First Away Day of the season and Marinus must have wondered what awaited him in Ciderland after a pressing first week. Andre for the crocked Jota as the Bees lined up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of a vocal 900 strong away following. 2 Minutes in Ayling in midfield skipped past one, then two in our middle and passed easily to Kodjia on the edge of the area, their new 2 million pound striker took one touch, Harlee and Tarky played catch up, bang low past Buttons right hand 1 nil and Ashton Gate wurzeled and bounced. Marinus must have thought he’d been clogged!
We passed to feet on a green carpet of a surface and it showed, a pass into an on running Gray flitting from right to left, Andre hit it first time and Ben Hamer pawed at it feebly straight to Judge who kept cool and (ahem) leaned towards the ball chested it dpwn, took his time and planted it into the empty net. 1-1 and Judge skidded on his knees towards us, we were thankful we were away from home otherwise Judgey may have been out for six months with that celebration at GP!
We were a loose 4-3-3, Gray and Alan Mac could have traded postcards such was the gap between them as Brizzle exposed our lopsided middle threesome, Alan Mac came for the ball and Bryan a super winger (23) just ghosted past time and again and put low crosses aplenty in to keep us on the back foot. A fine stop from Button from Wilbraham from another flowing move. Away for a corner but we were rocking. Set piece, Wilbraham first to the cross, nodded across Button unmarked and Ashton Gate shook on two sides again. 2-1 and our defence was swinging open like a rusty gate!
We were hanging on, then Freeman did his Daniel San karate kid impression as he raised his feet head high and kicked Harlee, a winced oooh went round the home crowd as Dean lay prone. Referee Stroud marched to the linesman and whilst Dean took many minutes to get to his feet. Stroud produced the red. The Wurzels brayed as Cotterill didn’t like it like, but straight away 10 v 11 proved no match, Judge crossed in and Gray made defender Williams flick it past Hamer. 2-2 and we reminded goalkeeper Ben he was a Brentford fan. Then Wilbraham elbowed Tarky in the nose with a shielding flail, another 5 minutes down, Wilbraham and Tarky shook hands but Tarkys nose had gone south as O’Connell came on. 57 minutes for the first half and it felt like we’d seen enough action for the whole game.
Second half Brizzle went 4-4-1 and the left threat was no more, so Alan Mac rampaged down the right side, a flowing move ended with a Bidwell pile driver from 20 that Hamer pushed round the post. We were playing some good stuff now, Judge and Kerschbaumer and Toumani to me to you, pleasing on the eye and Brizzle were chasing as the shadows lengthened. Judge to Macca who went down the right, pulled it back low and hard and Andre one touch, BOOM side footed hard and high into Hamers’ net on the hour from 10 yards. 2-3 and we reminded City that it had been 2-1 and they had clucked it up!
Next a lovely ball in from Bidwell to the impressive Hofmann he shaped to shoot, blocked but straight away second chance drilled it into the corner from 12 yards across Hamer, an excellent finish from our German. 2-4 and City were on the spit cooked and done.
Vibe replaced Kerschbaumer on the hour and tag teamed with Bidwell, whilst Hofmann’s hold up play and passing was exemplary, Gray and Hoffman played as a two up front at times and Flint and Williams were given a chasing.
O’Connell sure, left footed and good on the ball looked a healthy foil for Dean, Harlee minding him as Agard came on late. Gogia did well as he tracked here and there and picked up a yellow for a tackle. Andy for two games in will do for me We ole’d it about for the last 10 minutes as Brizzle held their own firedrill as their fans waved us off with a five knuckled shuffle of a wave as we cheered them home.
Whistle blown and we clapped them all. A comedy moment as Vibe, Kerschbaumer, Barbet, Hofmann and Gogia clapped us all in a line and kept clapping and kept clapping. We clapped back, they looked at each other and kept clapping wondering if they should stay until we went home. It was a great moment as our new boys from a foreign land showed us the ultimate respect as we bellowed “You reds”.
Marinus beamed from ear to ear as he walked towards us, a BIG win for our big Dutch. After the week to forget with a 4 nil drubbing, a pitch that the Caddyshack gopher would have dance on and Jota not playing until the decorations go up, we have proved we can still play, For all Bristol’s enthusiasm they are 2 games and no points and we are 2 games and 4. This is a tough league, the difference is we know how to play in it, today it showed. A great day out for 900 of us, the new boys can all play, its still fast and loose and the injuries are mounting, but 3rd in the table two weeks in and Marinus must think football in England is just a crazy life.