A vastly-improved Blues performance saw them see off Bristol City with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win on Tuesday evening.
Second half goals from Chris Burke and Marlon King made sure of all three points for Lee Clark’s charges.
Blues got at their West Country visitors right from the off and pressured them throughout the 90 minutes
Clark made two changes to his starting XI. Nikola Zigic and Chris Burke both started, whilst Leroy Lita and Nathan Redmond missed out through injury.
Just as the Blues boss had demanded, his players began the game on the front foot.
With five minutes played Wade Elliott tested Dean Gerken with a half-volley from the edge of the area, but the City keeper parried his effort away for a corner.
Marlon King and Hayden Mullins then had half-chances, with King’s effort saved and Mullins’ shot drifting wide.
Blues were starting to pin their visitors back and Elliott was next to make an attempt on goal with a snap-shot from distance that flew just the wrong side of the upright.
Chris Burke was desperately unlucky not to give Blues the lead on 18 minutes. The winger cut in from the right before curling a shot past Gerken, but the ball rebounded back off Liam Fontaine who was on the goal line.
In a rare foray forward by City, Albert Adomah tried his luck from distance, but Jack Butland comfortably held onto the ball.
Blues had a good shout for a penalty after half an hour when Liam Fontaine appeared to handle the ball as Chris Burke attempted to lob him. But despite the Scots’ strong protestations referee Paul Tierney waved play on.
With the end of the first half edging closer King saw his goalbound effort denied by Gerken’s legs.
On 43 minutes Blues were forced into a premature change of personnel as Curtis Davies limped off the field with an injury. Jonathan Spector was sent on at right-back, with Paul Robinson moving across into the centre of defence alongside Steven Caldwell.
Half-time: Blues 0 Bristol City 0
Less than 20 seconds after the restart Blues burst forward via Ravel Morrison before the midfielder laid the ball off to Elliott. Elliott dribbled the ball into the area before blasting his effort less than a yard over the bar.
An injury to City’s Cole Skuse saw him replaced by former Blues midfielder Neil Kilkenny.
A neat piece of passing play saw King switch the ball across to Elliott, but Elliott was unable to keep his shot down and it flew harmlessly into the Tilton.
Almost immediately City broke down the other end and Pearson had a good sight on goal, but he fired a yard wide.
But Blues were soon back on the attack themselves and Burke saw his low grass-cutter saved before finally getting his just rewards with a goal moments later. A neat one-two with King culminated in him lashing the ball home past a despairing Gerken from just inside the box and into the top of the net.
It should have 2-0 minutes later as King fired in a peach of a cross from the by-line for strike partner Zigic, who was right in front of the goal, but unfortunately the Serb headed the ball a matter of inches over the bar.
But on 73 minutes Blues did double their lead and what a finish it was from King. The ball was launched long by Butland, Zigic headed it down and King made no mistake as he curled it past the keeper. 2-0 Blues!
City were reduced to ten men on 85 minutes as Stephen McManus was stretchered off with a leg injury. With City already having used all three subs they were forced to play out the remainder of the match a man light.
With 90 minutes on the clock Ravel Morrison found himself with just the keeper to beat, but Gerken did well to save his attempt.
Blues then had a fantastic opportunity to add to their goal tally when they were awarded a 92 minute penalty after Burke was fouled by Woolford. But the Dane’s kick lacked conviction and Gerken made a diving save to his right.
Full-time: Blues 2 Bristol City 0
Blues: Jack Butland, Paul Robinson, Steven Caldwell, Curtis Davies (Jonathan Spector), David Murphy, Chris Burke, Hayden Mullins, Ravel Morrison, Wade Elliott, Nikola Zigic, Marlon King (Peter Lovenkrands, 82).
Subs not used: Colin Doyle, Match Hancox, Will Packwood, Darren Ambrose, Papa Bouba Diop, Peter Lovenkrands.
Bookings: Robinson (71).
Goals: Burke (59), King (73)
Bristol City: Dean Gerken, Richard Foster, Liam Fontaine, Sam Baldock, Jon Stead (Martyn Woolford, 61), Cole Skuse (Neil Kilkenny, 51), Stephen Pearson, Stephen McManus, Marvin Elliott (Ryan Taylor, 72), Albert Adomah, Matthew Briggs.
Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Lewin Nyatanga, Brett Pitman, James Wilson.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 14, 380 (679 Bristol City fans).