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League One

Steve Cotterill braced for ups and downs with Bristol City

1 March 2014

Steve Cotterilll predicted a roller-coaster end to Bristol City's battle for Sky Bet League 1 survival after Simon Gillett's wonder goal had reaped three priceless points from a 2-1 win against Gillingham.

The Robins manager saw the best and the worst of his team during a tense 90 minutes, but emerged smiling after Gillett's 25-yard rocket after 83 minutes had settled the outcome.

Cotterill had blasted his players after a 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United in their previous game and said: "There will probably be a lot more ups and downs between now and the end of the season.

"We have started the game really well and some of the football we played in the first half would have been the envy of a top-six team.

"Then we made what seems to be our mandatory mistake defending a corner and allowed Gillingham back into the game.

"I'm delighted for Simon Gillett because I thought he was having an excellent game even before his goal. It was a fantastic strike.

"Our other goal was also out of the top drawer and it's a much happier dressing room than it was a week ago.".

With the visitors looking the more likely winners, Gillett, on loan from Nottingham Forest, unleashed a spectacular shot with his right foot that ripped into the top corner of the net.

Sam Baldock had broken the deadlock for the hosts after 27 minutes, chesting down a precise chip forward from Wade Elliott and hammering a sweetly-struck right-footed volley past Stuart Nelson from 15 yards for his 18th goal of the season.

Gillingham improved after the break and deservedly equalised in the 65th minute when Ade Akinfenwa headed back across goal from a right-wing corner and substitute Charlie Lee blasted home from close range.

That was not enough to satisfy Gills boss Peter Taylor, who said: "We cannot afford to start games like we did here.

"Bristol were much sharper than us. We improved in the second half and have lost to a tremendous goal, but I want that sort of performance for 90 minutes.

"The first half wasn't good enough. There are a lot of teams in this division who only start to play when they have some reason to fight back.

"We haven't been like that recently and we don't want it to become a habit.

"To be fair to the players, they kept going, we got a good goal and perhaps could have gone on to win at that point."

City made a bright start, which saw Bobby Reid just fail to connect with a Baldock cut-back and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas fail by inches to slide in and convert Reid's cross.

Gillingham found it hard to create first-half chances. Their best effort was a fierce 51st-minute shot by Cody McDonald, which was well smothered by Frank Fielding.

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