Bristol City fan's view with Matthew Withers
SEAN O'Driscoll has instilled a real belief in his Bristol City team and that left me this week feeling nothing but pride. A good point last weekend away at Blackpool along with a clean sheet was decent but I have to say that with games against Brighton and Middlesborough to follow, I felt that the Blackpool game was our best chance for a win. I got that wrong.
The performance against Middlesbrough on Saturday was excellent. I think the signing of Brendan Maloney has been a major factor behind our improved form. We now have two full-backs that can first of all defend, but can also get forward and provide support in the final third.
Boro' have been in and around the play-offs all season, but haven't done too well since the start of the year and their away form has not been great.
Neil Kilkenny and Steven Davies were recalled to the starting line-up. Kilkenny has undoubted ability, but for me plays sideways and backwards too much and also hands off his man to a teammate.
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Credit where credit is due though, he played a beautiful sweeping pass out wide to Albert Adomah who controlled the ball and attacked his full-back and curled a brilliant shot into the top left hand corner of the net. Killkenny was also responsible for the initial pass that led to Davies doubling the lead.
This team is chalk and cheese from that of only a couple of months ago.
Confidence is a massive thing in any walk of life and especially sport, but O'Driscoll now has the team organised and doing all of the basics right. Marvin Elliott has had a new lease of life and has been in the running for man-of-the-match in both home games. Liam Kelly has been superb and just runs and runs and runs. The former Kilmarnock player is showing a real appetite for the ball and is becoming a fans' favourite.
I think both Lewin Nyatanga and Liam Fontaine are right at the top of their game at the moment.
It was great to see Adomah back in the side and he showed one quality finish, but also ran his socks off. One other unsung hero was Stephen Pearson. He has gone about his business and is key to the organised shape that O'Driscoll wants his team to have. Five points out of nine is not a bad return for the week, especially when you consider we were playing two teams fighting for a play-off place. You can sense that the fans believe we can shut sides out and with the firepower we have we are always likely to create opportunities. Those five points have kept City in the hunt for survival and they have to maintain this hard to beat attitude.
Fans were streaming out of the ground after both games with smiles on their faces and a real belief that we now have a team up for the fight.