Bristol City 2
Emmanuel-Thomas (12), Bryan (76)
Bristol Rovers 1
Bristol City came out on top in the Bristol derby at Ashton Gate and while they were definitely the better side in the opening period, they had only a 12th minute goal from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas for their efforts.
The second half was more like the game we had expected, with both sides going all out to score.
Rovers got back on level terms through Mark McChrystal, but the home side scored again through Joe Bryan and go through to the next round.
Manager John Ward made just one change to his starting lineup for tonight’s first round Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie.
Matt Harrold, who replaced the injured Ryan Brunt on Saturday, kept his place in the side, but Brunt had recovered and was able to take his place on the bench.
The game began at a frantic pace with City enjoying the lion’s share of possession and they forced the first corner of the game after five minutes.
Steve Mildenhall gathered the ball safely from Bobby Reid’s corner, but City remained on the offensive and opened the scoring on 12 minutes. Reid played in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who took one step forward and
beat Mildenhall from 30 yards with a stunning left foot shot.
Rovers at last managed to get out of their own half and David Clarkson, playing against his former club, rolled the ball wide of the upright.
City went close again when Aden Flint headed just wide from a corner but Rovers hit back and Ollie Norburn tried a snap shot from 25 yards out which drew a routine save from Elliot Parish.
Rovers had a great opportunity to get back on level terms on the half hour mark when O’Toole arrived late in the area to connect with Norburn’s corner, but his powerful effort was directed well wide of the upright.
Two minutes later, though, Mildenhall produced an outstanding save to deny Marlon Harewood whose shot was destined for the back of the net before the keeper dived low to his right to push it away.
Rovers created another opportunity with seven minutes of the half remaining. O’Toole caught Marlon Pack in possession and played the ball into Harrold, but his shot carried little power and was comfortably saved by Parish.
Almost immediately City broke down the right and a curling cross from Reid hit the bar and rebounded to safety, while in their next attack City again hit the woodwork when Harewood’s effort struck the upright and fell behind for a goal kick.
Harrison tried his luck with two minutes remaining but his weak effort trickled through to Parish.
Rovers began the second half much better than they had the first and Norburn almost capitalised on a defensive error but delayed his shot and the chance was gone.
Lee Brown tried as long range effort that flew over the bar as Rovers took the game tom their hosts.
They deservedly got back on level terms on the hour mark when Brown floated a free kick into the area and Mark McChrystal rose to head home his first goal for the club.
The impressive Emmanuel-Thomas hit a shot well wide of the target five minutes later while a Tom Lockyer effort drifted wide of the City upright at the other end.
Clarkson then headed wide from Michael Smith’s ball into the box. It was City who regained the lead, though with 76 minutes on the clock.
Emmanuel-Thomas did the damage, as his powerful shot was parried by Mildenhall. The rebound came out to Joe Bryan who curled a shot into the top corner to register his first goal for the club.
Reid curled another effort over the bar while Parish saved comfortably from Norburn at the other end.
There was another chance for Rovers just before the end when a rasping drive from Ellis Harrison was pushed out by Parish as far as Norburn who blazed his effort over the bar when well placed.
There was another close call for the home side when Brendan Moloney headed just wide of his own goal as a cross came in for the right.
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Oliver Norburn, John-Joe O’Toole, David Clarkson (Alefe Santos, 81), Matt Harrold (Ryan Brunt, 80)
Substitutes: Garry Kenneth, Matt Gill, Conor Gough
City: Elliot Parish, Brendan Moloney, Aden Flint, James O’Connor, Nicky Shorey, Scott Wagstaff, Bobby Reid (Jordan Wynter, 90), Joe Bryan (Louis carey, 88), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Marlon Pack, Marlon Harewood (Sam Baldock, 68)
Substitutes: Frank Fielding, Stephen McLaughlin
Referee: Simon Hooper
Rovers fans: 2,429