Scott Dann’s last-gasp strike in a pulsating contest broke City’s perfect unbeaten home record after the Robins had twice come from behind to equalise.Jordan Rhodes’ even later fifth made for misleading viewing on the scoreboard after City matched their much-fancied opponents for long periods.Albert Adomah set the tone with the opener after just 43 seconds, but Rhodes’ 28th minute equaliser left the game in the balance at the interval.Nuno Gomes’ 55th minute strike then had Blackburn in front before Stephen Pearson made it 2-2.Rovers substitute Ruben Rochina looked to have won it for the visitors nine minutes from time, only for fellow replacement Sam Baldock to appear to have rescued a justifiable point.But in an epic encounter, Dann lashed home with seconds to go and Rhodes added the gloss with an eye-catching curling shot for his second.McInnes recalled striker Ryan Taylor alongside Jon Stead to bolster his physical presence up front, while Richard Foster returned to the side in place of the injured Mark Wilson.City raced into a dream start when Adomah struck in the opening minute, finding the bottom corner via a deflection following Taylor’s lay-off.Blackburn were shell-shocked, and might have been two up moments later. Adomah led a lightning quick breakaway from his own half, only for Stephen Pearson’s low cross to be turned behind for a corner.From the resulting flag kick, the Ghanaian exchanged passes with the same man and sent a deep cross to the back post which had former England number one Paul Robinson back-pedalling and relieved to see the ball glance the top of the net on its way over.But Blackburn soon settled, and in Gomes and and Rhodes the visitors boasted a constant goal threat.It was the £8m man from Huddersfield Town who fired the first warning shot high to Tom Heaton’s right, but the former Cardiff City stopper did well to make the save look easy and hang on to the ball in the air.Heaton continued to be tested from innocuous efforts from distance, but was powerless to prevent Rhodes’ first goal for his new club.Liam Fontaine was uncharacteristically at fault, caught on the ball by the razor sharp striker, who raced clear to slide the ball home with all the composure expected of a man who struck 40 goals in all competitions last season.Having lost much of their early impetus as the first half went on, City would have been keen to regain the positive momentum after the interval.They should have done exactly that, with a gilt-edged chance falling the way of Stead two minutes into the second half, only for the striker to scuff his effort from virtually point-blank range – almost standing on the ball in trying to convert Adomah’s inviting delivery across the six-yard box.It was a miss City would regret, as Rovers’ new front two combined to turn the game on its head ten minutes into the second half.Dickson Etuhu was the instigator, feeding Rhodes in the penalty area. Under pressure with his back to goal, the striker allowed the ball to escape his spell, but there was Gomes to bury the loose ball low past Heaton from 12 yards.Blackburn were now able to play the counter-attacking game, with Rhodes dangerous in behind the City defence, but McInnes’ side rallied in search of an equaliser.Stead headed over having beaten Robinson to Martyn Woolford’s cross, before great work from Adomah assisted the equaliser.Seemingly outnumbered on the right corner of the 18-yard box, the winger skipped between the challenges of Etuhu and Martin Olsson, lifted his head and found Pearson unmarked on the penalty spot.The Scot duly swept the ball home right footed into the far corner – very similarly executed to the opener against Cardiff City last time out at Ashton Gate.But again the stalemate would not last, as Blackburn substitute Rochina somehow waltzed through a number of challenges before picking out Heaton’s top corner nine minutes from time.As frustrated as McInnes must have been with his players’ inability to dispossess the Spaniard, it was a special goal and one that looked set to win the most topsy-turvy of games.But there were to be further twists, as first Baldock smashed home from 22 yards with City’s next attack, only for Dann to break City hearts and Rhodes to finish the job with red shirts pouring forward at the end of a remarkable spectacle.
