Saturday, October 16, 2010

Where do you start? City 3-2 Bristol City

This was a game and a half for all sorts of reasons. A Severnside derby, only outshone by a game against the Jacks, the Robins cam to the CCS rock bottom, shipping goals like a leaky sieve.

It looked like the Bluebirds defenders were still on the international break when City found themselves 2-0 down after only 8 minutes. Sloppy defending gave away a needless free kick toward the corner flag and woeful marking let in Caulker from the ensuing free kick. Only 2 minutes later, the Bluebirds defence were static again as Stead flicked home a loose ball and City had it all to do.

Thankfully the goals came early, and Bristol City aren't the Championship's bottom side for nothing. In a crazy opening spell Bothroyd grabbed one back for City on 12 minutes. Gradually City settled and fashioned the better chances, with Bothroyd and Chopra both going close, but City were still a goal down at the break, but looking the more likely.

And so it proved. Two minutes into the second period, Whittingham curled a long range free kick into the box, everyone let it go, and one bounce was enough to see it into the cornner past a flailing David James. The Bluebirds supporters were understandably ecstatic. Level from 2 down, and last seasons' top scorer in the League, Whittingham, finally off and running. Whether it was meant to be a shot, or just a hopeful hit into the box that everyone missed, only he will know - but he won't care either way.

Despite City's growing dominance, they still looked awful at the back. All four of the back row looked uncertain at times. Naylor, Hudson and Gyepes are all suspect against pace, and all of them too often dwell on the ball trying to play their way out when a good punt into the stands or upfield would be the better option.

In midfield, Olifanjana is a towering presence and City are a different proposition when he's in the team. He needs Drinkwater back with him though. Stephen McPhail seems to have reverted to type, playing the ball in any direction except forward. Koumas, who replaced Burke late on is not showing anything like the form of his previous City spell (yet), and Blake of course was suspended for this one.

Chopra worked hard, but still looks like he's trying too hard, and Bothroyd, is well, Bothroyd. Brilliant one minute, and frustrating the next. Booked for kicking the ball away, he's too quick to get on the wrong side of referees for his dissent. Just play the game Jay - you're good at it.

Talking of refs, today official Mr Moss (yes you sir, stand up and take a bow) had a shocker. In mitigation, the general standard of Championship refs isn't great, but you have to have some sympathy for the players today. He was the absolute epitome of inconsistency. Blowing up for fouls in the final third (either end), and completely ignoring some fairly rash stuff in the middle third. Booking Bothroyd for kicking the ball away late on, but only giving a Robins player a taking to earlier for the same offence. If I was a player, I'm, sure I'd be angry and frustrated too.

Anyway, back to the game City's dominance deserved another goal, and when Whittingham was bundled over dead centre about 22 yards out, the only worry was that Koumas who had rushed over was going to take the kick. He didn't. Whittingham did. 3-2.

In a match that had it all, there was almost a great moment for the City fans, when following a great move and cross by Burke, David James pulled of a phenomenal save, he and his captain Louis Carey went toe to toe, and only the referee stepping in stopped one of them decking the other. To be fair, I though the ref should have let that one run!

So, three points to City and a great fight back showing great character, but it can't hide some fairly bad flaws in City's defense. Dave Jones needs to get that sorted asap. Whether Chris Riggot is the answer, only time will tell.

And to top off a great afternoon, I held the third place winning ticket in the half time 50/50 match draw, which nets me a signed match ball. Result!

Oh, and one more thing whilst I'm at it. Why oh why do I struggle so to get a decent 3G signal at CCS? It's normally crap, although for the Wales game last week it was wall to wall 4 bars 3G. Today? Zip, bugger all again. Almost impossible to get anything except a bog standard GPRS signal as soon as I get anywhere near the stadium. Makes tweeting nigh on impossible.

No comments: