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Lilywhites Lose Out When Trundle's About

Play Off Hopes Are Back On Track As City Get Their Passing Back

 

Bristol City 3 v 0 PNE - Match review & ratings 

 

By Bristol Boy

 

It was the game after one we lost. The one where we got our game back together. Could we keep it? Would the pressure get to us against opponents who were relaxed?

 

The good news is that we looked the part for the second game running, the whoosh football that had plagued us in recent months found itís rightful place in the bin - or Watford as itís better known - as players like Carle, Noble, Trundle & McIndoe revelled in the possession and space on offer that good movement on & off the ball created.

 

A resurgent Marvin Elliott looked back to his best as he broke up play and supplied the ammunition that has been lacking. A typical dinked set piece into the front of the box saw McCombe cause panic and Trundle benefit for a tap in.

 

Clever interplay between what seemed like the entire team ended with a neat one-two between Trundle & the scorer McIndoe, who put the game beyond doubt.

 

The one or two scares that seem compulsory in the CCC came & went and the win was sealed when born again David Noble placed a delicious right foot curler into the top left hand corner of Lonerganís net with the keeper rooted to his goaline.

 

Confidence oozed from every player and even three substitutions didnít entirely stop the flow with Basso almost a spectator.

 

Had you asked me about our fate in the play-offs two weeks ago, Iíd have given you a short & terse answer, albeit an honest one. The last two games have changed that perception.

 

As predicted, we have Palace with a tricky away leg first (not my preference).  If we can get past that on level terms I fancy us to win through, but itíll be tight. Lose the first leg by more than one goal and I fear thatíll be that.

 

In the same way, if Watford, strangely, can avoid defeat at Vicarage Road against Hull, then Iíll back them to defeat the Tigers and make the final.

 

If we make the final with our first choice sixteen available, then I reckon weíve still got a great chance. The first leg will be about commitment & imposing our game against muscular, pacey & organised opponents. Unlike our last visit to Selhurst Park, we will have to compete with them physically and mentally. Do that and our chances are real - fail to do it, and the second leg at Ashton Gate will be a formality.

 

The play-offs are a lottery... a clichť, but true. The refereeís decisions at key times, a moment of stupidity or brillianceÖ all grist to the mill in a division that you canít take your eyes off for a minute.

 

Without doubt the next three games could be called the biggest in the history of Bristol City. They are certainly games that put City on the cusp of a £60m fortune. Not the time for feint hearts or bottlers and the value of attitude cannot be overstated, however, not at the expense of a game-plan, quality or skill.

 

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City lined up 4-4-2:
 

Basso

 

 

 

 

Orr

Carey

McCombe

McAllister

 

 

 

 

Noble

Elliott

Carle

McIndoe

 

 

 

 

                Trundle

Adebola           

 

Subs (used)

SHOWUNMI

JOHNSON

SPROULE

 

Not used:

Weale

Fontaine

 

TEAM RATINGS

 

Passing: 8/10

 

Set Pieces: 7/10

 

Creativity: 7/10

 

Commitment: 8/10

 

Entertainment Value: 8/10

 

Defending: 7/10

 

Attacking: 7/10

 

PLAYER RATINGS

 

BASSO: 7/10 Well protected by a defence that conceded few opportunities. One comedy first half moment but recovered well.

 

ORR: 8/10:Defended well and used the ball well with better surges forward.

 

CAREY: 8/10 Looked back to his old self with some surges forward and strong tackles.

 

MCCOMBE: 8/10 Played a full part in keeping a clean sheet against a team well lead by the powerful Mellor.

 

MCALLISTER: 8/10 Much improved distribution and kept the balance of the team in combination with McIndoe and a powerful midfield.

 

CARLE: 8/10 Ran the midfield after a slow start and combined well with Elliott & Noble. Due a first goal and a major assist.

 

ELLIOTT: 8/10 Looked strong & fit. Broke up play and harried and hassled all afternoon. I hope that knock he took at the end wonít be a problem

 

NOBLE: 8/10 Cracking set piece strike, our first direct strike of the season (take note GJ, LJ & MM!!) & looks fit & back to his creative & ball retaining best. Supported Orr well in defence in what isnít his most natural role but one where he adds great value.

 

MCINDOE: 8/10 Added a goal and real purpose to the running, workrate & movement thatís always there.

 

ADEBOLA: 5/10 Struggled to impose himself on the game.

 

TRUNDLE: 8/10 Candidate for MOM with a goal, two assists and one cleared off the line by Matty Hill, who I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with after the game. Not changed a bit and a proper, nice, Bristol kid. Back to LT and this was another improved performance and when he combines the skill with tenacity & purpose, heís a dangerous opponent.

 

SUBS:

 

SPROULE: 4/10 Cameo and fairly anonymous

 

SHOWUNMI: 5/10 Worked hard, but didnít fare any better than Adebola

 

JOHNSON: 6/10 Looked rusty, but at least mobile and moving well enough.

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