This weekend’s 50/50 Matchday Draw will give fans the opportunity to win up to an astonishing £1,000 plus a squad signed 2016/17 Bristol City away shirt for the runner-up.Supporters aged 16+ will be able to purchase a Matchday Draw ticket from ticket sellers located throughout Ashton Gate for just £1, who will be distinguishable by their purple Community Trust tabards.The winning tickets will be announced at half-time of the Aston Villa game via the PA system and @BCCommTrust on Twitter.Fans who possess a winning ticket will be invited pitchside to claim their prize and have their photo with the Community Trust team.All of the proceeds after deducting sums for prizes and expenses will be used to support the work of the Community Trust, assisting them in delivery of their diverse programmes, projects and schemes throughout the community, all of which focus on health, social inclusion and education.
Led by programme manager Kris Tavender, the squad put in some hugely impressive performances in their first competitive outing in a Bristol shirt.
Previous meetingThe sides previously met during the Spring Series, where the Vixens hosted the Royals at Ashton gate in front of a crowd of 1100.Reading came out on top on a glorious Spring evening, emerging 3-1 victors.Tomorrow’s meetingMuch like Bristol City Women, Reading Women come into tomorrow’s game unbeaten in their last two outings in WSL 1, with one win and one draw respectively.Reading opened their campaign with a loss to Sunderland, but a comprehensive win over Liverpool and a hard fought point against Birmingham stands them in good stead heading into week four of WSL 1.The Vixens, who travelled to Kingsmeadow to take on Chelsea Ladies on the opening day, were defeated heavily, but have bounced back with a win over Yeovil Ladies and a draw at Meadow Park against Arsenal Women.Both sides will want to continue their momentum tomorrow, in what is set to be a thrilling contest at the Stoke Gifford Stadium.Tickets are still available, buy here
Niclas Eliasson chats to BCTV prior to Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash at Hull City.
Members of the squad took a break from training to visit the wildlife attraction and help put a six-foot high bear sculpture, painted in their club colours, into position.The Bristol Bear has been painted in the side’s home shirt colours by illustrator, Jessica Perrin, who travelled from her studio in Birmingham to paint him in the eye-catching strip.The Bristol Bear is one of 20 bear sculptures that make up a new Big Bear Sculpture Trail at Wild Place Project. It officially opens on Saturday, April 6th and includes bears painted in a variety of guises by artists from Bristol and around the UK.Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and runs Wild Place Project, said: “We were thrilled to welcome the Bristol Bears here today and it’s marvellous that the Bristol Bears’ sculpture is the final one to be put in place.“It completes this wonderful trail that will thrill all of our visitors over the coming months. We hope that everyone who follows the Bristol Bears will come to see their bear sculpture and have their picture taken alongside it.” The Big Bear Sculpture Trail comes ahead of the opening of a new exhibit called Bear Wood at Wild Place Project this July. It will see European brown bears, lynx, wolves and wolverine returned to UK woodland for the first time in hundreds of years as part of a new exhibit covering seven and a half acres.Visitors to Bear Wood will be able to walk through the exhibit on a raised walkway that will wind its way through the trees. New, 180-degree, floor-to-ceiling glass viewing areas and ‘dens’ will give visitors an up-close view of the animals living alongside each other in British woodland as they would have done in years gone by.The Big Bear Sculpture Trail has been organised and managed by Bristol Zoological Society – the charity that owns and runs Wild Place Project – alongside Wild in Art – an organisation that produces popular art events which entertain, inform, enrich and leave a lasting legacy.The Big Bear Sculpture Trail will be at Wild Place Project from April 6 until September 1. For more details, click here.
Olivia Chance made her City Women debut at Ashton Gate (via JMPUK) The creative midfielder was a mainstay in the Football Ferns midfield at this summer’s World Cup, starting all three group games in France despite missing the majority of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.She has praised Oxtoby and the City Women backroom staff for their patience as she returns to full fitness after a period of time off after the World Cup. “I think Tanya and all the staff have been very good with my past injury and making sure that everything is good and not throwing me in at the deep end to see what happens After the World Cup I had a bit of time off, so making sure I’m back to full fitness is not only important for me but also for the team.“The girls and staff have made it really easy for me to settle into life in Bristol. I’ve managed to get out and about to explore the City and everyday I’m learning more about my team and the way we’re wanting to play.“It was great to see the level of support we received on the opening weekend at Ashton Gate for my new club and it was a fantastic occasion for all involved.” Chance also brings Barclays FA Women’s Super League experience have spent three season at Everton Ladies and the twenty five year-old believes this weekend is good opportunity for City Women to get their first win of the season under their belt, but she is wary of the threats Bees will pose. “First of all we want to make sure that we get the win this weekend. It’s key for us to get some goals this weekend and begin to in build momentum for our game against Chelsea and winning always brings confidence, so it’s an important game this weekend, said Chance.“Every time you play a team from the division below you know they’re always going to want to win the game and prove a point, because there is nothing better from their point of view.“We can’t look past this game, we’ve got to make sure that we win and build our confidence.”
