Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round derby match between Bristol City and Bristol Rovers.
By Barney Corkhill, Assistant Editor Filed: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 18:45 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 23:30 UK
Bristol City emerged victorious over Bristol Rovers in the first meeting between the local rivals for almost seven years this evening.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas gave the hosts a first-half lead in the Johnstone Paint Trophy first-round match, firing the ball into the top corner from range.
Rovers came out fighting in the second half and soon found themselves level through a Mark McChrystal header.
It was City who were to claim the bragging rights, however, booking their place in the next round through a well-placed Joe Bryan strike in the 76th minute.
You can read how an entertaining 90 minutes of derby action unfolded with Sports Mole's live coverage below.
6.45pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what promises to be a feisty affair between two fierce rivals as Bristol City host Bristol Rovers at Ashton Gate. Let's get straight down to business.
6.47pmTEAM NEWS: First things first, I have some team news to bring you. Bristol City manager Sean O'Driscoll has decided to ring the changes, bringing in five new faces from the side that played Gillingham at the weekend. Rovers, meanwhile, are taking this match very seriously and have only made one change to their side from the weekend. Full team news for both sides coming up.
6.54pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then? Well, City may have made five changes but Sean O'Driscoll has still put out a side that he thinks will be capable of winning this match. I get the feeling that had it been anyone other than Rovers, he would have made more than five changes for tonight's match as he looks to rest players for the league.
6.56pmHis decision to keep the likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in the side will have been helped by the fact that City have a 10-day gap until their next league game, which comes against Peterborough United on September 14.
6.58pmEmmanuel-Thomas has scored three times already this season, and he will be the man that Rovers will be most wary of this evening. O'Driscoll also has the likes of Sam Baldock - who has netted four times in five appearances so far this season - in reserve should he find himself in need of a goal late on.
7pmWhile City have a leisurely 10-game gap before their next fixture, poor old Rovers are back in action in just three days' time. They face Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, looking to make it three wins on the trot in the league.
7.02pmSuch a small gap until their next fixture makes it a little surprising that manager John Ward has only made one change to his side from their match on Saturday but, again, I feel like the opportunity to get one over on their city rivals may have played a part in his team selection. Had it been anyone else, you may have seen a different side this evening.
7.04pmThey will be looking to David Clarkson to provide their main goal threat this evening. The Scot has scored two goals in five league games this season, making him the club's top scorer of the current campaign.
7.06pmNot every League Two side can boast the presence of a Brazilian in their midst, but 18-year-old Alfie Santos is one of those rarities. He has played four times already this season but only makes the bench this evening. He will be eager to come on and weave some of that Brazilian magic to light up this Bristol derby.
7.08pmBristol City will come into this match as favourites, holding the superior league position and having home advantage but, as we have seen with derbies across the world over the years, anything can happen in such games. An upset could very much be on the cards for Rovers.
7.10pmCity do come into this match on the back of a three-game unbeaten streak, but they haven't had the best of times so far this season. Having been relegated from the Championship last season, life in League One has proved tough for them, and they currently sit 20th - just one place above the relegation zone - with three points from five games.
7.12pmTwo of those points have come from their last two matches. They drew with 1-1 Gillingham, who are also languishing towards the bottom of the table, in their last outing, and also shared the spoils with MK Dons courtesy of a 2-2 draw on August 24.
7.14pmTheir season kicked off with another 2-2 draw, this time at home to Bradford City, before two consecutive defeats against Coventry and Wolves left them floundering at the tail end of the division. That Coventry game was a treat for the neutrals, however, as the financially-stricken club edged a nine-goal thriller to win 5-4.
7.16pmWhile they may be without a win in the league so far this season, their cup form has been exemplary. They moved into the second round of the League Cup with a 2-0 win over Gillingham before shocking Crystal Palace last week to progress into round three. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Scott Wagstaff scored the goals as City pulled off a famous win against the Premier League new boys at Ashton Gate.
7.18pmCity will be desperate to continue that good cup form this evening, as Bristol derbies don't come around too often nowadays. While the Johnstone's Paint Trophy does not bear as much significance as the League Cup, and on paper a win against a League Two side may not seem as important as one against a Premier League side, for City to beat Rovers tonight would be the highlight of their season so far.
7.20pmThe same, of course, applies for Rovers - perhaps even more so considering that they come into the match as underdogs. They have been forced to live in City's shadow for a while now, but tonight gives them a rare opportunity to claim the city bragging rights.
