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Bristol City 0 Watford 0 (11/03/2008) 12/03/2008

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from Ashton Gate:

1- A good point or a bad point?  Time will tell.  Given their home record, a good point.  Given the circumstances and missed opportunities (not just the pen), not so great.  Need a win Saturday.

2- As at Ipswich, painfully lazy casting as the good guys (Bristol, artists, “proper footballers”) and bad guys (Watford, long ball cloggers) skates over the fact that Bristol’s second half attacks amounted to little more than getting Dele Adebola to jump at Richard Lee for hopeful, swirling balls.

3-  A decent night’s work for the referee on the whole.  But you have to wonder why he bothered to warn players about encroachment at the penalty given that he ignored the fact that Doris was practically hooker in a rugby scrum (of both sets of players) by the time he took the kick.

4- Collins John fizzed for about twenty minutes, then fizzled out.  These must be serious fitness issues.

5- Full marks to the gentleman in the bottom row behind the corner flag for asking the stretching Poom and Demerit to “get out of the way” so that he could continue to see very little of the game, to the amusement of all including the adjacent Lee Trundle.


1. Wrighty - 12/03/2008

That’s 3 times in the last 4 games Mariappa has been substituted. What’s occurring there then?

2. Matt Rowson - 12/03/2008

I wouldn’t read too much into it. Last night he’d been booked, and then had a talking to… he’d played well, and went on one surge through the middle that was as fun as it was inconsequential. But his lack of physique is occasionally a problem… Demerit actually played right back last night, not Bromby, as I saw it to counter the threat of Adebola cutting in from the left

I wasn’t at Burnley, but against Preston it was just about bringing on someone else who would attack the box at set pieces I think.

3. Tim Turner - 12/03/2008

I know Lloyd Doyley had a bad run, but IMO we’ve missed him since he was summarily dropped. He and Smithy had a good understanding on the right wing which I haven’t seen much evidence of since Mariappa took over, and which has sometimes led to Smithy getting less of the ball than he ought to. And as you say, Matt, Mariappa is a bit on the puny side.

I know he’s a promising defender, but he’s still a work in progress. I don’t really understand what Doyley (a strong candidate for Player of the Season up to Christmas) has done to deserve being shut out of the matchday squad entirely.

4. Esp - 12/03/2008

A good point I think Matt and I will officially shut up about Collins John until I see something approaching class – but as you generously pointed out there could be a fitness issue a criticism that couldn’t be levelled at Ellington. Is there a “Strikers R Us” shop we could buy one from for the run in?

Eustace, Lee and the ever reliable Smith were the pick of the crop for me

City will see that as 2 points dropped and the others’ inconsistency is the fact that will probablyu save us from dropping out of the play off positions.

After that performance which the OS described as “Entertaining and tumultuous” am I allowed to reinstate my claim of last week that we will miss automatic promotion?

WBA and City ARE better teams, Fact.

5. Dave Jackson - 12/03/2008

Can anyone who was at Ashton Gate explain why our lads seemed so reluctant to cross the ball when given a chance. Instead of the “first time” option they would often take an extra touch or more and the opportunity would be lost.
Or was it just me being too critical?

6. billyo - 12/03/2008

Agreed, about point two. Disappointing to read all this mornings press continue with that awful stereotype. We aimlessly lumped the ball forward last night for the final twenty minutes, but so did City, arguably with less success. Both teams were so scared of losing it made for one of the worst periods of football I’ve ever seen.

7. Simon - 13/03/2008

Although I agree that the stereotyping has become rather boring, I do think that our style has moved more in that direction over the last few weeks. I appreciate that we’re very hard to beat and also that it’s not easy to suddenly change style but against Norwich and again against City there wasn’t an awful lot of football on show.

