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Olé

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Olé last won the day on August 18

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  1. Correlation does not equal causation. It has absolutely nothing to do with COVID, it's obviously down to how much our abysmal home form now gives even the quietest away fans a lease of life, particularly when given their obligatory 90th minute booster. I saw every incident you mentioned* and it was largely that, and the contrast is more obvious now that our fans trudge away in Lowry painting levels of depression at this repeated shit show. Pre-COVID as boring as home performances could be they weren't as consistently awful and we weren't consistently miserable and disaffected leaving games, and the two pre-COVID home fixtures that were fun for away fans - getting hammered 4-0 by Brentford on New Years Day and getting hammered 4-0 by WBA - no one begrudges the away side, a lot of City had gone home before full time, and Brentford at least aren't going to act up. *Gobby Fulham fans were an anomaly as it was just some kids in replica shirts who obviously had their first ever beers and were heading back to the pick up point with mum and dad looking forward to being driven home.
  2. But in respect of Mark Ashton there is plenty you can and should do for a bloke who was taking £450k out of the club every year. Directors and senior employees typically have non-solicitation clauses in their contracts which exist for a reason to stop a mass grab of staff by departing leaders and are much more enforceable than non-compete clauses. Happily, as @billywedlock alludes to, it's probably the case that we didn't care about the people he's hijacked. Mark is building himself quite an empire at Portman Road. The Americans must be absolutely lapping up the BS. Might get in contact with them myself to tell them about my royal uncle in Nigeria who needs to get his wealth out of the country.
  3. In my day at Halloween we did 'penny for the guy' but then Mark Ashton came along and paid £3.5m for guy - a player made entirely of papier mache, cardboard and old school clothes. Guy managed just five minutes in the first team over two seasons before being given a free transfer to MK Dons.
  4. Fair cop, you've got me bang to rights Dave. I am a football snob. I like possession, I especially like consistently good passing and movement. The vast majority of successful sides exhibit an ability to control the football and the game. I do hope for that kind of football - not just because of the perception of quality, but even just because we're force fed a diet of Robins Uncut #1-29 videos showing us practicing well drilled one or two touch passing moves or even training drills specifically designed to reward possession. And then we go into the real thing and appear fairly limited in our ability to put it together. Your points are all well made - Peterborough are much worse off than us, yes; and we used to lose to teams who perceptibly played much worse and more scrappy football than us, yes; but it's been so long since I remember feeling confident about City getting the ball down and passing it with quality that I am jealous when I see supposedly inferior teams finding it much easier to put together good fluid football. We actually have footballing defenders - Kalas run yesterday was sensational. I think of a number of our players as good footballers. But as you say elsewhere - we're direct and we struggle with the ball. I'm quite content winning ugly but it's pointless coming on here to write gushing praise about the performance itself unless the football warrants it. And I'll savour it even more when they do put it all together.
  5. Well that escalated quickly! Describing the match and enjoying the match are two completely different things. My head nearly came off when Martin scored the winner, don't think for one minute I didn't enjoy the moment. We're also creating more chances than the prior two seasons, and the team look more committed and is working far harder than some of the performances that passed players by during Covid. But let's not re-write fixtures because of the results. We were battered by QPR and yesterday I thought Peterborough looked far better on the ball, pass and move, working clever combinations. Our assistant manager even alluded to it in his post match interview. What was frustrating was that we repeatedly stood off them right to the very end - and could not produce the same quality. We were quite direct for a slow side without pace or runners, and other than two times we got O'Dowda to the byline in the first half, we only posed any threat in the second half from free kicks. We didn't work anything from open play, yet Peterborough kept passing, retaining the ball and plugging away at us - not great given how easily we'd already let them create their first two goals. After Wednesday's non-event at Millwall we were 5 minutes from having no answer for an ex-League One side. It took a moment of sheer bloody minded desire from Williams to create a winner. That was a brilliant release for us all - but not sure why I should suddenly re-write the City performance. Perhaps it looks different on Robins TV, but on quality of football we were second best. It's a great thing we are playing badly and winning games. It's a good platform for us to work towards producing real levels of quality passing/possession that will get us through tougher games.
