Josh Brownhill, Bristol City’s captain and the man who won the Severnside derby with a stunning strike, rates Bobby Reid the best team-mate he has ever played with.
Warrington-born Brownhill also felt Marlon Pack was a role model when they played together for the Robins and says: “I was close friends with Marlon and he’s an extremely good player.
“It was a surprise when he left Bristol (to sign for Cardiff), but I learned a lot from him.”
Former Manchester United and Manchester City junior Brownhill, Bristol City’s captain, scored with a shot from 30 yards which curled viciously and then, as goalkeeper Neil Etheridge threw himself to save, dipped into the net.
Brownhill comes from a rugby town, which lies between Liverpool and Manchester in Cheshire. Warrington is on the banks of the River Mersey and he told BBC Radio Bristol: “I was at Manchester United and Manchester City, then I had to make a decision at seven-years-old.
“I’m a Manchester City fan, so you’d think I’d go to the blue end, but I spoke to my dad and United had young players coming through, so I went there and stayed until I was 16.”
Former Bluebirds player Reid is now at Fulham on loan, while Pack is a key competitor in midfield for Cardiff.
Pack and the Bluebirds, though, were left shocked by the ferocity of Brownhill’s strike during a match which Cardiff dominated.
They hit the bar twice and a post once, created good chances which were spurned and then went down to Brownhill’s 67th minute strike.
“I was disappointed with the build-up to the goal, but it was a cracking strike to win it,” said Cardiff manager Neil Warnock.
Brownhill was ecstatic, saying: “We hadn’t won against Cardiff away for a long time and this was for the fans.
“It was a tough game. We were excellent, deserved the win and defended really well.”
Substitute Kasey Palmer had been on the pitch four minutes when he slipped a pass to Tommy Rowe and he released Brownhill, who took one touch before blasting the ball beyond Neil Etheridge from 30 yards.
“Sometimes you have to ride your luck,” said Brownhill. “They hit the crossbar, but we had a good few chances.”
Cardiff suffered their first home Championship home defeat of the season and are 14th in the table, while the Robins climbed to sixth.
Bristol City earned their first ever win at Cardiff City Stadium, their first success against the Bluebirds away in 17 years and former Swansea City defender Ashley Williams said: “It was a happy dressing room, a really big performance from us.
“Cardiff are a big team, but we shut them out and you could see the lads out on their legs at the end. That’s the work rate, effort and application that you need in this league.
“The win meant a lot for obvious reasons. I took a bit of stick, but there was nothing nasty, just booing and jeering. So when you win you celebrate it, that’s the same the other way around so it was a nice game for me, personally.
“A clean sheet away and a good performance.”
Warnock said Brownhill’s goal was ‘one heck of a strike’ and added: “The challenge now is to try to build a solid away record. That’s the thing.
“Our home form will be okay, but away we have got to earn three points or not play well and leave with one point. That’s the priority now for the club and the lads.”
Lee Johnson, Bristol City’s manager, described the Robins performance as ‘warrior-like’ and said: “That was a proper away performance – people putting their bodies on the line and competing for every challenge.
“The match lack a bit of quality, but the absolutely unbelievable moment was Josh Brownhill’s strike.
“I could see when I first took him to Barnsley on loan he was a superstar in the making. He has to go down as one of the value signings in Bristol City’s history.
“It’s a great day and the boys are buzzing.”
Warnock made two changes to his starting line-up from the 4-2 win against Birmingham City. Ralls missed out through injury and was replaced by Lee Tomlin.
The most disappointing factor was that the Bluebirds produced one of their better team performances of the season and lost. If they maintain this level of quality, though, there will be better times to come.
There was plenty of speculation about Warnock’s future after the home defeat and questions about whether he might move on at Christmas, but on the basis of this display, there may not be too much wrong.
A couple of big signings in the January transfer window and Cardiff could still mount a play-off challenge.