HALF-TIME: Bristol City 2, Peterborough 1
Bristol City boss Derek McInnes dropped Liam Fontaine for the first time this season as he opted for a bold team selection.
Retaining the 3-5-2 system he had planned to use against Watford on Boxing Day, the manager made a number of positional changes, deploying Greg Cunningham as one of three centre halves, moving Richard Foster to left wing-back and fielding Albert Adomah in the unfamiliar role of right wing-back.
If City supporters were left scratching their heads, so were Peterborough, who appeared nonplussed by City's approach.
They were left chasing shadows as the Robins took the lead after just five minutes. Cole Skuse set Sam Baldock free on the right flank and the striker looked up and picked out Paul Anderson with a cross that rendered the midfielder's header straightforward.
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It was only Anderson's second goal since arriving from Nottingham Forest in the summer and represented his most important contribution to date.
City should have doubled their lead moments later, Baldock ghosting in behind a shambolic Posh defence, only to drag his shot wide of goal with only keeper Bobby Olejnik to beat.
Controversy flared in the 12th minute, Posh striker Lee Tomlin elbowing Cunningham in the face in an off the ball incident and leaving referee Andrew Madley with no option but to show him a straight red card.
But the 10 men bounced back strongly and City's hopes of keeping a first clean sheet of the season were dashed on 19 minutes. Cunningham should have dealt with a high through ball played by Joe Newell, but left his back header short. Tom Heaton rushed from his goal to trip George Boyd and referee Madley pointed to the spot.
Heaton escaped with a yellow card but was powerless to prevent Grant McCann equalising from the subsequent penalty.
Undeterred, City continued to create the better chances and Jon Stead shot weakly straight at Olejnik after being set-up by Baldock, while Peterborough's keeper made a smart save to deny Anderson a second goal, dropping to his right to gather a low shot from just inside the 18 yard box.
Just when it looked as though City might pay the price for missed chances, they regained the lead eight minutes before half time. Baldock ran at the Posh defence, played a neat one-two with Anderson and produced an emphatic finish to beat Olejnik from 10 yards out and register his eighth goal of the season.
He should have doubled his tally on the stroke of half-time, receiving a sublime through ball from Stead and hitting the post when everyone inside Ashton Gate expected the net to bulge.