A welcome 3 points to set up 2 home games

After the performances in the last four away games I was not over confident that we would come away with the three points today and would happily have come back to Bristol undefeated. Saying that I did feel it was a game that we had to win if we were serious about going for Play offs. I needn’t have worried because we were as good as Nottingham were bad and really wore them down. We always looked good in possession and I thought some of our passing movements were superb and come the end was disappointed not to have watched a much bigger win. Long before the end Notts County looked a beaten team but of course the problem with a 2-0 lead and missing chances is that if County had got a goal back 10 minutes from the end then it would have been very easy to have dropped a point. I had the feeling that all the protests that were going on could have worked against us if we had conceded one. We didn’t and so we returned to Bristol with a very useful 3 points. 
Mildenhall 7 Some good saves and a generally sound performance.Couple of bad kicks in the first half but overall distribution was good and kept his concentration well in long periods of inactivity and ended up with a deserved clean sheet. 

J Clarke 6.5 Battled well against a quick winger but did allow him too much room at times especially in the first half but in fairness to him Bodin gave him little protection.. Second half he tightened up considerably and defended well with some strong tackling and won some good headers 

Mc Chrystal 7.Got better as the game went on and cleared up effectively and keot the centre of defence steady. Gave a dominating performance and like last season it looks as if he is getting nearer his best and lead the team well . He is never going to have great distribution but there again he makes few mistakes and for me is far more reliable than Parkes defensively and is stroner than Parkes in the air despite his lack of heoght. 

Lockyer.8 One mistake which was nearly costly when not concentrating but that apart was supreme in everything he did. Continues to amaze for one so young and just seems to be getting better and better. How long can we hold on to this talented youngster? I very much hope that we can get promotion and then hopefully Tom will feel that he can improve his standard of football with us and we can both progress.

Brown 8 This was a different type of performance from Lee in that first half he got forward very little but defended very well and used the ball very well to give Montano some good service. Some of the work between them was very good and second half Lee became more attacking and his partnership with Montano kept Notts tied up down the left and he then popped up from a good corner routine to drive in the second goal from 25 yards with a low shot past surprised defenders. 
Mansell 7.5 This was Mansell back to his best and really getting stuck into the opposition, closing down,winning the ball and then laying the ball off. IMO this was our strongest midfield performance for some time which resulted in pretty well total domination of the second half after a lot of hard work in the first half to get us on top. 

Lines 8.5 MOM This is Chris Lines thankfully getting back to somewhere near his best. What impressed me as much as his running with the ball was the way he worked hard and always tried to be involved. He was very unlucky not to score as his snap shot was brilliantly kept out by the keeper,just a little higher and no doubt it would have been a great goal. He is coming into form at a good time for us especially with the injury to Sinclair and now possibly Lawrence. 

Lawrence Not long enough 

Bodin.6 Faded out of the game but still delighted with some silky skills and flicks to create openings and always willing to take the responsibility to have a shot from long range. He was one of the few players who actually was far better in the first half than the second. He may drift in and out of the game but can and does bring the unexpected and that extra bit of creativity comes with the dangers of giving the ball away. 

Taylor 7 I actually thought that Taylor and Easter stretched the Nottingham defence and both worked hard to retain the ball. Matty was unlucky not to score after a twisting run but superbly set Montano up for the first goal. For me it doesn’t matter so much when Matty doesn’t score if he is on his general game because he is a clever footballer who makes things happen,is quite strong in the air and his clever movement means that opponents can’t take their eyes off him. 

Easter. 6.How people can criticise him bewilders me as he ran as much as anybody and at times his ball retention was good and he and Taylor caused the Nottingham defence trouble. Ok he has not scored the goals that we were all expecting and in fact missed a one on one when he should have scored but allowed the ball to be hit too close to the keeper and the chance was gone but also brought another very good save from the keeper when set up by the impressive Montano and in the first half when their keeper saved Montanos shot he seemed to miss a straightforward chance but the ball may have been beyond him as we were so far from the incident to see the exact trajectory but overall i felt he lead the line pretty well. It seems even when we win there has to be a scapegoat and at the moment Easter seems to fall into this category and I can’t see why when he is involved in four goalscoring opportunities. 

Subs 

Montano 8 Superb and very close for me to being Man of the Match. Was unlucky to see his drive saved by the keeper and then gave us the lead with a very well taken goal,taking a great pass from Taylor in his stride and finishing with a great shot into the far corner.The thing that impressed me were his retention of the ball and the way he played the ball simply and accurately particularly with Lee Brown.He was involved in the corner routine with Lines to set up the second goal and looked to have the beating of players and put in a couple of superb crosses. Please DC give him a run now in the side to show what he can do. He really did look today like the winger we have been crying out for with a little bit of class and skill about him. 

Clarke Ollie Not long enough to mark but played a couple of superb passes. 

Fallon Not long enough 

Ref 9 The best referee this season.Got most decisions right and tried hard to keep the game going at all times. Can we have him again? 

Crowd 8 Another excellent following and best of all we took more than City took to Nottingham Forest last week and you are talking of a level of football two divisions below.Well done Gas ..take a bow. 

Notts County 4.IMO nowhere near the quality of the County team that took a point off us at the Mem at the start of the season but to be fair we played a lot better than we did that night and some of our passing football today was a delight to watch. I thought Notts County started off quite brightly but when they didn’t score their confidence drained quickly and the first goal killed them off as we could have done in the second half where it always looked possible that we would go on to something like a 5-0 victory. 

DC Got it right and as it turned out made the right substitution. I really expected Ollie Clarke to come on for Lawrence but I think it was very brave to bring on Montano. I am one who has been crying out to give him a run of games and I very much hope he is given another chance on Tuesday. The decision to play Easter and Taylor together was also a surprise as I expected Fallon to start and I felt again he got it right as the two central defenders never looked happy against the two smaller players.

So we move on to a very difficult game on Tuesday night against an AFC Wimbledon who are on a very impressive run. They are quite pacy so if we are not at our very best then we will struggle to get a result. With the injuries we have I really think that DC should be on the phone Monday trying to get a couple of loans in because four injuries severely affects the strength of our squad. The next two home games will enable us after they have been played to look at the League and judge where we stand because we would then have played the same number of games home and away for the first time in ages. 

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