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Match Report: Bo Saves Battling City in Stockport Storm


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[Evening quarantine fans. Back in the early days of the internet there were some City fans who communicated via an email group and that's where I first started posting despatches from the odd away game - mainly to return the favour for others who did the same when I couldn't afford it or had been banned by my mum. By the power of old VHS tapes and internet archives, I've recreated the day for you (minus the alcohol) with both the TV highlights and my actual email from the day - proving once and for all my reports bare no relation to what actually happens.]

At the start of the match, 3 points was our expectation and hope, and in the closing stages of the game it was also very much our target. But that badly underestimates what went between. To be perfectly honest, for most of the game City fans would have taken a point if it had been offered. And if it wasn't for Jim Brennan and Bo Andersen being in exceptional form, even a point would have been way out of reach.

A large away support filled Stockport's uncovered terraced end, whilst more City fans took their seats in the main stand away to our right. Although it is hard to believe from what followed, the game kicked off in bright sunshine...

The main source of amusement pre-match was that the home side had hired pop-rap combo East 17 to do a spot of work on the turf in the away end penalty area. (You had to be there…). City fans were ominously silent pregame, but then erupted at kick off (punctuated by a well respected minutes silence for Hillsborough) to fill the ground with noise, and shame the embarrassingly silent home fans.

There isn't really much that can be said about the first half. Neither side played particularly attractive football, but to say City were flattered to go in at half time with a 0-0 draw was an understatement. Stockport - a strong physical quick to break side - could quite easily have been several goals ahead by the interval, against a woefully lacklustre City side, who did have ideas, but were struggling badly to put them into effect, not least because the striking partnership of Torpey and Andersen was well shackled by the County central defence.

A run through of the early action is difficult, because it remains a nasty blur in my mind. City were struggling to get the ball through midfield, and Torpey's height advantage was of no value in the first half against huge defenders.

At the back City defended very nervously, and very slow and un-assuredly. Even Taylor was making mistakes, and Sebok, although wonderfully gifted, was frustrating with cultured - but effectively weak - clearances.

The prime culprit (for much of the game in fact) was Louis Carey, who - as is surely now obvious - is not a right back. He's a great central defender, but on the right his hesitancy, pace and reactions are badly exposed. His positioning is also very poor, which allowed Stockport to get around him with little difficulty and get the ball into the box.

Sebok was working flat out to cover for Carey's mistakes, which pulled him out of the middle, and opened more holes for Stockport. All this added up to far too much possession for Stockport. Several easy chances were spurned by the Stockport strikers, blazing high, wide, left, right, and anywhere but the goal. Tony Ellis was most guilty, with only the keeper to beat, he launched a shot over the away end.

City's poor clearances kept the pressure on, and there were a series of nerve jangling penalty area scrambles, where the mystery of Stockport's failiure to score was almost of X-Files proportions.

In one incident, a minute long pinball session inside the City 6 yard box had somehow failed to deliver a goal, when a decisive shot was made. As it headed low over the line towards the bottom right, Torpey somehow (and I emphasise somehow because it was a miracle) managed to slide in and hook the ball up and over the bar. The basic laws of maths, physics, trajectories, trigonometry etc. went out the window as the striker managed to change the ball's direction by 90 degrees up into the air, and send it behind and out for a corner.

But even this first half magic was surpassed by Bo Andersen, who had an absolute stormer. First, with Stockport ready to unload a fairly simple goalbound shot from 15 yards out, Bo sprinted forward and dived bravely to smother the shot. Then - and most impressively - Bo confirmed the comparisons with countryman Schmeichel.

Another period of County pressure, and another short cross floated across the box. A County head went up only a couple of yards out, to bury what really was a certain goal. Showing unbelievable reactions, Bo managed to swing his arm across the block the shot. Schmeichel has performed similar point blank snap saves from close range headers in European ties, for which he has received massive plaudits. It is only right we recognise Bo's effort too, as an absolutely world class save from an almost certain goal.

Stockport's domination seemed to garner little noise or support from their silent supporters, and with the large away support subdued by City's first half struggle, portions of the half were played out to eerie quiet.

At the other end of the pitch, City's only efforts - particularly during one mid first half bright spell of possession (possession really being the key factor all game) were attempted headers from Tinnion and Brennan crosses.

Torpey was dealt with well for the most part, and Andersen, whilst impressive holding the ball up and executing tricks to juggle the ball back and forth away from the attention of opponents, was providing very little passing or end product.

