Middlesbrough romped to this convincing win in which Leroy Lita's overall performance earning glowing praise from manager Tony Mowbray.
Former Bristol City striker Leroy Lita scored two goals and made another for Middlesbrough on a memorable return to his old club.
Boro boss Mowbray said: "Leroy was virtually unplayable. He never allowed City's defence a moment's peace.
"It's not easy for strikers to turn in that sort of performance week-in, week-out, as even the best such as Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres have found this season.
"But Leroy showed what a player he can be in this game and has set a standard we hope he can do his best to maintain.
"Overall we didn't play a lot better than in some other games we have lost this season. But when we got the second goal you could see the players start to relax.
"We hardly allowed Bristol a glimpse of goal. They have a very dangerous winger in Albert Adomah, but we handled him really well."
Lita forced the opening goal after 43 minutes with a strong run down the left and a low cross, which saw the ball bundled over his own line by defender Kalifa Cisse.
The second goal after 57 minutes came from a cross from substitute Tony McMahon, which was allowed to bounce in City's penalty area before Lita directed a powerful header past David James from close range. On 76 minutes Barry Robson drove at the home back four and his shot from just inside the box appeared to take a deflection past James.
James was sent off in the final minutes for tripping substitute Cameron Park and Lita gleefully hammered home the resulting penalty, with defender Liam Fontaine having taken over the goalkeeping duties as City had used all three substitutes.
Bristol City: James, Skuse, Caulker, Cisse (Fontaine 65), Nyatanga, Adomah, Johnson, Elliott, Campbell-Ryce (Clarkson 79), Pitman, Stead (Sproule 65). Unused substitutes: Gerken, Stewart, Carey, Haynes.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte (McMahon 38), Wheater, Bates, Bennett, Robson, Bailey, O'Neil (Park 83), Taylor, Lita, Boyd (Emnes 62). Unused substitutes: Coyne, Kink, Arca, Hines.
Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
Man of the match: Leroy Lita.