Bristol City fan's view by Matthew Withers
WE saw the best and the worst of Sean O'Driscoll's City side at home to Barnsley. The Robins scored five goals and could easily have had another two or three, but they also conceded three and would have conceded more but for a couple of superb saves from Tom Heaton.
The other key man was Jon Stead, who gave his all in a man-of-the match display, possibly his best in a City shirt.
The striker had stressed the importance of the match in the days leading up to the game and he produced a performance that was full of running, endeavour, determination and heart. Stead was a constant menace and kept the tempo of the team going – and the popular front-man was rewarded with two goals.
We have to take the positives out of the game and the most important thing on Saturday was the three points. A couple of clubs have games in hand on us, but at this stage of the season it's all about the points.
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Liam Fontaine and Lewin Nyatanga again started at the heart of the City defence and it seems as though they are starting to understand each other's game better. I think when both concentrate on winning the first ball and then giving it to the full-backs or midfielders, they are more effective. I was pleased to see both get on the scoresheet and you could see what it meant to them.
Full-backs Brendan Maloney and Greg Cunningham are comfortable on the ball, can play at pace and provide a threat going forward. Liam Kelly is starting to find his feet in the centre of midfield and will, I'm sure, prove to be an astute signing. Marvin Elliott again worked hard, although I would like to see him play things just a little quicker.
The two wide players, Paul Anderson and Stephen Pearson, may not have the dynamism of Albert Adomah, but both are solid and perhaps give a more organised feel to the side, which is what O'Driscoll is after.
I was a little surprised that after seeing City score five goals from set-pieces, the manager said that they were not something they practised. O'Driscoll revealed that the players work on their movement, but not on the actual routines. Whatever, they worked well on Saturday.
I thought that when City scored their fourth goal O'Driscoll should have made a couple of changes. I would have brought on Brian Howard in the centre of midfield for Elliott and Wes Burns or Adomah up front for Steven Davies. Howard requires some game-time and Burns needs the experience; instead, Kelly was replaced by Neil Kilkenny and Anderson gave way to Adomah.
The game changed completely and we went from being in total control to hanging on. It was a shame and took the gloss of a good performance. We have to keep this winning run at Ashton Gate going, but also pick up some points away.