Sebok went close with a header from a corner, whilst Carey ended a good run by being set through on goal, into the box, only to fall under the challenge, but see no sympathy for his penalty claims.

At half time, Stockport could have been in a commanding lead. As it was the game was still tied, and there was all to play for. But whilst City supporters rallied around the team, a demand for Lennartsson and co. to 'sort it out' was in evidence.

And so it was.

The second half seemed to be transformed by what I can only assume was some very astute tactical changes and pointers to their players from both managers. A far more open affair, with both sides appearing to play well to their strengths: Stockport using strength and speed to break quickly and dangerously onto long balls, and City to play steady passing, and then incisive wing interplay to set up chances.

Unfortunately, it became increasingly difficult to appreciate the subtle differences of the second half, due mainly to the fact that we were getting drowned in the away end. That's right - the sky had clouded over at half time, and before the players restarted the heavens opened and sent torrential heavy rain and hail stones down onto the standing uncovered City fans on the away terrace. (And all for the very reasonable figure of £13.. thanks for nothing Stockport).

This wasn't just your average passing spring shower. With supporters soaked to the skin midway through the second half, and rain still falling heavily, we kind of imagined we might be leaving the ground on an Ark.

Strangely, this experience was to work in our favour, as the majority of fans (i.e. everyone but the babies who went and hid behind the shelter of a wall on one of the Stockport stands) decided that instead of standing dripping and shivering, they would raise the volume, and whip up massive support.

Unfortunately, in the opening exchanges of this half, City were still lacklustre, and Stockport eventually took a long overdue lead through Tony Ellis.

This led to some of the most bizarre scenes ever seen, which surely left the home sides passionless support reeling in confusion, as the City setback was greeted by the away support increasing the noise, and bouncing up and down to a chant, led admirably by a couple of bare-chested nutters who saw fit to ignore the weather, and remove their City tops and swing them above their head.

I would imagine that a pub team would need a damn good excuse to not respond to this kind of bewildering and overwhelming backing, and unsurprisingly (once again the 1 goal defecit also a catalyst) City settled into their game and  actually played football.

The ball was stroked around midfield without Stockport getting a look in, and within minutes City had equalised. After a couple of short passes, Brennan found himself breaking into the box from the left, and having skipped past one tackle, had a sight of goal. A striker may have been excused for missing from here, but Brennan seems to be putting in a late run to challenge Akinbiyi for player of the season honours, and fired a perfect low shot past the keeper into the far corner.

Professional photographers who like to capture brilliant and 'artistic' pictures of moments which capture the spirit and emotion of football would have had a field day at this point. Brennan - celebrating his first goal for the club - punched the air and ran towards the 'flooded' away terraces, where supporters were going mental.

Supporters ran, slid and jumped their way forward down the streams that were once terracing, to converge at the side of the pitch and mob Brennan. Players joined in, and any snapshot at this point would have captured the sheer passion and deisre that goes with supporting or playing for Bristol City Football Club.

I won't forget the sight rain-soaked fans looking up at the dark badly overcast sky and punching the air, or of torrents of water splashing and spraying everywhere as supporters released the tension of the poor performance and awful conditions, by mobbing Brennan.

This fired City up more, and the side continued to play brightly, looking for 3points. Tinnion, Brown and Brennan were carving open the left, and Howells was beginning to set the pace of the game, and take control in central midfield. For the first time in the game, City weren't giving away possession, and as a result the defence were not under pressure, and City were able to press forward.

But for all their efforts, the two strikers were getting little change in midfield, and Andersen in particular had clearly run out of ideas and was less and less of a threat with every attack.

Stockport were still dangerous breaking forward off long balls, and it was on one such move that Bo Andersen decided to remind City supporters who it was that had kept us in the game. Stockport worked the ball forward well, and the ball fell to a midfielder 25 yards out who struck the kind of perfect rising spinning shot towards the top left corner that has gone in, every time this season.

In fact for the second time in the match, most supporters were already in 'Oh ****ing hell they've scored' mode, especially with Bo standing closer to the right post.

I think the netting inside the left post was already extending back in anticipation of the goal, when Bo sprung, with absolutely world class reactions, to dive high to his right, and effectively fly through the air, and get a fingertip to what was a perfectly and powerfully hit ball. 1 exceptional save in a game is brilliant. 2 exceptional saves, and it's confirmation that we have a real real talent on our hands.

