Coventry City 0 Bristol City 3
This was a fantastic performance by Bristol City against a below par Coventry side. Bristol City were good value for their win. Last season City were somewhat lucky to come away with a flattering win with three goals very much against the run of play. This season, by contrast, Bristol City dominated throughout the ninety minutes and got everything they deserved in thumping the league leaders.
Adriano Basso was back in goal and clearly competing for that goalkeepers jumper he produced a commanding display. He came off his line on numerous ocassions to thwart Coventry's attacks. His one mistake could have led to a Coventry goal but their woeful finishing was underlined as the loose ball was looped over the bar with the goal open. He compensated for this with some world class saves.
Michael Misfud, barracked throughout by the Bristolians fans, ran the entire length of the pitch only to see Basso at full stretch parrying his effort and then pouncing on the loose ball. Basso's save at the end of the first half with City one nil up, was amazing. A point blank header was somehow clawed back from off the line. In the second half another point blank header was palmed onto the post.
In defence City lost Louis Carey who needed stitches in a head wound. He was replaced by loan Glasgow Rangers defender Andy Webster who himself ended the match with a bandaged head in a heroic display. Liam Fontaine capably replaced the injured Jamie McCombe. Full backs Bradley Orr and Jamie McAlister had good games also. McAlister coped admirably with the dangerous Michael Misfud on the Coventry right and his crosses from the left towards Dele Adebola caused any number of problems for the Coventry defense.
In midfield, whilst we miss the athletisism and tackling power of Marvin Elliott, Cole Skuse continues to make his mark and Lee Johnson produced a fine display of passing. Brian Wilson combined well with Bradley Orr on the right with the two often swapping roles as Orr surged forward and Wilson covered. On the left Michael McIndoe was terrorising the defence and capped his display with the second goal, an accurate shot from the left of the penalty area went in off the right post.
Up front Dele Adebola was dominant and scored a goal having challenged for the ball with Keiron Westwood. He won the ball fairly, in the opinion of the referee, and scrambled in the loose ball for City's first goal. Westwood went off injured and Chris Coleman was sent to the stands as his frustration spilled over and he became abusive to the officials and referee Phil Dowd. To be fair to him, Coventry had a good shout for a penalty but City escaped with a half time lead thanks to poor finishing from Clinton Morrison in particular. Adebola was replaced by Steve Brooker with fifteen minutes to go and left the field to a standing ovation by the entire Ricoh Arena.
Nicky Maynard seemed to struggle with the pace of the game but played his part. He had a one on one with the keeper in the second half and left Andy Marshall on his backside, but his curling effort was headed off the line by a defender. Another effort was superbly tipped around the post by Marhall. He was replaced by Ivan Sproule with a few minutes left and went off to warm applause from the City faithful.
Sproule made an instant impact, his mazy run across the eigteen yard line resulted in a shot which Steve Brooker turned into a perfect pass, neatly controlling the ball and spinning to drill a deserved third for City in injury time.
With Lee Trundle yet to start and Marvin Elliott, David Noble and Gavin Williams waiting in the wings, Bristol City are looking strong on this evidence. Second season syndrome? I don't think so. The game was summed up as the triumphant Cider Reds sang 'We're just too good for you' to a rapidly emptying stadium. And we were far too good for them.
1 Keiren Westwood (21mins) : Adriano Basso 1
12 Aron Gunnarsson : Bradley Orr 2
5 Elliott Ward : Liam Fontaine 4
6 Scott Dann : (64mins) Louis Carey 6
4 Daniel Fox : Jamie McAllister 3
17 Michael Mifsud (73mins) : Brian Wilson 18
21 Jay Tabb : Cole Skuse 14
7 Guillaume Beuzelin : Lee Johnson 33
11 Julian Gray : Michael McIndoe 11
10 Freddy Eastwood (46mins) : (81mins) Nicky Maynard 10
19 Clinton Morrison : (76mins) Dele Adebola 15
20 Ben Turner (unused) : (76mins) Steve Brooker 9
24 Robbie Simpson (73mins) : (64mins) Andy Webster 16
8 Michael Doyle (unused) : (81mins) Ivan Sproule 17
14 Leon McKenzie (46mins) : (unused) Lee Trundle 23
33 Andy Marshall (21mins) : (unused) Chris Weale 22