City were punished for a woeful first-half performance against Watford at Vicarage Road tonight.
The gaffer made four more changes to the side which started at home to Coventry on Saturday. Cole Skuse was adjudged to have shrugged off a knock, Lee Johnson replaced Paul Hartley and there were chances for David Clarkson and Alvaro Saborio in attack.
The changes made us super lightweight in midfield and likely to be overrun by the youthful, and full of running, Hornets midfield so it should come as no surprise that this is precisely what happened from the off.
Watford set off like a freight train and peppered the City goal, with on loan Birmingham centre-back Martin Taylor firing inches wide with a 3rd minute header.
Louis Carey survived a decent looking penalty shout when he appeared to handle before Heidar Helguson gave the home side a deserved lead on 14 minutes.
Saborio somehow found himself in a left-back position, allowing Adrian Mariappa to squirm away and cross for Helguson to thump his header past Gerken.
City offered nothing in response and soon found themselves further behind on 34.
Another of the Hornets loanee’s, Henri Lansbury on loan from Arsenal, sent a searching free-kick across the box for Taylor to volley home Watford’s second.
Lansbury was pulling the strings in midfield as a rudderless and beleaguered looking City side’s only chance of note fell to Clarkson, who hit the side netting with an angled drive.
Unsurprisingly, Johnson rang the changes from the first half debacle at the break. On came Ivan Sproule and Marvin Elliott for McAllister and Saborio with Cole Skuse shifting to the left in a formation vaguely resembling 4-4-2.
The changes worked to a certain extent as Fontaine saw his goal-bound header superbly clawed out by highly-rated keeper Scott Loach.
Watford were comfortable though, as City’s only other half chance fell to the ineffectual Patrick Agyemang, who tamely headed over with his back to goal.
WATFORD (4-4-2): Loach, Mariappa, DeMerit, Taylor, Doyley, Cowie, Lansbury (Jenkins ’83), Eustace, Harley, Graham (Henderson ’71), Helguson.
CITY (5-2-1-2): Gerken, Orr, Carey, Nyatanga, Fontaine, McAllister (Elliott ’46 ), Skuse, Johnson, Clarkson, Saborio (Sproule ’46), Agyemang.
REFEREE: Danny McDermid (Hampshire)
GARY JOHNSON – 2/10
Won’t have endeared himself to supporters with his pre-match chat to Radio Bristol saying that ‘we are going a bit long tonight’ but the team he selected was nothing more than bonkers!
Five at the back, no width AGAIN leaving us FAR too narrow and two carthorse’s up front with only 1 league goal between them.
The subs stemmed the flow, if not nothing else, in the second half but the damage was done in the first 45 as Watford punished more tactical ineptitude from Johnson.
MALKAY MACKAY – 6/10
Was impressed with his side at the Gate over Christmas and he set them up similarly tonight. They dealt easily in the absence of key player Tom Cleverley and cantered to their win without really breaking sweat. They won’t get an easier three points this season.
The Debacle Continues…
A dreadful team selection left us being easily overrun in midfield from the start.
The two full-back’s are exactly that. They are not, and will never be, wing-back’s. Why Johnson persists with this braindead ideal is anyone’s guess.
Watford were far superior to us and made it look like we were playing with only nine men at times. They helped themselves to two and we were lucky it wasn’t more.
A message for the Chairman if he ever reads this, let this shambles continue at your peril because we are in trouble. Make no bones about it.
A Dogfight Awaits…
For those of you still blinded by it, we are very much in a relegation dogfight, at least for the time being.
Forget Johnson’s bullshit about the Play-Off’s, our form over the last 18 months is sketchy at best.
The only way I can see this getting better is if the manager goes now otherwise batten down the hatches as we’ll be in this for the long haul, mark my words.