It didn't matter of course. It was all academic as Stockport went back into the lead anyway. City's pressure and play had dropped again, and on another County attack, from our poor vantage point through rain at the other end of the pitch, it seemed a striker was given far too much time in the box, with very little of help coming from the close attentions of our defence, which ultimately led to the striker rifling the ball past Bo. I didn't have a good view, but Bo had a go at his defenders afterwards (to keep up his excellent impression of Schmeichel) so I imagine they were somewhat at fault.

For the most part, this was curl up and die time. Rain sheeting down, City have gone behind again, and basically just another kick in the teeth in such a horrible season. We gloomily reflected, that as with everything else that passed since kick off, we'd be more than happy with a point.

But City weren't done. Some more bright and enterprising play, and then Tinnion fired home his second in seven days. The continuing downpour, and the shivering blurred this goal in my memory, but it was another smart and well excuted finish, which was again greeted by explosive celebrations, which included Cramb, in substitutes tracksuit, a long way onto the pitch, and confirming to us that he still holds the club in very high regards.

For the first time in the game, 3 points became a possibility, a hope, and the players certainly proved they were up for it too. Tinnion and Brennan continued to link up well, and the space that opened up on the pitch was in sharp contrast to the first half. City were able to pass the ball across midfield from one wing to the other, and construct well worked moves.

Unfortunately the ease in which this was happening led to several lazy passes which lost possession, but on the whole, City were threatening strongly for the first time in the game.

Andersen and Brown were withdrawn for Goodridge, and the very popular introduction of Cramb. But for a few moments of worry at the other end (not helped by Carey continuing an awful performance of positioning and awareness) City played brightly for the final moments of the game, but found that but for the enterprise of Tinnion, Brennan, Howells and Locke, the final chance was often snuffed out, and final balls were being cut out.

Cramb was roaming around deep on the wings and in midfield, eagerly looking for possession, and to link up the attack, and there was a good reminder of Cramb’s abilities as he collected the ball with his back to goal in midfield, and then rampaged forward, leading his teammates forward into the box.

Goodridge had a few bright moments very late on, breaking in from the wing, and getting down to the edge of the area. Unfortunately this left the ball all too often on his un-favoured left foot, and he chose to pass more often than not, which did keep up City's late run of possession, but rarely threatened.

The final action of note was another strong City attack, and the ball finding its way to Goodridge at an acute angle 15 yards out from goal towards the right wing. The keeper was just off his line, with half a mind on the City attackers near him, and there was a small gap for a difficult shot inside the keeper at the near post. It was a chance, but Goodridge fired high and wide of the target, when he should have at least forced the keeper to make a save.

So the 3 points that was very much the target at kick off, was again the target when the final whistle of another strangely long injury time period blew, but in the end it was a point won, a point that we would have been happy with on the balance of play for most of the game.

A word for the match officials, and in particular two absolutely awful linesman. Lennartsson was consistently furious with them for a never-ending series of bewildering decisions, awarding throw ins the wrong way, failing to see clear handballs, a typical selection of impossible offside decisions, and an inability to inform the referee of incidents they had a clear view of.

In addition, the lack of consistency from the referee, and his eagerness to book City players, but not their counterparts, was also confusing. Within a second half minute, Brown was booked for barging an opponent out of the way and sending him sprawling, and seconds later an identical incident happened in reverse at the other end, leaving Locke lieing against an advertising hoarding, but nothing was done.

The game also threatened to boil over on several occasions in the second half. First a confrontation resulted in a Stockport defender lashing out at Torpey. Torpey walked away, with the culprit talking to the referee. But the referee called Torpey across, and gave both a talking too. How the defender escaped a booking only the referee knows.

Then, more seriously, an Andersen run was curtailed by a defender, it was unclear what happened, but the defender seemed to blatantly lash out at Andersen - this was certainly the opinion of everyone I was with. Players converged, Locke particularly aggrieved, and Torpey came across, more than anything else I thought, to break up the players. The end result was that Torpey was booked, and nothing for anyone else. The linesman had a clear view of this, and was rightly on the end of some serious anger from a very animated Lennartsson.

On the day, it was certainly a point gained, but on reflection at the standard of opposition, it was worrying that we so struggled for much of the game and failed to take any more than the single point. Whilst current form is good, with seemingly tougher fixtures ahead, it will need another step up in performances if we are going to get out of what still worrying seems to be a very difficult task ahead.

