Nottingham Forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
THE WATCHING Gary Lineker cannot help but have been impressed by his young soulmate in the Forest No 10 shirt. Many more performances like this one and Stan Collymore could be seen as the genuine inheritor of Lineker's No 10 England shirt.
Frank Clark, his manager, would rather it be a green one than a white one - the Republic of Ireland are reputedly checking out Collymore's ancestry - since when it comes to international 'extras' Forest are only in to Southend for a further pounds 250,000 if he plays for England. 'Stan assures me the closest he's got to Ireland is downing a pint of Guinness,' Clark said.
Whatever the colour the toast yesterday was unquestionably Collymore as the one-man Forest forward line, as is his wont, did his level best to make this a one-man show. In what was eventually an impressive performance by Forest, he scored two goals and made another, helping to hoist his side to eighth place in the First Division.
For almost an hour, Bristol City, hitherto beaten just once in 11 games, provided a stern test of Forest's promotion credentials. Oddly enough, on an attacking front they had been found to be wanting, too often dependent on the virtuosity of Collymore, who at the restart of the second half audaciously attempted to beat the entire City team single-handedly.
Then, following a stirring run by Ian Woan, Forest forced a corner from which Collymore, turning, scored with a shot in-off Stuart Munro and Forest were on their way to their 10th game without defeat, making it 20 points out of 24 in the process.
City rallied instantaneously but briefly, equalising within 60 seconds through Rob Edwards after Mark Crossley had been able only to parry Wayne Allison's header.
Neil Webb, making his first start since September as an indirect replacement for the injured Stuart Pearce, threatened to upstage Collymore when he stabbed home a near-post cross from Des Lyttle in the 68th minute to restore Forest's advantage, but the Collymore show was still running.
For a man who had found himself confronted by massed ranks all afternoon, the sight of an isolated Munro barring the way in the 73rd minute was too good a chance to miss and Collymore swept around him with embarrassing ease before lashing the third past Keith Welch to bring his personal tally to 19 goals in 23 games.
City, themselves ambitiously eyeing fourth spot at the start of the day, probably did not deserve to be penetrated a fourth time by Woan with five minutes remaining - from a Collymore pass, needless to say.
Bristol City (4-3-3): Welch; Llewellyn, Munro, Bryant, Scott; Pennyfather, Tinnion, Edwards; Robinson (Martin, 68), Brown (Baird, 58), Allison. Substitute not used: Leaning (gk).
Nottingham Forest (4-5-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Phillips; Stone, Bohinen, Webb, Gemmill, Woan; Collymore. Substitutes not used: Black, Bull, Wright (gk).
Referee: M Pierce (Portsmouth).