Thank heavens for little Earnie. Website reaction.

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By Michael Morris
City and Swindon had slugged out a battle in the most inhumane conditions. Heavy rain, cold, a badly cut up and heavy pitch. It was difficult to play flowing passing football but City tried, maybe tried a bit too much as the conditions made it nigh on impossible.

There were chances for both teams, credit to Swindon for breaking at speed and making a game of it.

City started with Fan Zhiyi in mindfield but he was subbed at half time for Graham Kavanagh. Fan really did nothing in the first half. I wonder if he'll play again as he must miss the next three games through suspension, we need leaders in midfield. My man of the first half and ultimately man of the match was Chris Barker, he was solid in defence and his control and runs forward were excellent.

Swindon took the lead on 70 mins when they were alowed to break through the middle, Neil Alexander made a world class save to deny the Robins but from the resulatant corner the goal came. Quite simple, Parkin the big centre forward rose above the City defence and headed down into the net. Critisism time. Alexander was rooted to his line when the ball went into the goal. He stays there too often, he could have come and punched out. I made the same citisism after the Luton game. Very little command of the area and stays on the line too much.

City countered by bringing on Leo. Route 1, kick it long and direct, it paid off, the ball bounced around the box and Peter Thorne tried to shoot through the mud but it bobbled to Earnie, 1 yard out the goal gaping. Only one outcome, goal.

With Bristol City losing it means City go second by one point from the Wurzels and from Oldham. Crewe are close by as well. Then a 13 point gap to 6th place.

In goal I'm not totally happy with Alexander. Weston was below par today, he was reluctant to move forward as I think he expected Bowen to always be there. Prior actuall did quite well but was easilly beaten for the Swindon goal. Barker was excellent. A centre half Lennie, keep him there. Croft linked well with Legg as usual and was neither very bad or very good.

Legg is worrying me. Why no long throws? Short throws, short corners, short passes, nearly every time we lose possession. Fan was quite simply out of his depth today. In all honesty I could have played in his position and done no worse. Willie Boland was 100% again but struggled to make the passes through the mud. Bowen I felt stayed in the middle too much, not his type of surface.

Thorne was lacking in front of goal but was always available and won most things in the air. Earnie was alert as ever and got his goal.

Kav came on for Fan, main critisism of Kav was his dead ball striking, crap corners and crap free kicks, two in front of goal and the ball never made it past the wall, very poor.

Leo came on and was made the target man, he did little, Campbell came on with the aim to run at people but on that surface it was very difficult.

Oveall it was a dogged if less than fluid performace. The conditions played a major part but City were not quite firing on all cylinders.

I really feel we need a leader in midfield. We were anonymous for long periods, especially in the first half. Fan was nowhere, Bowen wandered, Boland had to run it himself.

We are second though. It could have been worse.

Still work to be done. Next league action is at Northampton on Sat 11th. Next match for City is against Coventry in the Cup on Saturday. Providing the pitch can be made playable. It really suffered today.