7.22pmRovers did not have a very good start to the season by any stretch of the imagination. A 2-1 defeat to Exeter on the opening day was followed by an early exit from the League Cup at the hands of Watford three days later. A goalless draw with Scunthorpe gave them their first point of the new season, but they were beaten again by Newport County a week later.
7.24pmHowever, things have improved in recent weeks for Rovers, who are beginning to move steadily up the League Two table. They picked up their first win of the season courtesy of a 3-2 victory over York, and followed that up with a 1-0 win against Northampton last Saturday.
7.26pmThose back-to-back wins have improved their standing in League Two so that they now sit in 11th place, level on points with the likes of Bury, Wycombe Wanderers and Morecambe.
7.28pmI mentioned earlier that these matches don't come around too often and, in fact, this is the first meeting between the sides in almost seven years. They last met in 2007, when a certain Rickie Lambert headed Rovers to a 1-0 win over City. What ever happened to him?
7.30pmThat match was also in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, although it was in the area final rather than the first round. The first leg at Ashton Gate finished 0-0, which meant that Lambert's goal saw Rovers through to the national final. They lost that match in extra time to Doncaster who, as it happens, were managed by current City boss Sean O'Driscoll.
7.32pmThat season equalled Rovers' best ever performance in this competition. They also finished as runners-up in 1990, but have never managed to get their hands on the trophy. Could this be their year? Kicking off with a win over City would certainly be a good start.
7.34pmCity, meanwhile, have won this competition twice, the most recent of which came 10 years ago when they beat Carlisle 2-0 in the final. They also won it in 1986 and were beaten finalists in 1987 and 2000.
7.35pmPREDICTION: We're 10 minutes from kickoff at Ashton Gate, which means that it is time for my prediction! This one really could go either way. City are rightly favourites before the match, but their poor start to the season and the fact that this is a derby match will make Rovers believe that they can pull off an upset tonight. All in all, I expect it to be a close encounter, but think City will have enough about them to pull off the win. I'm going to go for 2-1 to the home side.
7.37pmIt is a long time since Bristol Rovers have beaten City at Ashton Gate, so they will need to rectify that if they are to pull off a shock tonight. They last won here in 1996, pulling off a 2-0 victory.
7.39pmOverall, these two teams have met 103 times in all competitions, with City coming out on top 42 times compared to Rovers' 28 wins. The mathematicians among you won't need me to tell you that there have also been 33 draws between the two sides.
7.41pmA reminder that should the 90 minutes end as a draw tonight then we will go straight to the dreaded penalty shootout, as is customary with the Football League Trophy. If there is one thing that could make a Bristol derby more nerve-racking for the players, it would be a penalty shootout!
7.43pmBristol Rovers boss John Ward is certainly no stranger to these matches. He has spent time in charge of both clubs, and tonight's game will be his seventh Bristol derby. He was in charge of Rovers initially between 1993-1996 before moving to City in 1997, where he lasted a year. He rejoined Rovers in 2012.
7.44pmSurprisingly, there is only one player in either squad who has experienced this derby before. City's Louis Carey, who is on the bench today, is that player and he will be hoping to get off the bench as he edges ever closer to breaking the club's all-time appearance record.
7.45pmUnsurprisingly, there is a great atmosphere in the stadium. I think it is fair to say that the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy does not usual draw such crowds.
1 minKICKOFF: City get us underway amidst a cacophony of noise. Bragging rights and a place in the next round are on the line tonight in a fixture made even more special by it's increasingly rarity.
3 minWhile there is a distinct lack of players on show with experience in this particular fixture, City have plenty of general experience in their side. Nicky Shorey has played against the likes of Brazil and Germany in his international days, while Marlon Harewood has also spent a fair amount of time in the Premier League.
5 minThere is also the added spice provided by Rovers striker David Clarkson, who was shown the door by City recently and chose to move to their great rivals.
7 minJoe Bryan is harshly penalised for a foul just as he was breaking free down the left, and he looks baffled by the decision. There certainly seemed to be very little in that one, and in derby matches such tussles should be allowed.
9 minHarewood uses his strength to hold off an aerial challenge and buy a free kick just inside the Rovers half. It comes to nothing, but it was good hold-up play by the striker.
11 minThe first big tackle of the match comes from Bristol Rovers, but Emmanuel-Thomas does well not to make a lot of it. He didn't even go to ground when it was a hefty, late challenge that could have drawn a yellow card had he done what most players nowadays would do. Good to see.