In other words, there was further display of City's new found grit and determination today, but in the end analysis, I'm less optimistic than I was this time last week.

 

Andersen 10 - Several superb saves. Put simply, if not for his saves, we could have lost by several goals

Brennan 9 - What can you say about him. Class. Absolute class. His foray forward from which he scored, was one of many, he was always lively and dangerous, he linked up well with Tinnion, he tested the keeper with a free kick, and as a defender, there was the small matter of outpacing and tackling opponents, and clearing danger. I don't know what he's on, but I'd love some!

Carey 5 - Very poor. I have never believed him a capable right back, and here was further proof. Slow to react, and poor positioning let him down

Taylor 6 - Some good moments, but for Taylor an untypically below par showing

Sebok 6 - Clearly an excellent player (one exceptional first half tackle outside the box) but not always applying the necessary power to his accurate clearances. To be fair, he was struggling with Carey in his quarter of the pitch, but a generally solid performance

Locke 6 - An average game from Locke. There wasn't too much of note, but his usual steady contribution

Howells 6 - A mixture of lazy passes and anonymity in the first half, until City started playing, when he controlled the pace of the game, and kept possession and passing flowing with sensible and assured play

Brown 6 - Another average performance. Some moments of youthful enterprise and good balance, and also some moments of reluctance to get stuck in, and carelessness with possession. (sub Goodridge)

Tinnion 7 - Wasn't always hitting the right notes with his passing, fairly careless and wasteful, but an integral part of our left wing production line, and a well taken goal

Torpey 6 - His best moment was an unbelievable goalline clearance that had the crowd singing his name. Only a certain amount of hold up play, and his much vaunted value against Stockport with height transpired to be very little, and very inneffective. As a target man, he was always a threat, but was never truly dangerous, and never really tested the keeper

Andersen 6 - Good control and hold up play, but no idea what to do with the ball, how to pass, and his good intentions usually ended up dwelling on the ball and losing posession. Not direct or quick enough. Benny obviously had half time words, because he started passing wide to Tinnion in the second half, but generally he was getting no change from the big physical defenders. (sub Cramb)

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Fair play ole. Even in these tough football free times it's still hard to get interested in a bottom of Division 2 clash from 11 years ago. Good try though.

We went down that season if I recall correctly and Stockport scraped clear on the final day and were relegated the following yr. Sorry if you mentioned this as I got bored after the first two paragraphs. 

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I was there too. Still got the rain damaged programme somewhere.  Remember there was a Labour Club I think right by the away end. We were made very welcome there for a few pre-match pints. Locals were really friendly.

Will always remember someone in the away end saying the gathering clouds were just ‘fishing clouds’, a phrase me and the Mrs still use now when it’s about to proper piss down. Absolute scenes when we got it back to 2-2

Thanks for bringing back the memories

 

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4 minutes ago, MrBibs said:

I was there too. Still got the rain damaged programme somewhere.  Remember there was a Labour Club I think right by the away end. We were made very welcome there for a few pre-match pints. Locals were really friendly.

Will always remember someone in the away end saying the gathering clouds were just ‘fishing clouds’, a phrase me and the Mrs still use now when it’s about to proper piss down. Absolute scenes when we got it back to 2-2

Thanks for bringing back the memories

 

Remember waiting for the players afterwards. We were in a relegation fight and 

Jim Brennan asked me “how did such and such a team get on?”  Can’t remember the team, but they won and Jimbo was gutted. 

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I was there that day, too, sat along the side of the pitch in the grandstand. My first visit to Edgeley Park and one of the friendliest away grounds I’ve ever been to. 

Can’t remember who scored the goals that day, but I do recall one save Bo Andersen made flying to his right to keep a rasping strike from distance out of the top corner. Absolutely top drawer. 

Phillips was No.1 for most of that season, so Bo didn’t get a crack of the whip until we were all but down towards the end of the season. Possibly after Phillips let in a ridiculous own goal at Wolves a few earlier when the ball bobbled over his foot on a beach of a pitch. 

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The Rain. The Rain. Why didn't you mention the rain?  I'm still wringing out my socks from that day.  If there had been a Newcastle fan there, he would have asked for a coat.

And that Bo Anderson save, second half!  I'm happy to say that was not the best save I've ever seen from a City keeper.  It was the best save I've ever seen!!

