Magical Bobby is realdazzler
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.”
HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: New Bristol City signing Famara Diedhiou opens his account 25 minutes into his competitive debut