Episode three of the Robins Nest podcast available
Posted: Wednesday, April 1st 2020
Wednesday, March 25th 2020
The 2014/15 campaign would go on to become one of the club’s greatest-ever seasons, with a record points tally en route to winning League One, as well as lifting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The double-winning season meant City would lift their first trophy since 2003, with May also bringing an end to their 60-year wait for a league title.
It is now five seasons since that memorable campaign and with last Sunday (March 22nd) the anniversary of City’s Wembley success, we take a look back at the events of a standout season.
Steve Cotterill was set for his first full season in charge as Robins manager, having only replaced Sean O’Driscoll in November of 2013. Cotterill steered City to mid-table in League One, following relegation from the Championship at the end of 2012/13, and this was therefore his first summer to create and mould his own squad with the aim of returning to the second tier.
It was a transfer window which welcomed the likes of Wade Elliott, Mark Little, Luke Freeman, Aaron Wilbraham and Korey Smith to Ashton Gate. Todd Kane, Matt Smith, George Saville and James Tavernier would also join on loan, while record appearance holder Louis Carey, Liam Fontaine and Marvin Elliott were among the departures following the end of their club contracts.
A pre-season tour to South Africa and Botswana got the group fired up and ready for the tough challenge ahead with warm-weather training sessions and fixtures against Botswana and Extension Gunners. Meanwhile back on home soil, the team would also take on Portishead, Cheltenham Town and Weston-super-Mare in their efforts to get back to match fitness.
And it was the perfect start live on Sky Sports, with three points on the road to Sheffield United for matchday one - the start of a 16-game unbeaten run in the league. It was a mix of nostalgia and debut delight with Wilbraham notching his first goal for any club in over two years.
Michael Higdon would level for the Blades but City would cut through the hosts again, with Elliott finishing off a fine team move as City celebrated a first win at Bramall Lane since 1957 in the return of the much-adored purple and lime kit.
A midweek encounter at home to Oxford United followed, though City’s League Cup campaign fell at the first hurdle. Joe Bryan had the Robins in front but they never kicked on against the League Two outfit, who scored two second half goals to shock the hosts.
Colchester United looked to capitalise on this result days later and took a half-time lead at Ashton Gate, who gathered for the Robins’ first home league game of the season. And the supporters were in for a treat after the interval as Wilbraham grabbed a brace to maintain a 100 per cent start in League One.
Draws against Leyton Orient and Rochdale followed but City ended the opening month on a high, with all three points in dramatic style away to Notts County.
The Robins fell behind due to Zeli Ismail who capitalised on a defensive mix-up, though they responded well, probing for an equaliser long before Wilbraham supplied it on the hour from Little’s cross.
Cotterill’s side continued to press and Wilbraham thought he had won it five minutes from time only to be denied by an offside flag.
But that was not to be the end of the drama, as the lively Freeman was fouled deep into added time to allow Emmanuel-Thomas to casually roll home a 94th-minute winner from the spot.
The 2-1 win would see City sit third in the standings on 11 points, with six days to recover before the visit of Scunthorpe United to BS3...
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