Bazza’s take on our latest victory.
It was back to domestic football for the top two divisions after international week. Apart from the first game of the season when I was joined by Will and Rob, I had been Billy No Mates at all the games so far as Chris had missed the start of the season as he had been away on holiday and missed the MK Dons game because of the occasion of him becoming, like me, a senior citizen! I told him that he could join me in being a true curmudgeon still capable of misbehaviour especially regarding matters football.
Last week as some of you that read my post ‘A pie and a pint for Reggie’ will know, I launched myself off a perfectly serviceable building in the form of Guildford Cathedral in aid of the Leg Ulcer Charity of which I am a trustee. I freely admit that I’m not great with heights but I did it and for those of you that kindly contributed, thank you and for those of you that still wish to please go to the Leg Ulcer Charity home page; http://www.legulcercharity.org/ where your contribution will be gratefully received. My survival means that for everyone else, you will have to endure View from the South for a while longer yet! 😀
I was looking forward to getting back in the old routine and so it was I caught the 10.31 from Blackwater to Reading and from there to Coventry where Chris was waiting to pick me up. For Chris’ birthday I had ordered him a new away strip and was hoping it would have arrived in time for me to present it to him but it didn’t come in time but no matter he knows it’s on its way so better late than never I suppose but I’m bound to say that the problem with the suppliers of the new kit, whatever it is, is pretty poor given the season is now over a month in.
I arrived at Coventry at 12.25 and it was back to the Oak for a sherbet and to pick up little Jack before proceeding to St Andrews. The team was unchanged with us set up in our usual 4-2-3-1. The visitors chose to play towards their own fans in the Gil Merrick stand in the first half; whether this was to disrupt our normal routine and rhythm or whether to get on the front foot themselves, it failed because Blues raced into a 2-0 lead by 20 minutes. Bristol set up in a 3-5-2 formation but for that system to work the wing backs have to work hard tracking back and taking care of opposition wide men especially when those wide men are called Cotterill and Gray. They neglected said duties and both our wingers had yards of space to operate in. Gray’s deep cross from the left to the far post was diverted back along the six yard line by David Cotterill to be easily turned in for Donaldson’s first goal of the season; one he has thoroughly deserved and long overdue but he didnít have to wait long for his second when the impressive striker picked up the ball himself on the half way line and took off with pace before popping it off to Jon Toral who continued the break. As the Bristol City defence parted like the Red Sea, Toral looked as if he might shoot as he approached the area edge but beautifully disguised a lovely pass into Donaldson again running into splendid isolation eight yards out. He made no mistake from that range and Chris remarked that a goal every ten minutes would mean 9-0!
Such dreams were snuffed out when a well worked goal by Bristol City intervened. Luke Ayling put a lovely ball through inside the full back to Joe Bryan whose excellent cross along the floor was turned in by Kodjia from two yards. People can complain about the defending but in truth this was a cracking move and a well worked strike so I donít blame our lads too much. The goal came on 31 minutes but Blues should have been 3-0 up just before that when a well flighted cross from Cotterill was met at the far post by Toral only for the Arsenal loanee to miss the target with the goal gaping.
Goals, like buses tend to come along all at once and having not scored so far this season, Donaldson had bagged three on forty minutes; Chris had been right about one thing; there had been a goal every ten minutes! Blues were awarded a soft penalty as Jon Toral went down very easily in the box. Steve Cotterill, the Bristol manager was understandably upset. I know that if that one had been given against us we would have been extremely aggrieved but about five minutes earlier Donaldson was clearly fouled in the box by being manhandled but nothing was awarded. The fact that the striker didnít engage in flashy dives to the ground may have had something to do with it but it was a clear foul so this may have swayed the referee when Toral went down; Iím not suggesting that is right but I suspect it may have been the case. In any event Caddis gave way to Donaldson who dispatched the penalty kick straight down the middle for 3-1. Bristol nearly reduced the deficit again with a free kick just before half time but the effort clipped the left hand post of Kuczcak with the keeper spectating.
The second period was also entertaining with Bristol bagging a second on 66 minutes with Kodjia once again scoring when Blues failed to clear their lines from a cross and the ball was allowed to pinball back and forth across the danger area. The finish was athletic but this one was poor defending in truth. Fortunately, though the visitors huffed and puffed, Jonathan Grounds who was one of the stand out players besides Donaldson and Bristol’s Luke Freeman put the issue beyond the men in red with a well-timed header from a Cotterill corner with 15 minutes left. Donaldson could have had another couple but for last ditch defending but a higher score would have been harsh on Bristol City who contributed greatly to an enjoyable and entertaining match though I am not sure I agree with Steve Cotterill’s contention that they had enough chances to have won! His team were well beaten in the end. Bristol looked bright and lively going forward but will have to defend a whole lot better if they are not to struggle this season. Nathan Baker, who joined Bristol City in the window from that shower across the expressway, had a debut to forget.
The Good: Good game to watch, six goals, three points, sunny day.
The Bad: The Cookhouse ran out of sausage and mash and we had to resort to a standard pie!
The Ugly: My prospects of getting home anytime soon when we failed to make the train, the next was cancelled and the next was delayed meaning a missed connection at Reading!
Birmingham City: Tomas Kuczcak 6, Paul Caddis 7, Michael Morrison 7, Jonathan Spector 6, Jonathan Grounds 8, David Cotterill 7, Maikel Kieftenbeld 7, Jon Toral 7 (Jacques Maghoma 69, 6) Stephen Gleeson 7, Demarai Gray 7 (David Davis 81, N/A) Clayton Donaldson 9.
Subs not used: Adam Legzdins, Paul Robinson, Viv Soloman-Otabor, Andrew Shinnie, Nicolai Brock-Madsen
Goals: Donaldson 10, 20, 40 (pen) Grounds 75
Bookings: Cotterill, Toral
Bristol City: Frank Fielding 5, Liam Moore 6 (Robinson 63, 6), Aden Flint 6, Nathan Baker 4, Luke Ayling 7, Korey Smith 7, Marlon Pack 6 (Williams 63, 6), Luke Freeman 8, Joe Bryan 7 (Reid 76, 6); AaronWilbraham 6, Jonathan Kodjia 7.
Subs not used: Mark Little, Kieran Agard, Scott Wagstaff, Ben Hamer.
Goals: Kodjia 31, 66
Bookings: Moore, Flint, Smith.
Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire) 4: This official consistently made incorrect calls but at least he was consistent. I am not at all convinced that our penalty kick should have been awarded but the foul on Donaldson a couple of minutes earlier was a stonewaller which may have been preying on his mind. I felt he lost control of the game at one point in the second half and in a match that was not inherently a dirty game, I visualised someone getting sent off. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. It was an entertaining encounter in the end so it was a good day all round (unless you were a Bristol City fan of course!)