  6. In monsoon like conditions at Peterborough, depleted City followed up the disappointing loss at Millwall by being largely second best to their promoted opponents, standing off a succession of attacks and never matching the hosts' pass and move - yet somehow Joe Williams contrived a barnstorming late Chris Martin winner against the run of play. The visitors gave their former League One hosts acres of space on either flank and so could have few complaints when one time City misfit Sammy Szmodics punished them. Led by Calum O'Dowda's wing play they got level from a corner and then went in front in a rare passing move - sealed by George Tanner drilling home a rebounded effort. But Sam Szmodics again took advantage of stand off defending to level and the visitors rarely looked likely to threaten during a one-sided second half - only for Williams to turn the game on its head in front of the massed ranks of traveling supporters, bundling past defenders and slipping it inside to Martin, who steered home an explosive late winner. Played in torrential rain it was Posh who had started the brighter through Szmodics down the left, regularly probing their opponents - though on 6 minutes O'Dowda got in behind onto a left wing through ball, only to square it just behind Matty James with defenders racing back out of position, the hosts in the end bundling the loose ball out for a corner. It wasn't until a couple of minutes past the quarter hour that Andi Weimann held up the ball before running it goalward, slipping it right to Williams, whose cross was cut back from beyond the far post by O'Dowda, who in turn laid it into James path, only for City's energetic midfielder to loop a shot high and wide with time to threaten the host defence. But on 21 minutes Peterborough made their more purposeful attacking movement count. An early ball down the left channel was easy for Harrison Burrows to control and lay off for Szmodics to run on from the edge of the box and curl an early looping shot past Dan Bentley and into the top corner - giving the home side an early lead in the pouring rain. City's best spell of passing came midway in the half - a patient wing to wing move saw Martin and Tanner combine out right before spreading cross field via King, who released O'Dowda to the byline on the left, his cross cut out with Weimann ready to finish. Pring on the left then jinked past defenders into the box, going down claiming for a penalty. After the half hour a left wing free kick was miscontrolled by Weimann but winning City several corners - from which O'Dowda's set piece met Rob Atkinson rising highest at the far post to send a bullet header into the top corner for the equaliser. Yet once again City stood off the hosts, Szmodics and Burrows given room to threaten from the channels. So it was a surprise when the visitors stole in front inside 40 minutes. A rare break saw James steal in from the left and square to Martin to apply the finish, but his tame shot was blocked and rebounded out to full back Tanner who drilled a low cross shot into the bottom corner. A first goal for the club in his fourth game since rising from League Two. City ended the half again repelling chances from the Peterborough left, and an overload saw the Posh work the ball inside Williams and Tanner via Dan Butler - who lifted it into Szmodics at close range who this time was able to steer a header into the far corner. At the break a deep City free kick led to head tennis in the box before Martin headed wide. After the restart the damp October weather had by now deteriorated into torrential rain that made it almost unplayable - although Williams early header forced a diving save from a deep James free kick, while at the other end Oliver Norburn took aim from 25 yards onto the bar and Nathan Thompson fired wide after Pring's slip up on the right. City's only chances were coming from set pieces and another deep free kick saw the team breaking the lines in numbers, scorer Atkinson glancing the ball inside for Martin to head down and force a close range save. On the hour City highlighted their futile play as a patient passing move saw no runners in behind and retreated back to halfway. Alex Scott replaced O'Dowda as the biblical weather made the match harder and harder to perform in - indeed despite the home side repeatedly probing it was Williams being put clear onto a long ball down the right at the midpoint of the second half that threatened more - only for the exhausted midfielder to badly overhit a low cross beyond teammates. Heading into the last ten Peterborough were seeing all of the ball but City were creating the clearer chances. Martin forced another diving save with a flicked header following a Williams cross, then Tomas Kalas produced a stunning run - bringing it down in defence and racing upfield to beat the entire Posh defence, only to miss Martin with his centre. So City had sounded a warning and despite being largely against the run of play they'd storm into a decisive lead a minute later and right in front of their fans. All action Williams bundled the ball past defenders and slipped it to Martin who curled home. Pandemonium in the away corner as City players, second best much of the day, celebrated with fans. Before the end Bentley had to pull off a fine save to tip wide a free kick heading for the top corner following Burrows apparent dive. The keeper would need lengthy treatment in injury time as the Posh piled on the pressure - but City hung on and claimed their fourth away win in six trips, an improbable return from a poor performance in Bentley 7 Crucial save at the end Tanner 7 Took goal well, threw