12 minGOAL! Bristol City 1-0 Bristol Rovers (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas)
12 minWhat a way to light up this derby! After a quiet start to the match Jay Emmanuel-Thomas picks the ball up around 30 yards from goal, brings it forward five yards or so and then smashes an unstoppable drive into the top corner. Magnificent goal from the former Ipswich man, and it is first blood to City.
14 min"One team in Bristol, there's only one team in Bristol!" sing the home fans after taking the lead. That chant soon subsides but is replaced by the away supporters singing exactly the same song!
16 minSHOT! City fail to clear a high ball into the box and it eventually falls to Clarkson on the edge of the area. He goes past one challenge in order to find space to shoot, but his effort is dragged wide. Good response from Rovers, though.
18 minCity dominated possession before the goal but Rovers have certainly seen a lot more of the ball since going behind. Clarkson is beginning to pop up in some dangerous positions and they are starting to trouble the City defence for the first time tonight.
20 minFlint towers over everyone else in the box, and as such the corners are aimed towards him. The defender buys himself a little space to get a header in, but he directs it a few yards wide of the post. Rovers will have to mark him better than that from future set pieces.
22 minSAVE! Parish will be happy with that - his first call to action is a pretty comfortable save. It was a low strike from around 25 yards but it lacked any real power and was never really going to trouble the City keeper.
24 minThe crowd has not let up yet, there is still a brilliant atmosphere around the place. Both sets of supporters are determined to enjoy the first Bristol derby in almost seven years.
26 minThat is better defending from Rovers. Reid clips his corner towards the front post this time and Flint is again the target as he steams in to try to meet the ball. He is beaten to it, however, and the clearance launches a counter attack.
28 minHarewood receives the ball around 25 yards from goal and looks up to find himself surrounded by blue and white shirts. That doesn't deter the striker, however, as he turns and shows good footwork to weave his way past a number of tackles, but his final touch is too heavy and allows Mildenhall to come out and claim the ball.
30 minRovers have a rare corner and it is pinged into the box at some speed. Whether or not it was planned I don't know, but it didn't seem to help O'Toole who had no time to judge his header and sent it well wide.
32 minSAVE! A very good save from Mildenhall denies Harewood! Bryan cut in from the left flank, skipping away from a couple of challenges before teeing up Harewood on the edge of the box. The former West Ham man's first touch is not his best, but he still manages to squeeze a fierce low shot away that Mildenhall gets down well to save.
34 minRovers have certainly come into the match since going behind, but they are yet to really create a good chance. City haven't exactly had a plethora of gilt-edge chances themselves, but they are making the most of good attacking platforms where Rovers are not.
36 minCity look dangerous again, but Brown makes a vital interception to deny the home side. It was Emmanuel-Thomas who caused all the problems again, faking a shot from the edge of the box to advance further into the area. His eventual shot deflected towards Harewood, who would have a simple tap in but for Brown's clearance.
38 minSAVE! O'Toole does very well to win the ball deep inside the City half, opening things up for Harrold. The striker has to take his shot first time with City defenders bearing down on him, and he can only steer it straight at Parish. That was Rovers' best opening of the match, but Harrold couldn't do much more.
41 minOFF THE BAR! City come within inches of doubling their lead! Reid lines up a defender before taking him on around the outside. He has a little look up before trying to lift the ball over the keeper, only to hit the top of the bar! If he meant that, he is very unlucky as that was a sublime effort, but it may also have just been a mis-hit cross - only he knows.
43 minYELLOW CARD! That has gone down well in this stadium! The former City man Clarkson picks up the first card of the derby for simulation.
45 minThere will be one minute of added time at the end of this half.
45+1 minHALF TIME: Bristol City 1-0 Bristol Rovers
8.35pmBristol City will go into the break as the happier half of Bristol as they lead 1-0 thanks to a stunner from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. One goal was enough to separate these two teams the last time they met, but this one is far from over and Rovers will be hopeful that they can come back into the match in the next 45 minutes.
8.37pmCity dominated the opening exchanges, having the lion's share of possession in the first 10 minutes or so before taking the lead. They had not created a chance in that time, however, and had to rely on a moment of magic from Emmanuel-Thomas to break the deadlock. The former Ipswich man unleashed an unstoppable effort past Mildenhall from range and, if that proves to be the winner, it would be a worthy way to decide such a derby.
8.39pmRovers responded well to going behind, but they are yet to really trouble Parish. The statistics show that the visitors have had more shots on goal than City, but Parish has had an easy time of things so far.