Only problem with the report is that you forgot to mention the planes in the first half (before the rain - did I mention the rain?).  Watching them coming in to land at Manchester was the highlight of the first half.

 

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1 hour ago, Chivs said:

The Rain. The Rain. Why didn't you mention the rain?  I'm still wringing out my socks from that day.  If there had been a Newcastle fan there, he would have asked for a coat.

And that Bo Anderson save, second half!  I'm happy to say that was not the best save I've ever seen from a City keeper.  It was the best save I've ever seen!!

Only problem with the report is that you forgot to mention the planes in the first half (before the rain - did I mention the rain?).  Watching them coming in to land at Manchester was the highlight of the first half.

 

I raise you Keith Waugh’s wrong handed save from Milton Graham (Chester C) at AG 1987.  12-15 yards out, Graham struck a thunder-bastard of a shot that Waugh, going to his left, turned away with a strong right hand. 0-0 at the time, big Trev Morgan heading home late on for a 1-0 win.

 

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On 21/03/2020 at 17:44, havanatopia said:

Fair play ole. Even in these tough football free times it's still hard to get interested in a bottom of Division 2 clash from 11 years ago. Good try though.

We went down that season if I recall correctly and Stockport scraped clear on the final day and were relegated the following yr. Sorry if you mentioned this as I got bored after the first two paragraphs. 

Since then City have reached 7th in the Championship (League Div 2 as we old 'uns still think) whilst  Stockport are currently 7th in the National League.

 

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I was there - soaked to the skin! Bought some mushy peas in their little hut at half time - they served me before gleefully telling me that there were no wooden knives or forks left - so I simply bought a Twix and scooped up my mushy peas using one of the heavenly chocolate ‘sticks’ - up there for thinking, down there for dancin’ ...

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On 21/03/2020 at 18:38, Olé said:

[Evening quarantine fans. Back in the early days of the internet there were some City fans who communicated via an email group and that's where I first started posting despatches from the odd away game - mainly to return the favour for others who did the same when I couldn't afford it or had been banned by my mum. By the power of old VHS tapes and internet archives, I've recreated the day for you (minus the alcohol) with both the TV highlights and my actual email from the day - proving once and for all my reports bare no relation to what actually happens.]

At the start of the match, 3 points was our expectation and hope, and in the closing stages of the game it was also very much our target. But that badly underestimates what went between. To be perfectly honest, for most of the game City fans would have taken a point if it had been offered. And if it wasn't for Jim Brennan and Bo Andersen being in exceptional form, even a point would have been way out of reach.

A large away support filled Stockport's uncovered terraced end, whilst more City fans took their seats in the main stand away to our right. Although it is hard to believe from what followed, the game kicked off in bright sunshine...

The main source of amusement pre-match was that the home side had hired pop-rap combo East 17 to do a spot of work on the turf in the away end penalty area. (You had to be there…). City fans were ominously silent pregame, but then erupted at kick off (punctuated by a well respected minutes silence for Hillsborough) to fill the ground with noise, and shame the embarrassingly silent home fans.

There isn't really much that can be said about the first half. Neither side played particularly attractive football, but to say City were flattered to go in at half time with a 0-0 draw was an understatement. Stockport - a strong physical quick to break side - could quite easily have been several goals ahead by the interval, against a woefully lacklustre City side, who did have ideas, but were struggling badly to put them into effect, not least because the striking partnership of Torpey and Andersen was well shackled by the County central defence.

A run through of the early action is difficult, because it remains a nasty blur in my mind. City were struggling to get the ball through midfield, and Torpey's height advantage was of no value in the first half against huge defenders.

At the back City defended very nervously, and very slow and un-assuredly. Even Taylor was making mistakes, and Sebok, although wonderfully gifted, was frustrating with cultured - but effectively weak - clearances.

The prime culprit (for much of the game in fact) was Louis Carey, who - as is surely now obvious - is not a right back. He's a great central defender, but on the right his hesitancy, pace and reactions are badly exposed. His positioning is also very poor, which allowed Stockport to get around him with little difficulty and get the ball into the box.

Sebok was working flat out to cover for Carey's mistakes, which pulled him out of the middle, and opened more holes for Stockport. All this added up to far too much possession for Stockport. Several easy chances were spurned by the Stockport strikers, blazing high, wide, left, right, and anywhere but the goal. Tony Ellis was most guilty, with only the keeper to beat, he launched a shot over the away end.

