Well, I was pretty encouraged by yesterday's performance. It wasn't the prettiest game by any means - the pitch made it hard to play good football, but we controlled the game and never looked too threatened by a poor Rovers team. I was looking forward to seeing our new players, but was more impressed by the old hands, particularly in defence.
Is it a coincidence that the most settled part of our side is also the strongest? Clarke was untroubled, Duberry won everything in the air, Wright made some brilliant last-ditch challenges and our full backs are surprisingly reliable defensively given how much they contribute to our forward play. Whing looks great away from home in that defensive midfield role, breaking up opposition attacks.
I felt a bit sorry for the more 'creative' players, as the pitch was so poor - Kerrouche particularly struggled to get into the game, and Leven failed to dominate the middle of the park despite some nice moments. Did Wilson really play Champions League games for Man united? He looked very ordinary to me. Rendell's got a nice touch and got stronger as the game went on but hardly seems like the reliable goalscorer we thought we'd signed - he spurned our two best chances, and looked very low on confidence in front of goal.
A good point away from home, but I definitely came away thinking we should have had all three. The fact that their keeper got man-of-the-match shouldn't detract from the fact that we failed to score despite creating a lot of chances away from home.
Away from the game itself, 24 hours in Bristol made me realise what a fantastic pub city it has become - I don't think I've seen (or drunk) such a variety of fantastic ales in so many nice pubs in one city before. A lot better than when I lived there in the 90's, anyway.
One sour note though - Bristol is never a welcoming place to watch football, but the scenes on Gloucester Road after the match were pretty scary. No matter how much we sped up, slowed down or crossed the road to try and avoid the idiots, many of whom were old enough to know better, we seemed to be surrounded on all sides by Rovers fans looking for trouble. I was very glad to be in a mixed group of couples, and we weren't targeted at all, but it was a horrible atmosphere nonetheless.
Anything yellow and blue
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