Bristol City remain four points clear of the relegation zone after an agonising home defeat to Cardiff City in the Severnside derby.
Own goals from Bristol City’s Stephen McManus and Kalifa Cisse either side of a Jon Stead equaliser were enough for the Bluebirds to return to the play-off places.
It was a game of few clear cut chances in a tough tackling local derby under the Ashton Gate lights. Making one change from the mid-week victory over Leicester City, Derek McInnes replaced young winger Joe Bryan with Martyn Woolford.
It was Woolford who made the brightest start as City counter attacked down the left wing which lead to a Stead effort from 25 yards which was easily saved by David Marshall in the Cardiff goal.
The Robins had a penalty appeal turned down on 10 minutes as a looping ball into the box from Richard Foster was accidentally handled by the Cardiff defender Ben Turner. Ref Michael Oliver waved play on despite a vocal appeal by Stephen Pearson.
Cardiff’s first real effort of the game came through striker Kenny Miller. A smart ball clipped into the City box by Peter Whittingham fell kindly for the Scot, and despite being forced wide he sent a powerful effort towards goal which was pushed away for a corner by David James, who was captaining the Robins on his 900th career league appearance.
Brett Pitman provided Bristol City’s first real chance as he turned smartly from a Jamie McAllister throw in and sent a rasping first time shot into the arms of Marshall.
Just before half-time a powerful run from Stead down the left produced a glorious chance for Pearson. The striker dug out a cross from the by-line which was partly cleared by the Cardiff defence and fell to Pearson, whose powerful effort cleared the bar.
It was a costly miss as three minutes into added time at the end of the first half a low cross by Joe Mason was converted into his own net by on-loan defender McManus.
The goal gave Cardiff confidence and they started quickly after the restart with Miller and Aron Gunnarsson forcing James into smart saves.
The Robins’ first chance of the second half brought a goal which was against the run of play. Richard Foster’s run and cross from the right wing was converted by Stead, who scored with a clinical finish which went in off the front post.
This spurred on the home team and with the Ashton Gate faithful behind them, and Albert Adomah coming off the bench to provide an added threat down the right, the Robins pressed for another goal. City went close to taking the lead when a 25-yard effort from Sean Davis produced a smart save from Marshall. The curling effort from sub Davis came from a spell of possession where the Robins worked the ball from left to right, ending with Pitman flicking the ball back to Davis.
City again threatened to take the lead when Pitman’s shot produced a stunning point blank save from Marshall. Pitman slid in ahead of the defender after good work from Stead on the right.
City’s inability to covert these chances proved costly as three minutes from time another cross from Mason deflected off the knee of Cisse and again wrong-footed James.
The goal was the decisive moment that provided Cardiff the three points after a spirited performance from the home side.