I’ve basically run out of things (jobs) to do in the house that don’t require major skills or loads of time (eg potentially painting a room). So I took it upon myself to clean out the kitchen cupboards. They weren’t filthy, of course they weren’t, but they just needed a little spruce up and a tidy, that sort of thing. That took a fair chunk of my day leading up to the game.
I really wanted to be at the match. Maybe because I love the carnage that the M4 derbies bring. Maybe because Bristol is literally just down the road and I haven’t left the county, probably not even Tilehurst, for about three months. Maybe because playing City was, on paper, the perfect tonic for a team pushing for promotion but hadn’t won in three games.
Preparing to watch the game was a little bit inconvenient for me for two reasons. The first being that I’ve just started watching ‘Narcos’ on Netflix and am well in to that. With the kids being in the house 100% of the time, I have a very small window to watch these types of programmes, so every evening is precious. The game itself put a big dent in how many episodes I could greedily consume.
The second was that, with us being on Sky (thank whichever lord you believe in), I had some options in terms of venue for where to watch it. I’d planned to situate myself in the kitchen/diner because there’s much more space for me to leap around when we score. Having put the kids to bed, I came downstairs to discover that one of the cats had stretched herself out on the very sofa that I was about to occupy. DISASTER! There’s literally no point in moving her when she’s like that, so I trudged off to the living room, which is perfectly fine, but always makes me sleepy and I feared I wouldn’t see the game out.
I switched on Sky just before the game KO’d, purely because I’ve learnt from past mistakes that if you switch on the red button before the game, you are met with an angry red screen. Confusion reigned however as Oxford appeared to be occupying the channel, playing someone called T’mere (never heard of them) in a game that I assumed was an intercontinental cup tie for the Dolmio Pasta Sauce Trophy. And then I realised that Oxford can’t even spell Europe, let alone compete in it...
Look, if I’m honest, I was disappointed Holmes wasn’t starting. Pauno clearly felt that City would provide literally no threat moving forward (he was right) and therefore wanted to get after them. I dunno: it’s a tough one because I see the merit in playing both, but the fact remains that we have conceded five goals in two games, most of those coming when Holmes has been off the pitch. I just feel uneasy about it when he doesn’t start - maybe that’s a good thing, maybe I’m putting all my eggs in one plastic container, I don’t know.
I was as excited at the news of Tomas Esteves playing higher up the field as a middle-aged woman who’d just been given a voucher to redeem at her local her spa once lockdown has ended. This was interesting. Very interesting. Could he prove to be another option in an already burgeoning midfield? I think he could, yes.
At that point, the game was pretty much won. Bristol had offered nothing up to this point and I feared for Rafa as he’d be lacking any action photos or videos for Instagram after the game. The lead was doubled not long after to put the game to bed. AND CRUMBS WHAT A GOAL IT WAS!
Morrison collected the ball from just inside the attacking half and laid it off. But he kept running! And running some more! He was like a Viking raider charging through an unsuspecting East Anglian village! He collected the ball back in the box and somehow slipped it over the ailing Bentley and into the onion bag! CRUMBS WHAT A GOAL! Proof, if we still needed it, that he is indeed the Mayor of Gentlemen Town.
I hadn’t planned to have an alcoholic beverage at half time, but I was in a celebratory mood. Let’s be honest, we’d won the game already and so I had a bloody pale ale! No snacks though, it was Tuesday after all. I wondered how long it would be before subs were made to offer some rotation and rest to the players that needed it and if I’d ever seen a worse team than Bristol.
And then the last thought was answered very quickly into the second half: Bristol City in the second half were worse than the Bristol City of the first half. They basically stopped running and I’m pretty sure I saw Dean Holden on the job site Reed.co.uk (#ad).
Esteves was subbed (weird) and the game sort of fizzled out like a damp firework. Without sounding like Jermaine Jenas, on another day against different opposition at a different time of day in different weather and in a different year, we’d have scored three more goals, but we didn’t and another +3 was deposited in the points bank to cement fifth place.
Pauno has some headaches on the horizon in terms of team selection. The versatility is really showing in certain players (Semedo, Esteves, Olise) and despite the injuries, there are players coming back (Puscas, Moore) from injury. Saturday poses a different kind of challenge in the shape of a Neil Warnock Middlesborough side, but one which needs to be dealt with to continue our pursuit of the top six.
Just like my kitchen cupboards, Pauno clearly got hold of the players after Saturday and gave them a dust down, a reshuffle and made them more efficient. The priority now is to keep them in order, keep them functioning and keep them in tip-top condition. Just like my kitchen cupboards.
Until next time.