himself at everything at the end, Szmodics caused him problems though Pring 6 One or two slips but generally solid and great driving fun first half Kalas 7 Stunning run towards the end, never stops, probably showed Posh forwards too much respect when they ran the channels Atkinson 7 Really well taken goal and some important flick ons from other set pieces James 6 Some great set piece delivery but never really got hold of midfield for the quality of opposition King 6 Probably shaded it over James and was a marked improvement over Bakinson - ran out of steam later on Williams 7 Easily our best player in a poor performance - never stopped battling and trying to find space to pass or run O'Dowda 6 Our biggest threat first half with some well timed runs and drilled crosses but got injured and came off early Weimann 4 Nothing came off for him, didn't link well with anyone, pressed strongly but as an attacking threat non existent Martin 5 Several good chances and a vital winner but slow and offered little outlet for much of the game Scott 6 Added a bit of quality on the ball in difficult conditions although hard done by when hacked down and ref waved play on
  7. For most of his 20 months at Bristol City, Nahki Wells has been a bit part figure, not even making the starting line ups for the early part of this season. But after running the channels like a man possessed in the win at QPR away and then in a draw with division favourites Fulham on Saturday, his last minute withdrawal at Millwall seemed to badly disrupt City’s forward play, exposing a depressing lack of cutting edge for all their possession at the Den. City were expected to build on a five match unbeaten run, and yet despite weathering a purposeful Lions opening, and then controlling the game led by Joe Williams in midfield, including an utterly dominant 15 minutes after half time, the visitors offered little actual attacking threat - and then threw away everything in a single moment as a sloppy Tyreeq Bakinson was caught out in midfield, and Benik Afobe raced clear to win the decisive penalty. Despite reinforcements from the bench, City faded badly and never looked like levelling - a depressing reminder that for all the talk of transformation since last season, lacking both Wells and Semenyo’s pace, Massengo’s bite, and then suffering Baker’s exit in just the first half - once again the side is a hostage to player fitness, exposing a painful lack of pace and quality in attack, even after O’Dowda’s typically forgettable second half wing return. With Nigel Pearson isolating and led by Curtis Fleming on the touchline, City switched to three at the back after the pre-game loss of Wells - and the disruption was obvious as Millwall dominated the opening exchanges at a sparsely filled and unseasonally cold New Den, Scott Malone, Matt Smith and George Evans efforts all forcing the visitors to defend in numbers, before City finally settled and wrested control of the game after 10 minutes. First Jay DaSilva capitalised on a poor throw in and swept the ball upfield for Bakinson to get clear down the left, cutting inside and racing into the box, but robbed of possession, the half clearance reached Matty James outside the area who unleashed a rising shot just over the angle of post and bar. On the quarter hour Bakinson’s looped ball forward and a defensive slip let Andi Weimann turn and race clear, but the keeper closed him down quickly. By now City were starting to craft well worked football in the middle third, and good interplay led to James lifting another through ball which Bakinson stole onto inside the box only to miscontrol and be flagged for offside. Then at the midway point of the half Bakinson threaded DaSilva down the left and clear to the byline, his cross eluding several City options and finding fellow wingback George Tanner beyond the far post to nod down tamely wide. Just before the half hour the visitors were rocked by the sadly familiar sight of Baker going down off the ball and requiring attention before being withdrawn, Cam Pring on in his place. Unsurprisingly Millwall capitalised with the first big chance of the game as Evans headed down behind City’s backline and Afobe skipped clear inside the box with just the keeper to beat, Bentley doing brilliantly to beat away the shot at close range in front of away fans. Much of City’s best football was coming through DaSilva down the left and before the break two crosses in quick succession threatened an opening - first on the break his ball into the middle was bundled clear of the ineffectual Chris Martin, and then from the resulting corner, recycling the ball at the second attempt, the wing back centred and found Weimann whose flashing header went just wide of the far post as the visitors again failed to capitalise. On the stroke of half time it should have been the hosts who went in front, rallying with a series of chances before the break, they worked the same proven combination as Evans again found Afobe behind City’s defence, the one time Ashton Gate striker heading down into the bottom corner at close range, Bentley tipping past the post. It was a stark reminder of the value of pace and purpose up front, compared to City’s largely anonymous front two. As it happens Curtis Fleming’s men took the game to Millwall from the restart, attacking towards their travelling fans. Williams and James were dominating midfield, with time to pick their passes and find dangerous channel balls. But lacking both pace and cutting edge - Martin in particular turning in the box to find an angle only to lose out - it didn’t take long for O’Dowda to be thrown on at the