City's poor clearances kept the pressure on, and there were a series of nerve jangling penalty area scrambles, where the mystery of Stockport's failiure to score was almost of X-Files proportions.

In one incident, a minute long pinball session inside the City 6 yard box had somehow failed to deliver a goal, when a decisive shot was made. As it headed low over the line towards the bottom right, Torpey somehow (and I emphasise somehow because it was a miracle) managed to slide in and hook the ball up and over the bar. The basic laws of maths, physics, trajectories, trigonometry etc. went out the window as the striker managed to change the ball's direction by 90 degrees up into the air, and send it behind and out for a corner.

But even this first half magic was surpassed by Bo Andersen, who had an absolute stormer. First, with Stockport ready to unload a fairly simple goalbound shot from 15 yards out, Bo sprinted forward and dived bravely to smother the shot. Then - and most impressively - Bo confirmed the comparisons with countryman Schmeichel.

Another period of County pressure, and another short cross floated across the box. A County head went up only a couple of yards out, to bury what really was a certain goal. Showing unbelievable reactions, Bo managed to swing his arm across the block the shot. Schmeichel has performed similar point blank snap saves from close range headers in European ties, for which he has received massive plaudits. It is only right we recognise Bo's effort too, as an absolutely world class save from an almost certain goal.

Stockport's domination seemed to garner little noise or support from their silent supporters, and with the large away support subdued by City's first half struggle, portions of the half were played out to eerie quiet.

At the other end of the pitch, City's only efforts - particularly during one mid first half bright spell of possession (possession really being the key factor all game) were attempted headers from Tinnion and Brennan crosses.

Torpey was dealt with well for the most part, and Andersen, whilst impressive holding the ball up and executing tricks to juggle the ball back and forth away from the attention of opponents, was providing very little passing or end product.

Sebok went close with a header from a corner, whilst Carey ended a good run by being set through on goal, into the box, only to fall under the challenge, but see no sympathy for his penalty claims.

At half time, Stockport could have been in a commanding lead. As it was the game was still tied, and there was all to play for. But whilst City supporters rallied around the team, a demand for Lennartsson and co. to 'sort it out' was in evidence.

And so it was.

The second half seemed to be transformed by what I can only assume was some very astute tactical changes and pointers to their players from both managers. A far more open affair, with both sides appearing to play well to their strengths: Stockport using strength and speed to break quickly and dangerously onto long balls, and City to play steady passing, and then incisive wing interplay to set up chances.

Unfortunately, it became increasingly difficult to appreciate the subtle differences of the second half, due mainly to the fact that we were getting drowned in the away end. That's right - the sky had clouded over at half time, and before the players restarted the heavens opened and sent torrential heavy rain and hail stones down onto the standing uncovered City fans on the away terrace. (And all for the very reasonable figure of £13.. thanks for nothing Stockport).

This wasn't just your average passing spring shower. With supporters soaked to the skin midway through the second half, and rain still falling heavily, we kind of imagined we might be leaving the ground on an Ark.

Strangely, this experience was to work in our favour, as the majority of fans (i.e. everyone but the babies who went and hid behind the shelter of a wall on one of the Stockport stands) decided that instead of standing dripping and shivering, they would raise the volume, and whip up massive support.

Unfortunately, in the opening exchanges of this half, City were still lacklustre, and Stockport eventually took a long overdue lead through Tony Ellis.

This led to some of the most bizarre scenes ever seen, which surely left the home sides passionless support reeling in confusion, as the City setback was greeted by the away support increasing the noise, and bouncing up and down to a chant, led admirably by a couple of bare-chested nutters who saw fit to ignore the weather, and remove their City tops and swing them above their head.

I would imagine that a pub team would need a damn good excuse to not respond to this kind of bewildering and overwhelming backing, and unsurprisingly (once again the 1 goal defecit also a catalyst) City settled into their game and  actually played football.

The ball was stroked around midfield without Stockport getting a look in, and within minutes City had equalised. After a couple of short passes, Brennan found himself breaking into the box from the left, and having skipped past one tackle, had a sight of goal. A striker may have been excused for missing from here, but Brennan seems to be putting in a late run to challenge Akinbiyi for player of the season honours, and fired a perfect low shot past the keeper into the far corner.

Professional photographers who like to capture brilliant and 'artistic' pictures of moments which capture the spirit and emotion of football would have had a field day at this point. Brennan - celebrating his first goal for the club - punched the air and ran towards the 'flooded' away terraces, where supporters were going mental.