Famara Diédhiou steered home Niclas Eliasson’s cross after 12 minutes, which proved enough to separate the sides on the day.The result lifts City to sixth in the Sky Bet Championship heading into the international break.TEAM STATSGoals: 1 (Diédhiou, 12)Shots: 15On target: 3Total passes: 489Passing success rate: 81%Tackles: 14Possession: 53%
Henry Purdy and Lewis Thiede came off the bench to score within two minutes of each other, as Pat Lam’s men scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to snatch a second away victory of the season in the Gallagher Premiership.Director of Rugby, Lam praised his side’s fightback but was less than satisfied with the first half showing.”I was frustrated from the first half – we said our purple patch would come but the first thing is we’ve got to keep the ball.”Then when we scored the message went out to score again and then we scored again. We were playing and then we kicked the ball away and they had their purple patch of attack again. “I am proud of them because at the end of the day we’ve gone away to Exeter Chiefs and won away there and gone to the second-placed team Saints and done the same.”But those are outcomes. The team that we want to be, we can’t play rugby like that if we want to set the standards higher.”We couldn’t carry on playing like we did in the first half as we turned over so much possession and you can’t play rugby like that if you want to set any form of standard.”We conceded 18 turnovers in the first half so we had to flush that effort down the toilet.”We said at half-time that we needed to be patient as our purple patch would come but even after that, we started kicking the ball away again, which made for a nervous finish.”Our impact players made a big difference and we showed what we can do as we’ve come away from the top two sides in the Premiership, Exeter and Northampton with wins.”
Heenan extends stay Pat Lam praised Jake Heenan’s consistency and leadership after the back row signed a two-year extension to his Bristol Bears contract.“Jake is a versatile player and has made some important contributions in the past two seasons.“His value to the team is second to none – Jake is consistent, a leader, and has huge respect from the players and staff.“After recovering from injury at the beginning of his time here, Jake has gone from strength to strength and established himself as a key operator within the group.“The more he has played, the better he has got, so we’re excited to see how he continues to develop and add more value over the next two years.” Raising the bar Pat Lam says Bristol Bears are focused on improvement as they prepare to welcome an in-form Harlequins side to Ashton Gate on Sunday (1pm KO) in round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership.Bristol are on a run of four successive league wins following last weekend’s hard-fought derby victory over Bath at The Recreation Ground – and although acknowledging his side’s progress, Lam has called on his side to raise the bar once again.“We’ve now had four wins in a row, but we’ve learned our lesson a few times already since I’ve been here: if you get carried away, you come unstuck,” he said.“We celebrate the win – it’s been 14 years since we won down there and did the double over Bath – it’s a reason to celebrate and acknowledge that and the work that went into it, but we then acknowledge the things that we didn’t do quite as well.“We were disappointed, after going 19-6 up, to concede straight away and then lose the chance to get a bonus point. That’s probably four games now that we could have got bonus points in if we were more clinical.“That’s us looking at the things that we can do better, but we have certainly acknowledged all of the good stuff that we did.” Strong end to the block At the end of a five-game block, John Afoa wants Bristol to sign off in style ahead of a short break in the fixture list.”It’s important to finish this block off well – one game left before a break. I think it’s important that we seal our place at the top of the table, in that top half, so we can come back in two weeks’ time and just finish the season.”I don’t think there are any more breaks after that, it’s just a run of games and they will go really fast. So, it’s important that we stay nice and high, put the pressure on and points on the table, but it comes down to performance and we’ve got to make sure we do that on Sunday.”