expense of DaSilva, as City tried to turn the screw. It was one-sided football against a poor looking Millwall side and despite a succession of corners and getting both O’Dowda and Tanner racing clear down both flanks, City were utterly bereft of quality in the final third. Both wide men were guilty of squandering crosses - cut out or, in the case of O’Dowda, overhit with Weimann well placed to finish - but in truth the failures owed much also to the absence of Wells and with it any real threat in the middle. So the sucker punch came as no surprise after the hour mark. Bakinson, an increasingly uncertain figure alongside impressive central midfield colleagues, hesitated on the ball in the centre circle and was robbed of possession, a quick through ball highlighting the advantage of pace in attack as Afobe raced clear on goal and drew a foul from Rob Atkinson, substitute Jed Wallace smashing the resultant penalty into the top corner with unerring confidence. And that was it. City had shown little quality in attack despite controlling the game from the tenth to the sixtieth minute, and by now their tiring midfielders had run out of options and let the game slip away from them, although there was briefly time for Bakinson to slash wide after Martin and Weimann combined in space on City’s right. Withdrawing the tiring Williams for the wrong sort of Kasey Palmer cameo compounded the complete surrender. City, far from finishing the game strongly in search of an equaliser, were aiming quick balls forward at O’Dowda and Palmer, which sounds exactly as horrific as it actually was, the total lack of composure or fluidity that marked our earlier purpose, saving us only from the predictable sight of Chris Martin lumbering about in attack being outrun by anything that moved. This was a throwback to last season. An awful performance against a poor side. Bentley 7 Two important saves from Afobe with the best chances of the game Baker 5 Another early exit for his record of early exits - was it the knock from Saturday? Kalas 7 Plays like he takes it all personally and worked hard throughout Atkinson 6 Unfortunate with the penalty but some good marauding runs forward Tanner 5 Tireless performance but can see the step up in quality needed going forward DaSilva 6 One of our more effective performers, we were much worse after he went off Williams 7 Our most purposeful of midfielders and drove the team forward until he ran out of steam James 6 There is a good partnership with Williams to be had but they need players to aim for Bakinson 4 Influential early on but became increasingly ponderous and careless - lacking confidence Weimann 5 Given no service and played so far off Martin maybe maybe he thought Wells was playing Martin 4 Please god not a season of this - a few knock downs and otherwise looked like he was queuing for petrol Pring 5 Had one header over and at fault at least once when Millwall got in behind us O’Dowda 4 Ran down the wing a few times, overhit a cross, fell over, then disappeared, standard stuff Palmer 4 Tried one cute through ball straight to an opponent, rarely controlled any passes to him
  8. Jamie McAllister became our Assistant after coaching in the IPL. In fact if you made a table of the recent places we have got our coaches from it'd be: 2 - India Premier League 2 - English FA youth levels 1 - Walsall (good human)
  9. Bristol City's third straight away win was incredible theatre for a side that can't buy a win at home and was taken to pieces by far more incisive QPR hosts - only to steal an improbable win via none other than ex Loftus Road hero Nahki Wells, who came off the bench as sharp and tidy as he has ever been at City, racing clear deep into injury time to secure a ridiculous win. Chaotic limbs in the compact away end were an unlikely culmination for a fixture that City were easily second best in - and owed much to Tomas Kalas heading away an endless supply of left wing crosses as QPR targeted debutant George Tanner on our right, while Daniel Bentley performed heroics throughout a one sided second half repelling wave upon wave of chances. The old cliche is that City will play better and lose but in truth City will lose 99 out of 100 games they turn up to as ineffective and lacking cutting edge as they did today - QPR played through our middle with an embarrassing ease throughout the game and yet Han-Noah Massengo's first half run and Wells' last minute poise claimed easily Nigel Pearson's least likely victory. Amazingly for what followed, City opened the better side, Massengo a terrier on the left, the visitors winning a couple of early corners. On 15 Kalas steered a header onto the roof of the net. But that was it for the away side and on 20 QPR's double up on new boy Tanner on our right saw them reach Dykes to loop a header over Bentley onto the bar - Pring clearing desperately. Tanner actually got away from his marker at the other end from a throw in on 27 and was clear to drill a low cross and win the corner which Kalas headed straight at the keeper before a QPR player fell to ground feigning a head injury, City's momentum curtailed. On the half hour yet another left wing overload let the Rs cross, Odubajo's diving header flashing right across goal. On 37 City's otherwise best outfield player Massengo slipped in midfield to let Andre Gray in from the same left hand weakness - cutting inside and drawing a save from Bentley at close range and then almost converting a follow up when suspiciously offside. Minutes later a well worked City move saw Pring overlap into space for a cross, QPR countering down our right. By now the London side were piling on the