Football / Bristol City

‘A narrow victory’

By Dave Skinner , Thursday Jan 19, 2017

We won. 
At last, and it really was an ‘at last’. City had not won since December 3rd 2017. Since our 2-0 home victory over Ipswich Town. That is a full 45 days. I’ll just let figure sink in for a moment or two….
Right, so. Let’s hope that this is the corner (and not the 0-0 draw home to Fleetwood that some were suggesting) that has now been turned. The change of direction that me and all other long suffering City fans have been aching for.
In those forty-five days since City last tasted victory they have just feasted on defeats. Gauged you might even say. Specifically defeats by a one goal margin. Incredibly, all seven of those record making loses were by the odd goal.
The fact that City have been losing by the odd goal, and not by three or four, must have played a large part as to why Lee Johnson has kept hold of his job. I am still, just about, in support of this decision. The Cardiff match however did test even the most ardent of Johnson supporters.
To throw away a lead, with fifteen minutes to go, for the second home league in a succession, and to lose 3-2, also for successive games, was, as expressed above, a real test of patience and will for the eighteen thousand plus City fans that were in attendance for both matches.
Both games left City fans asking many questions of both the team and its boss. My main concerns stem from our lack of ability to see out games. We have had a long running problem when it comes to conceding last minute goals, but we’ve managed to exacerbate that fact and are now throwing away even the slightest of commanding positions that we might have haphazardly found ourselves in. 
That was until, of course, Tuesday. A narrow 1-0 victory over a side from the league below does not however paper over the cracks that have been widening for the last few months. 
It would appear however that Johnson has at least settled on a formation. Back to the old 3-5-2 days of Cotterill, although the personnel have changed drastically from this time last year. 
Lee Tomlin does not seem to fit into Johnson’s current plans and hasn’t started for the club in recent games. I think he would suit our new formation well, playing in the hole, behind the two strikers, but who knows what is going on. 
Rumours are rife of a bust-up between him and Johnson. The disagreements may go beyond just those two, but this is to be expected when you have lost 10 league games out of 11.  
The nest way for any potential wounds to heal is that wonderful cocktails of wins and points. We need to stop the rot in the league this weekend at Forrest. A point will do so hopefully Johnson won’t be guilty of chasing those three points with five minutes to go as he has in some away games of late. 
So, I predict the same formation on Saturday but with two changes. Tammy Abraham will replace Gustav Engvall, who seemed to have a good game on Tuesday, and if the rumours are to believed we will also see a new keeper in the shape of Fabian Giefer on loan till the end of the season from German side Schalke. 
Geifer’s arrival will pave the way for Richard O’Donnell to join Rotherham. O’Donnell did very well initially when he joined last season but he’s made too many mistakes this time round and although I wish him all the nest I must say I will be happy to see a fresh face between the posts.
Dave Skinner is Bristol 24/7’s Bristol City columnist for the 2016/17 season.
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