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City Dominate But Lack Blades' Speedy Cutting Edge

Speed Kills, But City Find Their Rhythm

Sheffield Utd 2 - 1 City

By Bristol Boy

There have been plenty of occasions when we’ve snatched a game that we could have lost or drawn this season, so perhaps the game that saw City confirm a play-off place on the basis of others' failure as opposed to our success was rather profound and summed up our season to date.

 

Be in no doubt that this was our best performance over ninety minutes for months and, although we lost, at least we passed the ball like Bristol City, and anyone who thinks that a team with Dele Adebola up front is consigned to playing whoosh football should get a video of this game and the second half at Charlton, because the big man was pivotal in both.

 

The only disappointment for me yesterday, apart from the obvious one, was when Enoch Showunmi was introduced for Marvin Elliott & City reverted to the whoosh football that doesn’t suit us and almost always fails.

 

With the excellent Nick Carle marauding in midfield, ably supported by a reinvigorated Marvin Elliott, Lee Trundle looking strong as well as technically gifted and David Noble maintaining a right wing berth, City were always going to retain possession and pass the ball and that… as I get fed up with writing (and you probably get fed up with reading!) is when City look and play like City and not Watford!

 

It’s not coincidence that a footballing team looks like winning the CCC while Boothroyd’s robotic and grinding Watford’s hopes diminish.

 

City took the lead when the ball was played into Adebola’s feet and his smart turn and run was halted by a cynical tackle from behind that may have brought a red card on another day. I’m glad it didn’t, and McIndoe stepped up to take the penalty to the obvious frustration of Trundle, who I’d still pick to take the next one!

 

It was a lead City deserved, their football merited and only poor defending, that saw the out-of-form Louis Carey get caught under the ball and lose his attacker in Gary Speed, meant Utd were level at half time, albeit our cause was helped by seeing James Beattie depart after about thirty seconds, and if Utd make the play-offs, let’s hope that injury lasts about a month!

 

Cotterill’s return to Wigan would be a plus and then he can come back to AG, because he looked the biggest threat in the Sheff Utd ranks with the odd mazy run & dribble. He also won the corner from which they scored the first goal and brought a fine save out of Basso on the break as City flooded forward for an equaliser, which would have been so deserved.

 

City at last looked fluid although still not threatening on all occasions and to dominate a game at Bramall Lane against an in-form team and still lose must frustrate and worry GJ as much as the City faithful who noisily packed the lower tier in The Halliwells Stand, playing a full part in a cracking atmosphere in a proper football ground holding almost 30,000 fans.

 

Once again the game proved an advert for all away seating being unallocated & for safe standing which, for reasons that remain a mystery to me, the authorities still don’t recognise, also insisting on reducing capacity by 5% when a club does so.

 

We must have crossed more balls and got into more promising attacking areas in this game than we have in the last two months, but for all that I can only remember Kenny making one good save from Nick Carle’s thumping low drive as City went from the sublime to the ridiculous… or perhaps the other way around, by wanting one to many passes thus losing shooting opportunities.

 

McIndoe’s needless handball, that was spotted by the crowd and the linesman but not Mark Halsey, gifted the Blades a penalty which stand in penalty taker Speed put away with aplomb.

 

Then it was like Rourke’s Drift… and this time we were the Zulu’s!!... Trouble is, they lost that one as well!

 

The game plan needed is clear. Play football, pass the thing, but somehow… and this is the difficult bit, add what’s been lacking all season… CUTTING EDGE.

 

Brooker's return would help, but when was the last time he started & finished three games on the trot for City?

 

Lee Johnson’s set-piece delivery would help, however he was clearly brought back too early and it’s a big ask for him to return for the play-offs, fit lad that he is. The players attacking those set pieces also need to attack different areas and not all go for the same ball. There were a number of occasions, especially late on when they clearly impeded each other! I’m all for enthusiasm lads, but think about it and someone back away to pick up the second ball.

 

Width would help, and McIndoe’s first-half performance when he at least based himself on the left wing showed promise, although David Noble’s not going to hit the byeline and cut it back for you.

 

At least yesterday Bristol City turned up - not the bunch of imposters who somehow stole our shirts at Southampton and, win or lose, I’ll settle for that and one too many passes is always my preference as compared with ten too few!

 

Hope springs eternal………….well, I hope so!

 

City lined up 4-4-2:
 

Basso

 

 

 

 

Orr

Carey

McCombe

McAllister

 

 

 

 

Noble

Elliott

Carle

McIndoe

 

 

 

 

                Adebola

Trundle           

 

Subs (used)

Showunmi

 

Not used:

Weale

Sproule

Fontaine

Skuse

 

TEAM RATINGS

 

Passing: 7/10

 

Set Pieces: 6/10

 

Commitment: 8/10

 

Entertainment Value: 7/10

 

Defending: 6/10

 

Attacking: 6/10

 

PLAYER RATINGS

 

BASSO: 7/10 A couple of decent saves and excellent general handling. Couldn’t be faulted for either goal.

 

ORR: 6/10:Defended well enough but the distribution let him down on occassions. A better game than of late.

 

CAREY: 6/10 At fault when he lost Speed for the first goal but improved as the game wore on.

 

MCCOMBE: 7/10 Powerful defensive performance and tried to add presence in the box late on.

 

MCALLISTER: 7/10 Had his hands full with the pacey & tricky Cotterill, but still tried to get the ball down and link up with midfield.  

 

CARLE: 8/10 Excellent movement, balance, passing, retention & control and only needs a goal or a major assist to establish himself.

 

ELLIOTT: 7/10 Looked like he was getting back to his best with some good breaking up of play and the odd surge into the box.

 

NOBLE: 7/10 Kept it, passed it, worked hard and combined well with Carle & Elliott to control midfield for long periods. Looked as fit as anyone else as the game drew to its conclusion.

 

MCINDOE: 7/10 All-action display, marred by the handball that gifted dangerous opponents the possibility of a play-off place. Still too much of the gypsy in his soul for me and retaining our shape with his efforts on the left is much more effective in terms of his overall contribution.

 

TRUNDLE: 7/10 Added strength and clear passion to the technical quality that’s a given. I still can’t remember a shot on target and that needs to come.

 

ADEBOLA: 7/10 Brought down for the pen and a menace in combination with Trundle. As with LT more efforts on target are needed and that, as with LT and all our other strikers, requires service especially from the flanks.

 

SUBS:

 

SHOWUNMI: 5/10 Galloped around to no avail as we whooshed it in search of an equaliser.

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NEW STADIUM SURVEY - Closing dates:

Online - April 30th.  Hard copy - May 4th

If you've not completed the new stadium survey yet, this week is your last chance.  If you'd like the link to the online survey or a PDF copy of the printed version, please e-mail new.stadium@bristolcityst.org.uk

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