pressure and a sloppy Pring clearance let Willock smash a 25 yard shot that stung Bentley's hands. Then De Wijs headed wide at close range after City were again targeted on their right. So it is remarkable they could go in ahead before the break - perhaps a brief microcosm of their smash and grab success in the game as a whole. It took a smart forward ball by Bakinson in his first game of the season - Massengo in the clear down the left, running at the QPR defender, teasing a quick shift inside only to square to Weimann who shielded well, held off the home keeper and slid back to Chris Martin to slam home. An improbable opener and owed much to Massengo who gave City their only purpose in open play. Jay DaSilva replaced injured makeshift left back Baker at half time - Pring dropping to the fullback role - but any idea to distract QPRs overload on Tanner's opposite flank was quickly forgotten as they took City to pieces, McCallum equalising from Pring's wayward headed clearance, the full back sweeping home, then Johansen drawing a distance save and Barbet fizzing wide. On the hour Massengo and James tidied up to allow Chris Martin to break, playing Bakinson into acres of space on the left, his interplay with Weimann eventually an opening for Tanner on the other side but a soon to be familiar hesitancy wasted the chance to cross. Willock went close again at the other end but Wells entering for Martin was eventually the difference. For the final half hour City were absolutely getting picked apart across the pitch by a QPR side that seemed destined to claim a comfortable home win. On 64 Kalas gave it away in midfield and the hosts skipped past desperate challenges Chair drawing a save, then one touch passing carved us open and sub Austin got clear in behind and forced Bentley to tip wide down low. Replacing Pring for Semenyo on 70 was a signal Pearson expected more but other than the irrepressible Massengo winning a free kick there was little on show up front. That was until Semenyo was sprung clear wide left and despite Massengo miscuing the cross, sub Wells did brilliantly to hold the next forward ball up in the box, before DaSilva far post couldn't release his shot. Inside 80 Semenyo was hacked down on the break and DaSilva curled a free kick over the keeper and just over the angle of post and bar. At the other end familiar sub Albert Adomah headed straight at Bentley as City allowed the 2,341st easy left wing cross of the day following a throw in. Now Kalas had neckache from throwing himself at early balls swept over debutant Tanner. Bakinson, like DaSilva before him, twice hesitated with chances to get shots away around the box after good work by each of Semenyo and Wells, and heading into five minutes of injury time there was only one winner as QPR picked apart their visitors, Bentley making multiple desperate saves in time added on as the hosts left players ball watching as they slipped in on goal. So the rousing finale was as ridiculous as it was hilarious. Ineffective for so long, an unlikely last minute City ball forward let Weimann - miscuing all day - get the run on his man down the left, and when a lob into the middle was misjudged by Rangers' centre back, livewire Wells was on hand to execute a perfect forward touch out of his feet, race on and slam past the keeper. Denied supporters during Covid, Pearson doesn't have many big away celebrations other than the recent win at Cardiff, but a smash and grab in West London built on Bentley's successive heroics, Massengo being irrepressible in midfield and Wells as sharp as he has ever looked, was unlikely as it was chaotic - delerium right in front of the away end masking a below par day. Bentley 9 After Wednesday's mixup more than integral to the win - more key saves in one game than he should be making in a month playing for us, could do with some help. Tanner 5 Showed occasionay that he will be a solid player but deliberately overloaded and on first view easily beaten at both ends Baker 6 Did nothing wrong seemed to pick up a knock but forward balls all poor Kalas 7 Threw himself at everything and cleared cross after cross - inevitable that he would have moments out of position but we'd be a mess without him Atkinson 6 As always got stuck in but they got behind him and Kalas too often Pring 6 Errors of judgment with several clearances out of keeping with recent form James 6 Tidied up well but drifted out of the game and easily bypassed when they moved the ball quickly Massengo 7 Our best outfield player and never stopped running Bakinson 6 Typically languid style a few great setups but ponderous, wasted clear chances and too easily played through Weimann 5 Poor game for him nothing went right touches all wrong and even worse out left when we changed shape Martin 5 Took goal well but too slow and too far off teammates to be effective DaSilva 6 Linked up better but wasted a good chance & had a battle with Adomah Wells 8 Looked good from the moment he came on - didn't waste a single pass and looked a class above others Semenyo 6 caught offside a bit, Pearson didn't seem happy, didn't add much when defending but one bright run and something different to think about
  10. This is an absolutely outstanding post @Davefevs and I hope to earn the right to buy you a beer one day.
  11. Would have posted this sooner but despite Vodafone headquartered in Berkshire, Three in Maidenhead, and O2 in Slough, Reading manage to play in a stadium where the mobile networks all fall to pieces when confronted by a couple of thousand away fans. Not a great look for an area that is supposed to be the heart of UK mobile communications.
