Mag­i­cal Bobby is re­al­daz­zler

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Richard Latham

BOBBY Reid’s pre-sea­son switch from mid­field to striker is al­ready look­ing a mas­ter­stroke by City head coach Lee John­son.

Hav­ing net­ted eight times in the warm-up games, the diminu­tive Reid gave a gi­ant open­ing-day per­for­mance along­side club-record sign­ing Fa­mara Died­hiou that brought two goals, a man-of-the-match award and glow­ing praise from his boss.

John­son said: “Bobby was ab­so­lutely bril­liant, not just in terms of the abil­ity he showed, but also with his work-rate, which was in­cred­i­ble.

“I first talked to him about a more ad­vanced role to­wards the end of last sea­son be­cause I felt get­ting him 15 yards fur­ther for­ward would bring the best out of him.

“We have had some in­juries to our strik­ers, but Bobby would have been given a chance up front any­way. He is an ex­cel­lent fin­isher.”

Reid shot City in front on 16 min­utes, find­ing the roof of the net from in­side the box af­ter Died­hiou’s strength had al­lowed him to fend off his marker and create the open­ing.

It was 2-0 nine min­utes later. Jamie Pa­ter­son’s clever pass put Reid through and his cross from the left by­line was nod­ded in at the far post by £5.3mil­lion sum­mer re­cruit Died­hiou.

Reid was ir­re­press­ible and made it three on the half-hour, net­ting from close range af­ter Joe Bryan’s low shot had been palmed into his path by Barns­ley goal­keeper Adam Davies at full stretch.

Sub­sti­tute Ryan Hedges fired an in­jury-time con­so­la­tion for the vis­i­tors, with a low shot from ten yards fol­low­ing a goal­mouth scram­ble, but it was far too late to make a dif­fer­ence

John­son added: “All the lads de­serve credit to­day. For 35 min­utes I saw every­thing I want to see from a Lee John­son team. Maybe we eased off a bit in the sec­ond half, but that may have been due to the fan­tas­tic amount of ef­fort put into the first 45 min­utes.”

Both sides hit the wood­work in the first half. Josh Brown­hill’s third-minute shot from the edge of the box was tipped onto the cross­bar by Davies.

Barns­ley also looked dan­ger­ous in the early stages and Ge­orge Mon­cur’s tenth minute curler from 25 yards had Frank Field­ing clutch­ing at thin air as the ball thud­ded against the bar.

But as the first half wore on City be­came in­creas­ingly dom­i­nant and Jens Hegeler had a 35th-minute header from a Brown­hill cross well saved by the div­ing Davies.

The sec­ond half never lived up to the first, with City com­fort­able to sit on their lead. Reid went close to a hat-trick, shoot­ing wide af­ter be­ing set up by Brown­hill, be­fore be­ing sub­sti­tuted to a stand­ing ova­tion.

Barns­ley head coach Paul Heck­ing­bot­tom said: “We have had so much move­ment in and out of the club this sum­mer that we are go­ing to have to build a team with the sea­son un­der­way.

“I an­tic­i­pate more sign­ings, but I would have pre­ferred to have a full pre-sea­son work­ing with a set­tled group.

“It is a tough league to com­pete in any cir­cum­stances, let alone with the squad chang­ing so much. But that is how it is and we have to work hard to make the best of things.

“The first goal changed the na­ture of the game. When we look back over the spell be­tween the 10th minute and the 35th there was some­thing fun­da­men­tally wrong from how we want to play.”

PIC­TURES: PSI/Gary Lear­month

HEAD­ING IN THE RIGHT DI­REC­TION: New Bris­tol City sign­ing Fa­mara Died­hiou opens his ac­count 25 min­utes into his com­pet­i­tive de­but

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