FULL-TIME: Davies and Elliott fire Bristol City to 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest
Battling Bristol City gave their Championship survival hopes a major boost by seeing off Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Ashton Gate today.
Second-half goals from Steven Davies and Marvin Elliott were enough to give the Robins a third successive home win under new head coach Sean O'Driscoll.
Victory was especially satisfying for O'Driscoll, who was controversially sacked by the Reds following a 4-2 home win over Leeds on Boxing Day.
But new Forest manager Billy Davies was not at Ashton Gate to see his side lose, having instead elected to watch Bolton Wanderers on a scouting mission.
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City's first home win over Forest in 14 attempts since 1974 was hard fought, but deserved.
Davies rifled them in front on 50 minutes and Elliott, only recently returned from international duty with Jamaica, headed the second from a Stephen Pearson free kick 12 minutes later.
Thereafter, City defended stoutly to keep their rivals at bay and register only their second clean sheet of the season.
Restored to the starting line-up, Forest striker Dexter Blackstock certainly made his presence felt during the early stages, meeting a Billy Sharp cross with a flick that went straight to Robins keeper Tom Heaton and then having a shot charged down as the visitors began brightly.
City's first chance came from a free kick, which Davies sent curling over the bar from 25 yards out.
His strike partner, Jon Stead, did rather better after being set-up by Liam Kelly moments later, turning his marker and unleashing a sweetly-struck left-foot drive that required Reds keeper Karl Darlow to make a fine one-handed save at full-stretch.
But it was Forest who came closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half. Dan Harding cut inside his marker and lofted a cross towards the far post where the unmarked Blackstock directed his free header against the top of the cross bar with the goal at his mercy.
City responded instantly and Darlow was again called into action to push away a fierce drive from Pearson.
Davies tried his luck from another free kick 25 yards out, only for his curling effort to fly inches wide of the upright with Darlow struggling to make his ground.
The home side carved out their best opportunity seven minutes before the interval, Stead picking out Paul Anderson with a lofted cross towards the far post, But the former Forest man elected to square the ball to Davies instead of shooting and Danny Collins intervened to prevent a goal.
Forest had the ball in the net within two minutes of the second half. Sharp finished from close-range after Blackstock's shot had been blocked by Heaton, only for his celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag.
City rubbed salt into the wound by themselves taking the lead two minutes later.
Forest failed to deal with a Pearson corner towards the back post and Davies dragged the ball down, turned his marker and beat Darlow with a deflected shot that flew in from 15 yards out.
Forest responded and it took a brilliant reaction save from Heaton to protect City's lead, the former Manchester United stopper instinctively sticking out a foot to divert Sharp's first-time shot from close-range.
That save was worth double when City increased their advantage in the 62nd minute.
Pearson floated over a free kick from the right and there was Elliott, rising above a static defence, to head home from seven yards out at the back post.
City (4-4-2): Heaton; Moloney, Nyatanga, Fontaine, Cunningham; Anderson (Foster 87), Kelly, Elliott, Pearson; Davies (Burns 76), Stead.
Forest (4-4-2): Darlow; Jara (Cox 66), Halford, Collins, Harding (Ward 49); Cohen, Guedioura, Majewski (McGugan 80), Reid; Blackstock, Sharp.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).