Bristol City became the first club to win the Football League Trophy on three occasions after they beat Walsall 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final at Wembley.Goals from Aden Flint and Mark Little were enough to see City past Walsall, who suffered defeat on their first ever visit to the national stadium.
It was the Sky Bet League 1 pace-setters who started the brighter. Luke Freeman shrugged off Anthony Forde to send an effort whistling over the Saddlers' crossbar in the opening minutes, setting the tone for the West Country men.
Korey Smith rifled at goal shortly after, following good work from Kieran Agard, before Anthony Forde then stung the palms of Robins stopper Frank Fielding to record Walsall’s first shot on target.
But City didn’t take long to convert their pressure into a goal, as Marlon Pack’s whipped corner was met by defender Flint, who towered above Paul Downing to open the scoring with a downward header.
Walsall responded well and utilised the width of the Wembley pitch to good effect, despite not finding an end result. Tom Bradshaw’s headed effort from Forde’s cross came to nothing, as did Jordan Cook’s moments later from an Andy Taylor delivery.
Steve Cotterill’s men mirrored their lively first-half start in the second, and danger man Freeman was at it again to help the Robins double their lead. This time his accurate cross, after some neat trickery, found Mark Little - a winner with Peterborough United in last year’s Trophy Final - who bundled home past Richard O’Donnell at the second attempt.
Walsall almost reduced the two-goal deficit when Cook looped a cross in from the left, which forced Fielding to tip onto the post.
At the other end, goalscorer Little almost turned provider for Aaron Wilbraham for a City third, but the striker was deemed offside by linesman Chris Powell.
Dean Smith’s side then registered a few desperate efforts in an attempt to get back into the match, but they ultimately fell short against a superior Robins outfit, who lifted a record third League Trophy.
Bristol City: Fielding (GK), Little, Williams, Flint, Smith, Freeman (Elliott 90), Wilbraham (Capt), Agard (Emmanuel-Thomas 89), Pack, Ayling, Bryan (Cunningham 87).
Subs not used: Wagstaff, Saville, Richards (GK), Tavernier.
Walsall: O’Donnell (GK), Purkiss, Taylor, Downing, A. Chambers (Capt), Mantom, Bradshaw (Hiwula 61), Sawyers, J.Chambers, Cook (Baxendale 80), Forde (Grimes 74).
Subs not used: O’Connor, Cain, MacGillivray (GK), Flanagan.
Referee: Mick Russell.