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Bristol City 2 - Sheffield United 3

Ashton Gate, Bristol

28 November 2009, 15:00

Attendance: 14,637

Late Drama Wrecks Home Record

Sheffield United ended our proud 11-month unbeaten run at home and earnt their first win at the Gate in 38 years on a day when any decent side would have racked up a cricket score.

Gary Johnson baffled many with his team selection and tactics, ringing the changes after last weekend's drubbing dished out by West Brom.

In came his son Lee for Lewin Nyatanga as the manager chose to put out a narrow 4-4-2 formation.

City started purposefully though with Elliott and Danny Haynes threatening the opener whilst Jamie Ward worked Gerken with a low effort at the other end before the game's bizarre opening goal on the half-hour mark.

In-demand Blades centre-back Matt Kilgallon fired a long punt towards Darius Henderson, who rifled his low shot past Gerken for what seemed to be the opener only for the linesman's flag to be up.

Lee Williamson was in an offside position as the goal went in but after much deliberation the ref correctly allowed the goal to stand as he wasn't active.

City's defence was all at sea and it didn't take long for Henderson to double his, and his team's, tally for the day.

Donkey-like defender Jamie McCombe gifted away possession under no pressure on the edge of our box, allowing Ward to scamper down the left and square for the big target man's second of the game on 33.

McCombe then looped a header from Hartley's cross before Elliott's long-range rocket was saved by Carl Ikeme.

McAllister's then sent in a cross from the left which Ikeme dropped to the feet of Danny Haynes, who hit the side netting.

Sno sent Haynes through on the left just before the break but held on to for too long with Nicky Maynard waiting square for a tap-in.

City needed to hit back immediately after the interval to get back into the game and Sno picked out Johnson who saw his shot blocked by Blades debutant Ikeme.

Then came a moment of class from the talismanic Paul Hartley. His inch-perfect inswinging free kick from the left picked out Carey, who thumped his header in to give us a lifeline (53).

Chances continued to come against a fragile Blades team, this time Haynes found Maynard but his shot was saved by Ikeme. The ball rebounded out Johnson, who dallied on the ball with an open goal from the edge of the box.

Carey, leading from the front as usual, then broke down the right-wing on 67 and picked out Haynes who's effort was blocked by the visitor's skipper Chris Morgan.

Ivan Sproule came on to provide much needed width, as did Alvaro Saborio as City went route one, but nobody could've expected what was to come.

With City pumping long balls into the box, one of them forced a goalmouth scramble which popped loose to Costa Rican international Saborio who fired through a crowd of players to seemingly rescue a stoppage time point.

But straight from kick off, a long punt from Ikeme found its way to Henderson who expertly fired home an angled drive past Gerken to win it.

CITY (4-4-2): Gerken, Skuse (Sproule 76), McCombe, Carey, McAllister (Fontaine 88), Elliott, Johnson, Hartley, Sno (Saborio 84), Maynard, Haynes.

BLADES (4-5-1): Ikeme, Walker, Morgan, Davies, Kilgallon, Ward (Reid 88), Montgomery, Harper (Fortune 90+2), Quinn, Williamson (Stewart 59), Henderson.

REFEREE: Andy Hall (West Midlands)

Star Player

PAUL HARTLEY - 8/10

Another industrious performance from our bearded Jock. Ran the midfield and provided real quality with his set pieces, including the assist for our first goal.

Player Ratings


Dean Gerken 5

Not his best game, that's for sure. Would've expected to have done better with the Blades winner.

Cole Skuse 6

Wasted again at right-back to accomodate others and understandably wasn't at his best. Needs to be in centre mid.

Jamie McAllister 6

Tried in vain to provide desparetly needed width down the left hand side and motored forward to good effect on a few occasions.

Jamie McCombe 2

Utterly abysmal. Can claim the assist for United's second goal by inexplicably passing the ball to the opposition on the edge of the box. The sooner he leaves, the better.

Louis Carey 7

Struggled alongside McCombe but took the charge to them in the second half and got a good goal. Not afraid to bring the ball out of defence and even sent in a couple of dangerous crosses when marauding down the right.

Marvin Elliott 5

Looks increasingly lost playing wide on the right side of midfield but that's not his fault as he's a central player by trade.

Lee Johnson 5

Should've scored in the second half but dallied too long with an open goal gaping. Otherwise, plenty of backwards and sideways passes to boost his Opta stats.

Paul Hartley 8

Head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch but was often doing it on his own. Today's MOTM.

Evander Sno 5

Strong and retained the ball to good effect but another central midfielder playing out of position on the left wing.

Nicky Maynard 6

Starved of any service really but took up some good positions in the box.

Danny Haynes 5

Pace was a real threat all afternoon even if his decision making and finishing was extremely wasteful. Got in behind several times with only the final ball or finish lacking.

Ivan Sproule 6

Looked like a man possessed when he was introduced. Provided width and pace on the right and looked lively.

Alvaro Saborio 6

Good finish for the late leveller and won a few headers as we sent in the aerial bombardment.

Liam Fontaine 5

No time to make an impact and should've been picked ahead of McCombe if 100% fit.

Manager Rating

GARY JOHNSON - 3/10

Poor day for Johnson. Picked FIVE central midfielders in the starting XI and played four players unnecessarily out of position. Clearly has learnt nothing from last week's defeat at West Brom. Expect better.

Opponent Rating

KEVIN BLACKWELL - 5/10

Has a poor side at his disposal on this showing and came to shut up shop. Didn't do anything tactically to impress, just caught us on a day when our defence were more open than a barn door.

Shambles From Start To Finish

City were poor in every department today. The team selection and tactics were bizarre to say the least, the defence were all over the place and Haynes was particularly wasteful in front of goal on several occasions.

The day Johnson discovers his best team and starts picking square pegs in square holes can't come soon enough.

Worst Ref Yet!

We've had Andy Hall a few times over the year's but he really takes the biscuit. Four players we're booked for time wasting yet only five minutes were added! The incident over their first goal was another debacle and how this man is on the Premier League's Ref list is beyond me.

Henderson Voodoo?

Before it was David Kelly, then it was Rory Fallon and now it seems to be Darius Henderson. What have they all got in common? They ALWAYS seem to score against the City.

Henderson bagged a good hat-trick today to add to his double for Swindon and goals for Watford against us in the past. I wish he was on our team!




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The Journalist

Writer: Tin Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 29 2009

Time: 2:54PM

 

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