New Bristol City boss Lee Johnson made the perfect start to his managerial career at Ashton Gate after securing a 2-1 victory over play-off contenders Ipswich Town.
An Adam Flint double sealed a crucial win for the Robins, who now have some breathing space over the bottom three. They remain in 21st place in the Sky Bet Championship, but are five points clear of Rotherham United in 22nd.
Flint broke the deadlock on 20 minutes, rising at the near post to head home Luke Freeman’s corner from the right, and the ball going in off the upright.
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy must have been tearing his hair out 15 minutes later when Freeman delivered another in-swinging corner for Flint to double the advantage with another glancing header at the near post.
The home side were dominant throughout the game, but Ipswich sent on former Bristol City striker Brett Pitman to try and change the game.
The Tractor Boys had chances in the second half, with home goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell denying Daryl Murphy on two separate occasions.
They finally found the net in the 61st minute, as Pitman came back to haunt his old side with a low finish to put his Ipswich back in the game.
However, the hosts managed to hold on to secure their first back-to-back wins this season. Ipswich will be kicking themselves as this was a chance for them to narrow the gap on the top six.
FootballLeagueWorld writer Ashley Williams identifies THREE things we learned from yesterday’s game…
1) Renewed hope for the Robins?
The appointment of Johnson will have sparked a big confidence boost inside the dressing room.
The new manager received a rousing ovation from the home crowd when making his way down the dug-out at the final whistle.
There was a big crowd for the game, and the players would have wanted to make a good first impression. They certainly did that, as the Robins controlled the majority of the contest.
With two successive wins, they will feel that they can stay in this league. They have brought in some excellent signings in January that have significantly improved the squad.
They have a tough couple of games coming up against Brighton and Nottingham Forest, but the game next week against fellow strugglers MK Dons will be a key one for Johnson.
If they win that game, they will stay up.
2) Ipswich’s winless away streak goes on
The loss against Bristol City will fuel a significant amount of frustration for McCarthy, as this was their fourth away defeat in a row.
Having gone two goals down in the first half, the visitors always faced an uphill struggle.
Pitman’s goal gave them a lifeline but, despite having chances, they never really put the Robins under significant pressure having reduced the lead while, at the other end, the excellent Batorsz Bialkowski remained the busier of the two keepers.
The Tractor Boys need to start picking up points away from Portman Road if they are going to make the top six – their last win away from home was a 1-0 victory over Brighton back on the 29th December.
3) Big chance missed for the Tractor Boys
With Birmingham City, Derby County and Cardiff City all dropping points, they will be kicking themselves that they allowed Bristol City to walk over them at Ashton Gate.
They could have been level on points with sixth placed Derby if they managed to pull off a victory. The result sees them drop to eighth place after a second loss in a row.
They face an in-form Hull City on Tuesday night, and they need to dust themselves down and show why they can finally achieve a play-off place this season.
Bristol and Ipswich fans… Can Bristol City stay up? Can Ipswich still make the play offs? How much of an impact has Johnson already had at the club? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!