8.41pmWhile Rovers have enjoyed more of the ball since going behind, City still look like the most dangerous side and, in truth, it could be more than 1-0. Harewood has been denied by the keeper a couple of times, while Reid has hit the crossbar with a very clever attempted chip (if we are giving him the benefit of the doubt) or a mis-hit cross (if we are not). The more I see it, the more I think that he meant it.
8.43pmCity boss Sean O'Driscoll will want more of the same in the second half. His team are in control of the match so far and should, if the second half goes the same way as the first, safely progress through to the next round. However, any manager will tell you that a 1-0 lead is not enough and O'Driscoll will want his side to get at least one more in the second half to give themselves a bit of breathing space.
8.45pmJohn Ward, meanwhile, will want his side to provide more of an attacking threat. He won't be too upset with how that first half has gone as his side are still very much in the match, but they will need to show a drastic improvement if they are to breach the City defence.
8.47pmOne area in particular that City have been dominating so far is midfield. The likes of Emmanuel-Thomas, Pack and Reid are being afforded too much space in the middle of the park and the Rovers players aren't roughing them up enough. Ward will be imploring him side for more passion if nothing else in the second half.
46 minKICKOFF: Rovers get us back underway in this second half. Can they find an equaliser in the coming 45 minutes?
47 minStraight away, it is obvious that Ward has told his side to press higher up the pitch. They have already forced City into a couple of rushed clearances and are making the hosts uncomfortable in the early stages of the half.
49 minPoor defending from Rovers as a short corner is worked across to Wagstaff, who has acres of space on the edge of the box. His shot fails to find a way through the mass of bodies in the area, but he shouldn't have been afford that much time in a dangerous position.
51 minThis is very good pressing from Rovers. Flint is penned in inside the box and the big defender shows good composure to give it back to a teammate, who hoofs it clear. It was a nervy moment for City so close to their own goal, however, and they are not having as easy a time of things at the back in this second half.
53 minLovely play from Norburn as he slides the ball through the legs of Flint, but he opts against the shot and is eventually tackled by O'Connor on the edge of the box. He had to shoot there, it sat up so well for him!
54 minRovers have made the better start to this second half, and their change in philosophy has been clear to see in the opening 10 minutes. They are closing down better and as soon as they get the ball back they are looking to break in numbers.
55 minYELLOW CARD! O'Connor comes storming through the back of Clarkson with a silly challenge and he is rightly booked. That was a needless foul from the City man as Clarkson had his back to goal and was not in a particularly dangerous position.
57 minEmmanuel-Thomas goes on a run down the right flank but Rovers scramble back to prevent a potential counter attack. Emmanuel-Thomas manages to hold onto the ball for some time before giving it to Reid, who beats his full-back before producing a decent cross that is cleared.
59 minYELLOW CARD! Marlon Pack was fortunate not to get a yellow card for a tackle a few moments ago, so it is no surprise to see him enter the book now. He just clipped his man which, on its own, would not be a bookable offence, but with the last tackle it is.
60 minGOAL! Bristol City 1-1 Bristol Rovers (Mark McChrystal)
60 minThe away end of Ashton Gate erupts as Rovers equalise! It was a very good ball into the box that was just far enough away from the keeper to create uncertainty between the defenders. McChrystal took full advantage of that to cushion his header into the far corner.
62 minIt is a deserved equaliser on the basis of this second half as Rovers have been a lot better since the break. It also gives the away fans a chance to remind the home supporters that they're "not singing anymore!".
64 minThe opening 20 minutes of this half has shown how big a difference a small change of tactics can make. Rovers have simply begun to close City down higher up the field and are defending as a team, and it has improved their performance no end. It is forcing City into mistakes and long balls which gift possession back to the visitors.
66 minHarewood flicks the ball on to Emmanuel-Thomas, but his shot this time around is not quite in the same league as his goal. He drags his effort well wide from pretty much the corner of the box. It would have had to have been another stunning strike to score from there, and it most certainly wasn't.
68 minO'Toole shapes to shoot from 25 yards but instead stabs the ball square to Lockyer, who cuts across his shot and slices it wide of the post. O'Toole wants a foul for a late challenge on him, but the ref says that Lockyer's shot acted as advantage.
69 minBRISTOL CITY SUB: Harewood is not fully fit so it is no surprise to see him make way early. On in his place is Sam Baldock, who has made a very good goalscoring start to the season.