  12. City's first win of the season - a pulsating encounter at Reading's Select Car Leasing Out of Town Car Park Stadium - had every ingredient you might have expected of the long overdue return to winning ways. Not only goals (our last 4 wins each came with 3 goals) but also familiar fragile defending that guarantees us all a late nosebleed. The only surprise was how easily City went for the jugular in the opening exchanges - an early two goal salvo borne out of twice finding a vital flick on from a right wing set piece, allowing first man of the match Andi Weimann and then Chris Martin to net before hosts Reading settled. The Royals roared back into it in predictable format. But City fans fearing the worst of another back foot encounter as Reading grew with confidence for the rest of the first half, will have enjoyed how the away side wrestled back control of the game after the break - scoring an incisive winner and appearing comfortable until in true City fashion a late Reading goal led to a desperate finish. City were ahead inside five minutes. Back in the side, Tomas Kalas right wing throw in was glanced on by Martin and Weimann was on hand to nod in. At the other end a capacity away crowd released red smoke bombs down onto the pitch in celebration as a long overdue City win started to take shape as Reading looked shell shocked. After ten minutes yet another right wing throw in was bundled on and fell kindly to Matty James inside the box but his fierce half volley was deflected away. So it was no surprise two minutes later when a right wing corner was headed on by Cam Pring and this time Martin converted to send the performance starved away fans delirious. But City have been nothing if not horribly predictable at the back this season and it took just five minutes for Reading to fight back with their first real attack. As always it was the left wing, Bristow cutting inside, drifting into the box and like many others conceded, slipping the ball across the box for Aziz to slam home from close range. City had chances midway through the half as James freekick went high and wide and Cam Pring headed straight at the keeper when unmarked from a deep right wing cross to the far post, while Reading's best moment quickly followed - quick interplay from the left cut through from City's right, Rob Atkinson stepping in to block the shot. Quick fire City had retreated as the first half wore on, but after an injury to King in the early exchanges of the second half, a first appearance of the season for City's energetic teenager Han-Noah Massengo galvanized the visitors and helped secure a crucial third - a stunning 52nd minute counter attack that set up the away win. It started with bright youngster Alex Scott skipping away down the right and past the first defender - before squaring to the on rushing Weimann who knocked it past his marker and carried on his purposeful run exchanging passes with the teenager and collecting the return pass inside the box - picking his moment to bury it in front of his fans. By now sub Massengo was marauding in midfield roared on by the dominant away following - and on 65 minutes home boss Veljko Paunovic optimistically waved for home fans to register any kind of noise in support, as a near post flick on from one time City player Liam Moore from their left wing corner sailed high over Bentley's bar. City added Kasey Palmer for Scott and a minute later the sub almost immediately cut through - his weighted pass feeding Weimann to run at the defence from the right channel, trying to make room for the shot before spaying out left to Jay DaSilva whose cross was cleared. Next, Pring's quick delivery was desperately cut out. With just under 15 remaining City threw on Nathan Baker and went five at the back. It was a solidity that stood them well for the remainder facing only wayward pot shots - but not before on 80, old foe Liam Moore strode from midfield with Massengo in tow, keeping going as things opened up - and drilling a low curling shot into bottom right. With 5 minutes remaining Reading were all over City in search of an improbable draw, finding space in front of the tireless screen offered by Massengo and James - though a miscue by the latter broke kindly into the left channel on the break and allowed the sort of familiar cut back from the right that Bentley for once did well to get on top of. Just before time added on City had a rare opportunity to get their forwards in space around the box. But while both Weimann and Martin probed it was Massengo that switched it left to DaSilva - his cross to the far post first mishit by Palmer, then struck firmly onto the post, Weimann then turning the rebound onto the keeper on a hat trick. City had clearly dominated key exchanges in a lively clash with Reading - but in the end it was a relief for the capacity visiting following to hear the final whistle after six minutes of injury time, claiming a deserved first three points owing much to their early purpose and Weimann's endless running - though always at risk of defensive flaws. Bentley 6 Claimed well under pressure several times, though might have done better with Reading's second Simpson 5 Another identikit goal from the right conceded and as hard as he worked he never looked comfortable DaSilva 7 A much better game going forward and with the ball, aided by Pring Kalas 7 Dangerous from throw ins and resolute at the back. Much needed return Atkinson 6 A couple of good breaks but still work to do to tighten up defending James 6 Bags of running and effort to support around the box but King 5 Was starting to drift out of game as Reading grew in confidence so Massengo offered a better screen alongside James Pring 7 Decent with flick ons and crosses but most importantly opened up DaSilva's game on the wing by offering good cover Weimann 9 A man possessed - two good goals and threatened several times to add more, never stopped chasing down rivals to press them right until the end - utterly outstanding performance Martin 6 Took goal well but once again a concern that doesn't link up sufficiently with the team objectives Massengo 7 Other than not being goal side of Moore for Reading's second looked a bright spark and upgrade on King Palmer 6 Early wasted threaded balls were a reminder that he can be a luxury - but a threat with the ball to feet late on, both the shot into the post and holding the ball to run the final seconds of the clock out Baker 6 Helped clear the lines in the final exchanges to secure all three points
