With all due re­spect to Mid­dles­brough, we were the bet­ter team out there.

“We had only one day to work with the play­ers and tried to keep things as sim­ple as pos­si­ble.

“We tried a dif­fer­ent for­ma­tion, with three Bris­tol lads in the team, and it all worked well.

“We have had a few last gasp goals go against us, so it was good for one to go our way.

“The lads have been giv­ing ev­ery­thing and just haven’t been get­ting that bit of luck.

“I don’t know how long Wade and I will be in charge.

“But if it’s a week or month or a year there will be no prob­lems from me.

“I would like to stay at the club, but in what ca­pac­ity I don’t know.

“We are look­ing to add to the squad at the mo­ment.”

The last-gasp win­ner came when Aden Flint nod­ded a Bobby Reid cor­ner to­wards the far post and Burns was on hand to score, ap­ply­ing the faintest of glanc­ing head­ers to the ball.

City hit the bar late on through a Flint header and cre­ated the bet­ter chances through­out.

Pem­ber­ton and El­liott opted to play with a back-four, rather than Cot­ter­ill’s trusted 3-5-2 for­ma­tion and the move paid im­me­di­ate div­i­dends as City de­fended with greater so­lid­ity through­out against the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble top­pers.

There was lit­tle to trou­ble on-loan goal­keeper Richard O’Don­nell, while at the other end Dimi Kon­stan­topou­los had to be alert to make good saves from Burns and Luke Ayling.

Boro were strangely sub­dued and, roared on by an en­thu­si­as­tic crowd, City made light of their lowly league po­si­tion to snatch a late win­ner through Burns.

Karanka said:“It was a late goal, but it could have come five or ten min­utes ear­lier be­cause we could not clear our box in the clos­ing stages of the match. We knew it would be a tough game and that Bris­tol were dan­ger­ous from set­pieces. But I ex­pected much more from my play­ers.

“We didn’t de­serve to win be­cause we didn’t play in our usual way and our key play­ers did not per­form as they can.

“Peo­ple were ex­pect­ing an easy win for us, but foot­ball is not like that and the Cham­pi­onship is not like that.

“It was a poor per­for­mance. Some­times there is more pres­sure for the play­ers in fac­ing a strug­gling side than in big games and we didn’t deal with it in this game.

“We are still in a very good po­si­tion and there is one less game to go, so I pre­fer to look for­ward and con­cen­trate on the pos­i­tives.”

PIC­TURE:Ac­tion Im­ages

LAST GASP: Wes Burns wins it late for man­ager­less Bris­tol City

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