Bristol City 4, Cheltenham Town 0
Cheltenham Town were well beaten in tonight's Gloucestershire County Cup semi-final tie at Ashton Gate.
Three goals by Marley Bishop, the lively 17-year-old striker, and a late goal by left-back Lewis Hall handed Bristol City a comfortable victory over Russell Milton and Jamie Victory’s promising team.
City will play Mangotsfield United in the final at their Cossham Street ground next month.
Assistant Manager Neil Howarth was also in attendance, running the rule over all seven of the club’s second year scholars who started here.
The trio’s former mentor Steve Cotterill watched on from the main stand and would have been impressed by his own young prospects, notably Ben Withey (at right back), Gus Mufuta (midfield) and Bishop (up front) who handed the home side an early lead.
It was a fine solo goal as early as the sixth minute, collecting Tom Fry’s pass on the right touchline before racing in on goal and slotting home under Harvey Rivers.
The young goalkeeper went on to produce a string of impressive stops to prevent City going into the break with a bigger advantage.
His first, 12 minutes before the interval, denied Withey who had swapped passes with Joe Morrell before taking aim from 16 yards.
Fry, then Morrell went close from distance before Bishop brought about the best of the lot with a thunderous effort from the edge of the box.
Jack Batten drew the final stop of the half when he met a corner from the right with a downward header.
City defended resolutely and restricted Milton’s side in attack with the only chance of the first 45 minutes coming with a quarter of an hour played, Adam Powell drawing a comfortable save with a 20-yard free-kick.
Bishop grabbed his second six minutes after the restart, racing onto Morrell’s threaded ball and rounding Rivers to finish into the empty net.
Bobbie Dale should have pulled one back four minutes later, latching on to Harry Williams’s ball before firing his side’s best chance of the match straight at Dave Richards, the Bristol City number one.
But Bishop completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute, racing onto another through ball by Morrell before cooly finishing past Rivers.
The goalkeeper was called into further saves to deny Fry, Lemonheigh-Evans and Withey as the game drew to a close.
However Hall, who went on to hit the bar, capped a fine performance with the best goal of the night when he bent a 20 yarder past Rivers’ out-stretched hand to seal a convincing win four minutes from time.
BRISTOL CITY (4-4-2): Richards; Withey, Batten, Vyner, Hall; Morrell, Fry (Horgan 61), Mafuta (c), Last; Lemonheigh-Evans (Long 61), Bishop (Monelle 61). Sub not used: Wollacott.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-2-3-1): Rivers; Keightley, Hamilton (c), Rowe, Bowen (Craddock 46); Dodd, Powell (Daly 87); Lawrence (Goodwin 87), Williams, Kotwica; Dale. Subs not used: Reynolds, Hughes.
REFEREE: S Glyde