Supporters ran, slid and jumped their way forward down the streams that were once terracing, to converge at the side of the pitch and mob Brennan. Players joined in, and any snapshot at this point would have captured the sheer passion and deisre that goes with supporting or playing for Bristol City Football Club.

I won't forget the sight rain-soaked fans looking up at the dark badly overcast sky and punching the air, or of torrents of water splashing and spraying everywhere as supporters released the tension of the poor performance and awful conditions, by mobbing Brennan.

This fired City up more, and the side continued to play brightly, looking for 3points. Tinnion, Brown and Brennan were carving open the left, and Howells was beginning to set the pace of the game, and take control in central midfield. For the first time in the game, City weren't giving away possession, and as a result the defence were not under pressure, and City were able to press forward.

But for all their efforts, the two strikers were getting little change in midfield, and Andersen in particular had clearly run out of ideas and was less and less of a threat with every attack.

Stockport were still dangerous breaking forward off long balls, and it was on one such move that Bo Andersen decided to remind City supporters who it was that had kept us in the game. Stockport worked the ball forward well, and the ball fell to a midfielder 25 yards out who struck the kind of perfect rising spinning shot towards the top left corner that has gone in, every time this season.

In fact for the second time in the match, most supporters were already in 'Oh ****ing hell they've scored' mode, especially with Bo standing closer to the right post.

I think the netting inside the left post was already extending back in anticipation of the goal, when Bo sprung, with absolutely world class reactions, to dive high to his right, and effectively fly through the air, and get a fingertip to what was a perfectly and powerfully hit ball. 1 exceptional save in a game is brilliant. 2 exceptional saves, and it's confirmation that we have a real real talent on our hands.

It didn't matter of course. It was all academic as Stockport went back into the lead anyway. City's pressure and play had dropped again, and on another County attack, from our poor vantage point through rain at the other end of the pitch, it seemed a striker was given far too much time in the box, with very little of help coming from the close attentions of our defence, which ultimately led to the striker rifling the ball past Bo. I didn't have a good view, but Bo had a go at his defenders afterwards (to keep up his excellent impression of Schmeichel) so I imagine they were somewhat at fault.

For the most part, this was curl up and die time. Rain sheeting down, City have gone behind again, and basically just another kick in the teeth in such a horrible season. We gloomily reflected, that as with everything else that passed since kick off, we'd be more than happy with a point.

But City weren't done. Some more bright and enterprising play, and then Tinnion fired home his second in seven days. The continuing downpour, and the shivering blurred this goal in my memory, but it was another smart and well excuted finish, which was again greeted by explosive celebrations, which included Cramb, in substitutes tracksuit, a long way onto the pitch, and confirming to us that he still holds the club in very high regards.

For the first time in the game, 3 points became a possibility, a hope, and the players certainly proved they were up for it too. Tinnion and Brennan continued to link up well, and the space that opened up on the pitch was in sharp contrast to the first half. City were able to pass the ball across midfield from one wing to the other, and construct well worked moves.

Unfortunately the ease in which this was happening led to several lazy passes which lost possession, but on the whole, City were threatening strongly for the first time in the game.

Andersen and Brown were withdrawn for Goodridge, and the very popular introduction of Cramb. But for a few moments of worry at the other end (not helped by Carey continuing an awful performance of positioning and awareness) City played brightly for the final moments of the game, but found that but for the enterprise of Tinnion, Brennan, Howells and Locke, the final chance was often snuffed out, and final balls were being cut out.

Cramb was roaming around deep on the wings and in midfield, eagerly looking for possession, and to link up the attack, and there was a good reminder of Cramb’s abilities as he collected the ball with his back to goal in midfield, and then rampaged forward, leading his teammates forward into the box.

Goodridge had a few bright moments very late on, breaking in from the wing, and getting down to the edge of the area. Unfortunately this left the ball all too often on his un-favoured left foot, and he chose to pass more often than not, which did keep up City's late run of possession, but rarely threatened.

The final action of note was another strong City attack, and the ball finding its way to Goodridge at an acute angle 15 yards out from goal towards the right wing. The keeper was just off his line, with half a mind on the City attackers near him, and there was a small gap for a difficult shot inside the keeper at the near post. It was a chance, but Goodridge fired high and wide of the target, when he should have at least forced the keeper to make a save.

