Johnson breathes easy after Bristol City survive scare from West Brom

Lee Johnson joked about requiring treatment for a high pulse rate after watching his Bristol City side enhance their play-off hopes in a Championship thriller with West Brom at Ashton Gate.

City went 3-0 up inside 20 minutes with goals from Josh Brownhill, Andreas Weimann and Jack Hunt before surviving a second-half fightback by Albion to seal three precious points.

A smiling Johnson said: “I’ve been on the treatment table with the doctor! What a game! It could have finished 7-5 there were so many chances

“The first 20 minutes were as good as it gets from us. I just wish the lads had let me enjoy it for the rest of the game. Instead, we gave away two disappointing goals.

“Overall, I couldn’t be happier. We have beaten three promotion-chasing sides since the international break, which is great for confidence.

“Albion have some unbelievable attacking players and I am so pleased with the way we saw the game out.

“No one expected us to challenge for promotion this season and that means we can play without fear. I keep telling the lads that.

“Now it’s on to Aston Villa on Saturday and that’s another fantastic prospect. They are on a great run, but so are we and there is no reason to fear anyone.”

Brownhill fired City in front from Andreas Weimann’s second-minute cross and then provided the header across goal which saw Weimann double the advantage with a 16th-minute volley.

Hunt then headed home Jay da Silva’s 19th-minute chip from the left to the far post to leave home fans in dreamland.

But two minutes into the second half Dwight Gayle glanced home a Stefan Johansen free-kick to give Albion hope.

When Jay Rodriguez netted from close range on 74 minutes after Craig Dawson nodded on a long throw, the visitors were firmly back in it.

The Baggies, though, could not conjure the equaliser to suffer a second consecutive defeat.

Albion caretaker boss Jimmy Shan said: “I am a confident coach and feel we are playing well. But if the club felt more stability would be created by bringing someone in from outside I would support that.

“We defended too softly at the start and they had more aggression. Teams have looked to start fast against us because we came down from the Premier League and we have tended to concede goals early on.

“We need more of a no-risk policy with the ball, which we have talked about, but that wasn’t the case today. We have to start with more intensity.

“But the spirit shown in the second half was a real positive. We dominated possession and had nearly as many goal attempts as City.

“Our route to promotion now looks to lie with the play-offs, although we will keep on fighting to go up automatically while it is still possible.”