71 minRovers fail to clear a corner and the ball eventually falls to Wagstaff on the edge of his box, but he doesn't really catch hold of his shot. It hits McChrystal in the box and could go anywhere but, fortunately for the visitors, deflects away from goal.
73 minClarkson gets his head to a clipped ball into the box but can't steer it goalwards. Still, it is another sight of goal for the visitors, who look a lot more threatening in this second half than they did in the first.
75 minWith 15 minutes left, this match could really go either way. Both teams look capable of scoring when they go forward, and you can be sure that the game will open up even more as we near the full time whistle. Remember, if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes, we will go to penalties.
76 minGOAL! Bristol City 2-1 Bristol Rovers (Joe Bryan)
76 minThat is some way to get your first goal for the club! Emmanuel-Thomas makes a strong run down the right and squeezes a good low effort towards the bottom corner. Mildenhall parries it just out of the reach of Reid, but Bryan is coming in and places it to perfection in the top corner. Very composed finish from the City man, and he could have just won the derby with his first goal for the club!
78 minThe home fans' mood has been transformed from nervous to euphoric with that goal. They now have just over 10 minutes to hold out for a victory that would give them plenty of bragging rights over their city rivals.
80 minBRISTOL ROVERS SUB: Rovers are chasing the game now and Ward has decided to throw Ryan Brunt up front for the last 10 minutes. He comes on to replace Harrold.
81 minBRISTOL ROVERS SUB: This situation calls for a Brazilian. Alefe 'Alfie' Santos comes on for the last 10 minutes, replacing former City man Clarkson. Can the 18-year-old make a difference?
83 minA couple of crosses into the box cause City all sorts of problems, but they eventually scramble it clear and Baldock almost capitalises on a mistake by Brown.
84 minWe've seen two fabulous finishes from City already today, and Reid tries to make it three there. He drives forward with the ball in the middle of the park before trying to curl an effort towards the top corner from range. He gets it all wrong, however, and it goes a long way over the bar.
85 minSAVE! Norburn sends a daisy-cutter skimming towards the bottom corner from 25 yards out, but Parish is down early to make a fairly comfortable save.
87 minLockyer goes for the spectacular as a blocked shot falls to him from at least 30 yards out. His half volley is not a million miles away, but it is also never in danger of going in, much to the home fans' delight.
88 minBRISTOL CITY SUB: Louis Carey moves one step closer to breaking the club's all-time appearance record as he replaces the man who, as things stand, has won the game in Bryan.
89 minCHANCE! Harrison shoots from a very tight angle and forces Parish to parry the ball back into the danger area. Norburn is in the right place to pick up the rebound, but he can't direct it on target and a good chance to equalise goes begging.
90 minA roar of renewed optimism comes from the away fans as the fourth official's board shows five minutes of added time. Could we have a late twist in this match?
90+2 minIt should be kitchen sink time for Rovers now, but they don't seem to be piling everybody forward. They should be laying siege to the City goal right now, but the ball is being kept in midfield.
90+4 minCLOSE! Oh my word, that is not far away from an own goal equaliser! A cross into the box is just too high for Brunt, but Moloney stoops to header the ball back to the keeper, only to send it narrowly wide. He must be a relieved man right now!
90+4 minMildenhall is up for the resulting corner, but it is drilled into the box again before being cleared.
90+5 minBRISTOL CITY SUB: One final time-wasting sub from the hosts as Jordan Wynter replaces Reid.
90+6 minCHANCE! It is City who are attacking now! Emmanuel-Thomas slides a ball through towards Baldock, but Mildenhall is quick off his line to get there first. That could have wasted enough time to see City over the line, though.
90+6 minFULL TIME: Bristol City 2-1 Bristol Rovers
9.41pmBristol City win the derby, and the final whistle prompts thousands of fans to spill onto the pitch in celebration. I doubt many Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round matches have ended with a pitch invasion, but that just shows how much this local derby means to both clubs.
9.43pmJay Emmanuel-Thomas is the man getting most of the adulation from the fans, and it was his stunning strike that gave City the lead tonight. Mark McChrystal levelled the sides in the second half but Emmanuel-Thomas was instrumental again in the second goal when his parried shot was expertly finished by Joe Bryan to give City what proved to be the winner.
9.45pmRight, that's about it from me tonight! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what was a thoroughly exciting Bristol derby. The bragging rights go to City on this occasion, but Rovers certainly played their part in what was an absorbing match. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction from both camps. From me, though, it is goodbye!