  13. 55 minutes into another sloppy, low quality performance Nigel Pearson stormed down from his recent lofty position and launched into his players. Within minutes a renewed City equalized but a 5 minute purple patch with their manager back on the touch line up at Middlesbrough could barely disguise the latest slow Championship capitulation. City fans enjoyed their first away league trip since Millwall away 18 months ago in a boisterous Riverside but it was more of the same sorry story supporters have followed via RobinsTV as despite lots of possession and playing out from the back, the visitors were second best wherever it mattered - in the end rightly going down 2-1 to Boro. Pearson's men were terrorized by Isaiah Jones in both halves - the left winger aptly wearing goggles for all his diving - but he made both the home goals and showed a pace and directness a relegation fancied City side increasingly lack. Andy King got his first Robins goal from a set piece when we threw on Nahki Wells and went 442. The match kicked off in shining sun and a home end waving flags and building up an atmosphere in their first home fixture since lockdown. It was City who settled first and showed a regular propensity to play out from the back, on 5 minutes new signing Rob Atkinson going on a barnstorming run only for his cut back to miss team mates. On the 10th minute another Atkinson run drew midfielders and allowed the former Oxford defender to play in teenager Scott whose cross sailed beyond everyone. Next Boro winger Jones pulled back Vyner right in front of the ref (a homer all game) who allowed the tricky flankman to have space and run in on goal to win the first corner. Midway through the half Kasey Palmer, as usual combative but routinely sloppy, gave the ball away cheaply in the Boro half, and King had to haul down his opponent on the break, earning a booking. This was typical of City who looked composed playing out but lacked quality in the Boro half and let the hosts routinely threaten on the break. On the half hour Palmer slid in upfield and won the ball allowing Scott to race away - the teenager spreading left to Dasilva to wriggle away and slip into the box. The full back picked his way through players only to shoot straight at a crowd. By this point City were giving as good as they got - yet without any quality or composure upfield. Boro left winger Jones had been diving at any contact during the first half - enabled by the soft referee. His goggles may have been appropriate for that act, but on 37 minutes he showed his class, dummying right back Vyner, driving into the box to drill across goal knowing City could barely clear their lines, Ikpeazu slamming home. Unbelievably this was the fifth goal in 15 days that City had conceded in identical fashion - three of those against Villa - the routine of drilled ball from left and slower to react than opponents with their strikers queuing up in the six yard box. If City are working on things at their expensive High Performance Centre it isn't goals like this. City were attacking towards their fans in the second half but on 51 another Jones break down the left shamefully contrived yet another of the chances City seem to routinely concede. His cross into the box found goalscorer Ikpeazu with acres of space only to head wide with the goal at his mercy. City's weakness was obvious. The only bright spot of another careless City performance was the ability to play out from the two centre backs and on 53 Nathan Baker went on a prowling run, a through ball sliding Andreas Weimann into the box, who held off a marker and shot straight at a defender with Chris Martin to his right roaring to setup a better chance. It was now that manager Pearson stormed down from a customary position up in the main stand, reacting to yet another feeble waste of an attack - showing his fury at his sloppy away team. Palmer next seized on a loose ball to steer a shot just wide of the right post from the edge of the box - before departing as Wells made it a 442. The impact was almost immediate. On 58 the striker got down the right and played King into the channel. The midfielder was hacked down - and from the resultant free kick out right of the box ex Leicester team mates Matty James and King combined, a lifted ball into the six yard box found King unmarked, able to bury an easy header. Suddenly the away side were buoyant and backed by noisy away fans City's players strode upfield, first Weimann hacked down outside the box - Wells free kick blocked - then Wells combining well on the left and carving a channel for Dasilva to sprint in, a rare foray into the box, squared across, but unlike City, desperately cleared away. Next Scott cut in from the left and saw a curling shot from just inside the Boro box cleared over then within seconds Wells got out down the right channel under pressure from an opponent, lifting an early ball into the box, Martin's header down easily dealt with. Pearson might have enjoyed the brief resurgence but in truth City were poor. In minutes they were back behind as once again Jones tumbled easily deep left and from a McNair free kick into the box it was goalscorer Ikpeazu who rose unopposed to nod on into the six yard box with Matt Crooks reacting faster than a flat footed City