Maynard and Mayhem - City 4 Royal Antwerp 0
A hat-trick in 30 minutes from debutant Nicky Maynard was the icing on the cake in an excellent pre-season victory for Bristol City. Maynard scored in the 17th, 45th and 47th minutes to win the hearts and minds of Bristol City fans. Royal Antwerp, backed by a vociferous 1,000 madmen looked a poor side but were enough of a test to send City into the new season with confidence.
The first was well worked by Gavin Williams, Dele Adebola and Michael McIndoe. Williams found Adebola on the edge of the box and his flick fell into McIndoes path. He burst through the Antwerp defence into the box and crossed right footed. Maynard met the ball at the far post and slid in right footed to score the sort of goal that we lacked last season when our strike force did not have the pace to get onto the ball.
The second involved Lee Johnson and Cole Skuse. Johnson dummied and totally bamboozled the Antwerp defence allowing Skuse space to run onto the ball and find Maynard spinning off the shoulder of the last defender. The keeper rushed out and the new striker slid the ball calmly under his body and into the unguarded net from the edge of the penalty area.
The third at the start of the second half involved Louis Carey, Ivan Sproule and Dele Adebola. Sproule, City's only half time substitution and on for the excellent Gavin Williams, was found on the right by Louis Carey. The Antwerp defence were suprised by Ivans pace as he cut the ball back from the byline, Dele produced a delightful stepover and Nicky nicked in with his third off the post. He appeared to injure his foot in the process but completed another 15 minutes comfortably before leaving the pitch to a standing ovation.
This was not all about Maynard though. An excellent performance from Gavin Williams was almost capped by a curling 25 yard free kick which flashed just wide of the post with the goalkeeper flailing. He started on the right wing but clearly his preferred position is the middle where he kept drifting. Cole Skuse was dominant in midfield and Lee Johnson showed some great touches. McCombe and Carey were their masterful best at the back and Orr and McAlister surged forward in support of the midfield. McIndoe looked very fit and had improved the speed of his crossing. The substitutes came on at the hour mark and were treated to a torrential downpour which dampened the performance somewhat. Trundles late penalty was no more than City deserved for a dominant display.
The mayhem came from 1,000 Royal Antwerp fans who were a vocal credit to their club. Seldom has an away following sung and danced so much for a good hour with their club getting thrashed. Hats off to them. They are mad. All songs sung in English too, bizarrely! Click here for an illustration of the mayhem. Magnificent support. Forza Eastend.