So the 3 points that was very much the target at kick off, was again the target when the final whistle of another strangely long injury time period blew, but in the end it was a point won, a point that we would have been happy with on the balance of play for most of the game.

A word for the match officials, and in particular two absolutely awful linesman. Lennartsson was consistently furious with them for a never-ending series of bewildering decisions, awarding throw ins the wrong way, failing to see clear handballs, a typical selection of impossible offside decisions, and an inability to inform the referee of incidents they had a clear view of.

In addition, the lack of consistency from the referee, and his eagerness to book City players, but not their counterparts, was also confusing. Within a second half minute, Brown was booked for barging an opponent out of the way and sending him sprawling, and seconds later an identical incident happened in reverse at the other end, leaving Locke lieing against an advertising hoarding, but nothing was done.

The game also threatened to boil over on several occasions in the second half. First a confrontation resulted in a Stockport defender lashing out at Torpey. Torpey walked away, with the culprit talking to the referee. But the referee called Torpey across, and gave both a talking too. How the defender escaped a booking only the referee knows.

Then, more seriously, an Andersen run was curtailed by a defender, it was unclear what happened, but the defender seemed to blatantly lash out at Andersen - this was certainly the opinion of everyone I was with. Players converged, Locke particularly aggrieved, and Torpey came across, more than anything else I thought, to break up the players. The end result was that Torpey was booked, and nothing for anyone else. The linesman had a clear view of this, and was rightly on the end of some serious anger from a very animated Lennartsson.

On the day, it was certainly a point gained, but on reflection at the standard of opposition, it was worrying that we so struggled for much of the game and failed to take any more than the single point. Whilst current form is good, with seemingly tougher fixtures ahead, it will need another step up in performances if we are going to get out of what still worrying seems to be a very difficult task ahead.

In other words, there was further display of City's new found grit and determination today, but in the end analysis, I'm less optimistic than I was this time last week.

 

Andersen 10 - Several superb saves. Put simply, if not for his saves, we could have lost by several goals

Brennan 9 - What can you say about him. Class. Absolute class. His foray forward from which he scored, was one of many, he was always lively and dangerous, he linked up well with Tinnion, he tested the keeper with a free kick, and as a defender, there was the small matter of outpacing and tackling opponents, and clearing danger. I don't know what he's on, but I'd love some!

Carey 5 - Very poor. I have never believed him a capable right back, and here was further proof. Slow to react, and poor positioning let him down

Taylor 6 - Some good moments, but for Taylor an untypically below par showing

Sebok 6 - Clearly an excellent player (one exceptional first half tackle outside the box) but not always applying the necessary power to his accurate clearances. To be fair, he was struggling with Carey in his quarter of the pitch, but a generally solid performance

Locke 6 - An average game from Locke. There wasn't too much of note, but his usual steady contribution

Howells 6 - A mixture of lazy passes and anonymity in the first half, until City started playing, when he controlled the pace of the game, and kept possession and passing flowing with sensible and assured play

Brown 6 - Another average performance. Some moments of youthful enterprise and good balance, and also some moments of reluctance to get stuck in, and carelessness with possession. (sub Goodridge)

Tinnion 7 - Wasn't always hitting the right notes with his passing, fairly careless and wasteful, but an integral part of our left wing production line, and a well taken goal

Torpey 6 - His best moment was an unbelievable goalline clearance that had the crowd singing his name. Only a certain amount of hold up play, and his much vaunted value against Stockport with height transpired to be very little, and very inneffective. As a target man, he was always a threat, but was never truly dangerous, and never really tested the keeper

Andersen 6 - Good control and hold up play, but no idea what to do with the ball, how to pass, and his good intentions usually ended up dwelling on the ball and losing posession. Not direct or quick enough. Benny obviously had half time words, because he started passing wide to Tinnion in the second half, but generally he was getting no change from the big physical defenders. (sub Cramb)

Johnson out :protest:

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6 hours ago, BS4 on Tour... said:

I was there - soaked to the skin! Bought some mushy peas in their little hut at half time - they served me before gleefully telling me that there were no wooden knives or forks left - so I simply bought a Twix and scooped up my mushy peas using one of the heavenly chocolate ‘sticks’ - up there for thinking, down there for dancin’ ...

They certainly had a choice of different flavoured pies for sale, glad I didn’t want peas with one! 

6 hours ago, 'Orns said:

Another one for the 'I was there' gang!

God, it was wet

April showers!

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