defence, sliding in to slam home the loose ball past stunned keeper Bentley. City rarely got close to a leveller. On 75 a rare passing move worked space outside the box but Wells shot from range was a tame one with others better placed. At the other end James again won a free kick on the left from which Boro again won a first ball in the crowded box only to convert the shot straight into keeper Bentley's hands. By now teenager Janneh was on and he kept a long ball down the left in play inside the last ten, lifting it back to James whose cross into the box found Martin stretching for a diving header on goal that Wells got ahead of and steered over. City looked a lot better with two up front but yet again lacked the composure of their opponents. With minutes left marauding City defender Atkinson gave the ball away in front of his own box only for Jones shot at the edge of the box to be easily claimed by Bentley. Just before time added on Weimann got under a through ball to steer an onward header from the edge of the box over the keeper but also onto the roof of the net. In injury time City lacked fluidity but with their final move Janneh swung the ball in from the left, Weimann headed back over from the right and with their best chance of the match James dropped into space and with time - and the goal - at his mercy he snatched a half volley into the ground and tamely wide with time running out. At a stadium where City have consistently enjoyed rich pickings this was among their poorest and most complacent showings - a 13th for Pearson without a win - and it is concerning that even a brief rally following Pearson's return to the touchline did little to change the impression that the visitors are now easily among the divisions worst. Bentley 6 A few routine saves but given woeful protection for both goals Vyner 5 Harshly treated by the ref given James reoeated diving but second best to the left winger when it mattered Dasilva 6 Among our better players and retained possession well but none of the passing or purpose he has under LJ Atkinson 6 Some impressive runs out of the defence with the ball and looks class in possession but part of a pair that was beaten too easily in the air Baker 5 Suprisingly mobile playing out from the back but expect more first ball when Boro got it in our box - no surprise Kalas was brought on James 5 Never stopped running but with absolutely no quality or interplay King 5 See James - glad we are building a team around people who run around a lot with little quality. Think I'd rather watch an LJ team Palmer 4 Some full blooded tackles but his touches and passes were poor and didn't ever really get into the game Scott 6 Scary that a 17 year old is our best footballer among our front six - sadly had no one of any quality or pace to supply Weimann 4 Mostly made all the wrong decisions and in any case drifted in and out of the game for long periods Martin 3 Absolutely woeful for a serious Championship team that play him one up top. Brought no one into play, carried no threat and absolutely no pace. Wells 6 Definitely galvanized the team and generally we looked more dangerous in a 442 but didn't always pick right pass Janneh 6 Looked strong and purposeful and didn't do anything wrong Kalas 6 One of his last games?
  14. Hello I've been on self enforced absence from OTIB over the summer as a result of a new job as well as a double fracture to my keyboard warrior hand. I was expecting to start doing away ground reports again last night, but was thwarted by the vegan loser who sold tickets his ground can't cope with. Normal service will be resumed from a pub somewhere in Teeside this Saturday but in the meantime @The Original OTIB: Match Report: Ball briefly appears visible in mid-air at Forest Green City's chequered history in the league cup features such highs as meeting one time European Champions Nottingham Forest in the semi final, and beating many time European Champions Manchester United in the quarter final, as well as such lows as managing to fall apart cheaply in early rounds to the likes of Plymouth, Luton, Oxford, Gillingham, Swindon, Southend, Carlisle, Crewe, Cheltenham, Barnet and any other half-hearted lower division outfit that simply breathes on us after their summer holidays. One such Mickey Mouse outfit hoping to repeat that trick was vegan-favourite Forest Green Rovers. Boasting exactly the right sort of half-hearted tin pot attitude that makes them our inevitable August giant-killers, the lettuce fuelled League Two also rans with their little ground at the top of a big hill and looking like a deleted scene from hit BBC comedy This Country, put the tin (as well as pot) in tin pot, selling away tickets in numbers that their ramshackle barn-conversion and patio couldn't cope with. The writing was on the wall as early as the second minute when I decided to start staring at something written on the wall behind me because I got bored of staring at peoples backs. In the 39th minute the ball briefly appeared in mid air - this was a remarkable highlight in an otherwise anonymous first half mainly looking at the backs of jackets. What was this ball I wondered. Was it a mis-hit Nakhi Wells penalty? Or maybe a Danny Simpson pass? For all I knew it was neither. I didn't even know who was playing. In the second half I remonstrated with the head steward having established from other City fans that there was both spare seats and standing space in part of the away stand that they refused to let anyone near. They'd already confiscated wheelie bins lest fans stand on them and actually see the game. By now a man and his two toddlers were also staring at the wall having given up on gazing at jackets. Others just gave up and left. There was occasional cheering, for what I do not know, a new vegan pie maybe. Match Ratings Janneh 7 Wells 5 Stewards 2 Dale Vince 0
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