Obviously I take the point that the purpose of the game is to win but I can’t help but feel we’ve become rather one dimentional (knock long ball, battle for it, win throw, lob it into the box) and lack a bit of spark. A lot of the time I get the impression that we don’t “create” chances so much as we put the ball in the box enough that it will sometimes drop in the right area (for example the chance at the end of the first half on Tuesday). We look a much more threatening when we mix things up a bit (it’s no great surprise that two of the chances we did create on Tuesday came from Henderson’s excellent reverse pass leading to the penalty and a passing move in the second half that led to O’Toole’s backheel).

8. Matt Rowson - 13/03/2008

I felt the same after Norwich Simon, but not on Tuesday. You cite two very good examples of us “mixing it up”, they weren’t the only examples. It didn’t always work of course, but Tuesday’s repertoire was more varied than it has been.

9. Arpee - 13/03/2008

We seem to revert to the long ball when we run out of ideas, or run out of energy.

You mention the Norwich game as not having much football on display – I have to say I thought the first half had some quite exciting and flowing passages of play. Granted, the second half was dull and unimaginative – but the first half saw some good football.

10. Nick B - 13/03/2008

I think one issue is that, with the table as close as it is, Aidy can’t quite decide whether to stick or twist in the second half of games.

Sheff Utd sticks in my craw, as they were there for the taking, even though we were below strength. Bristol was another example and I think you can throw in the last two home games as well, at least up to a point (no pun meant).

It probably goes back to the home game against Bristol, where we went totally gung ho after a late winner following JJ’s equaliser. A point there would make things look a fair bit different now. Guess you can see where he’s coming from, but feel we have to now go for it all guns blazing or we’ll crawl into 3rd or 4th.

11. Mark - 13/03/2008

Any idea why we went defensive in the 2nd half…not a bad point though IF we win on Saturday which is a must.

12. DM - 13/03/2008

Good point Nick B, that’s one of the most sensible WFC related comments I’ve read for a long time. The Norwich game is a case in point.. after an hour it was clear that the visitors had gained the upper hand and that we needed to switch things about to tilt the game back in our favour. It’s not the only time it’s happened, either.

Whether it goes back to the psychological blow of that late Bristol City winner or not, only the team could tell you. That game was early enough in the poor home run for the fear of conceding a sucker punch to have been a factor on other occasions where a good, postitive change from the bench, and not just switching like for like players, might have gained us a few more points. Food for thought.

ESP, it is not a fact that Bristol City and WBA are better teams. It’s your opinion. Only when 46 games have been played can you truly say either team is better than us.

13. Greg - 13/03/2008

I doubt it very much that Collins John will be are saviour in the goals as Hendo and Ellington are looking completely useless in front of goal and Henderson seems to be only to score in the 6 yard box.

Without a proven goal scorer I think 4th spot is ours and then I doubt we will get through those so we need desperately for any forward(maybe Kabba) to get us a few goals to keep us pushing for the automatic promotion places.

14. Hornetboy84 - 13/03/2008

Re: Stick or Twist.

We can afford to TWIST to our hearts content when we are playing teams outside the top 4.

We are probably safe for at least the play-offs and risking a defeat (by going all or bust for a win) vs. Plymouth or Hull is okay …. but you cant risk it vs. Bristol and possibly STOKE tomorrow – as a point keeps it tight (game in hand) but losing is the proverbial 6-point impact!

I hold that we will accelerate through the last games and sneak up .. ahead of WBA.

15. Matt Rowson - 14/03/2008

Mark, we were being overrun in midfield, we needed an extra body in there. The extra man worked, too… City never looked dangerous again, and whereas we lost potency as well we did have the better of the second half chances.

16. Esp - 14/03/2008

dave wrote: ” Only when 46 games have been played can you truly say either team is better than us.

Absolutely right Dave; I should have wrote imho!! I still don’t think we will get an automatic promotion place and I think Johnson is a very underrated manager

Point taken though!

17. Matt Rowson - 14/03/2008

How can he be underrated Paul? Everyone’s going on about what an astonishing job he’s done with City! Not that they’re wrong, but he’s underrated BEFORE he has the outrageous success, not after. That Cristiano Ronaldo, now he IS underrated…

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