Football: Rovers cut adrift

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Bristol City. . .2

Bristol Rovers. .1

A DOUBLE celebration for City . . . bitter disappointment twice over for Rovers. As important as the Bristol argument is viewed in these parts it was League points and relegation concerns that took priority last night and the upshot is that the red half of the city will have another season in the First Division while, miracles apart, it is relegation for Rovers.

The loss of the local derby will be a cause for much regret by the clubs' accountants but of little worry to any neutral who came to Ashton Gate expecting to be entertained. Sadly there was little in the way of intelligent thought or attractive football. Nevertheless the clamour to see the 78th meeting of these old rivals ensured a delayed start.

Strangely, City allowed Rovers the greater share of possession and they had not tested Gavin Kelly before Wayne Allison pulled the ball back from the byline in the 35th minute for Nicky Morgan to score his third goal in six games since being called upon to make light of the departure of Andy Cole.

That was basically it until the 79th minute when Ian Alexander, the Rovers' full-back, handled on the goal-line and earned the ignominy of his third sending-off on this ground in five years of all-Bristol combat.

Brian Tinnion, whose shot he had kept out, drove home the penalty and two minutes later John Taylor bagged a late reply for the visitors, who are seven points from a position of safety.

Bristol City: Welch; Munro, Aizlewood, Osman, Bryant, Pennyfather, Shelton, Allison, Rosenior, Morgan, Tinnion. Substitutes not used: Harrison, Thompson.

Bristol Rovers: Kelly; Alexander, Tillson, Yates, Clark, Pounder, Mehew (Channing, 77), Reece, Taylor, Stewart (Evans, 65), Waddock.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).