City surrendered a late goal to gift newly promoted Peterborough a deserved point at Ashton Gate.
Johnson opted to keep faith with Gerken in goal and the visibly jet-lagged Alvaro Saborio in attack as we sought our fifth home league win of the season.
The game’s best early chance fell to top scorer Nicky Maynard. Presented with a clear sight of goal from Evander Sno’s 5th minute chest down, Maynard proceeded to blaze over Joe Lewis’ goal from six yards.
City should have surged ahead but were unlucky not to fall behind when Craig Mackail-Smith raced through moments later.
Racing clean through on the counter attack, Mackail-Smith only had the onrushing Gerken to beat but was brilliantly thwarted by the pace and postional play of the ex-Colchester stopper. Adriano who?!
Lewin Nyatanga nearly opened his City account on 9 but his hooked effort was well stopped by Lewis in the Posh goal.
The game died down after that until Toumani Diagouranga tested Gerken with a dipping shot for the visitors on 26 minutes from 25 yards that dropped inches over his own crossbar.
However, the opener arrived only five minutes later.
Cole Skuse ignored cries from the crowd to shoot from 25-yards to slalom his way through the Posh back line before firing a composed finish underneath the body of England prospect Lewis.
It was no more than the City deserved and the lead arguably should have been doubled immediately after.
Maynard raced onto Sno’s pass straight from the re-start only to be thwarted by Lewis’ feet as he tried to round him.
We had a feeling it would prove to be the turning point for the match and so it proved after the break.
Gerken was called upon again to stop Mackail-Smith controversially meeting Boyd’s left wing cross after Orr went down injured.
Expecting the visitors to put the ball out of play, Posh played on and Mackail-Smith’s effort was superbly stopped by Gerken.
Marvin Elliott nearly opened his account for the season, narrowly stabbing a McAllister cross milimetre’s wide on 67 before Lee Johnson did his only thing of note by testing Lewis from distance.
Bradley Orr marauded down the right flank to pull out an inviting cross for Maynard to tap in but he only just failed to connect.
The game was petering out to another uninspiring win for the Reds with only Haynes firing over the top.
That was until stoppage time when the Posh found a deserved equaliser, even if it came completely out of the blue.
On-loan Spurs winger Danny Rose saw his cross met by the impressive Boyd, who looped his header over Gerken’s outstretched arm to share the spoils with 13 seconds left, blowing three points and my accumulator out of the water at the same time!
CITY 4-4-2: Gerken, Orr, Carey, Nyatanga, McAllister, Sno (Hartley 88), Johnson, Elliott, Skuse (Williams 83), Maynard, Saborio (Haynes 73).
POSH 4-4-2: Lewis, Whelpdale, Morgan, Zaukauni, Williams (Day 61), Rowe (Batt 61), Rose, Diagouraga, Boyd, Mackail-Smith (Martin 84), McLean.
REFEREE: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)
Dean Gerken 7
Made two superb saves in the each half to deny Mackail-Smith and keep the scores level. Otherwise sound and had no chance with the late, late equaliser.
Bradley Orr 6
Got the better of Boyd to the extent that the winger switched flanks after half-time to try and get some joy. Defended resoulutely but showed a dreadful first touch on more than one occasion.
Jamie McAllister 6
Macca strived to get forward at times but was fighting a lost cause. Had no help with no natural left-winger but did his best to create much-needed width all the same.
Lewin Nyatanga 7
Solid throughout despite his excertions in Finland and Liechenstein in the week with his country. Growing in confidence by the week.
Louis Carey 7
Led from the front again and not afraid to bring the ball out of defence. Solid in defence and not afraid to put his head on the line for the cause.
Evander Sno 6
Poor performance from the on-loan Ajax man but he was, yet again, played out of position on the right wing. Showed glimpes of his ability but is being wasted on the flanks. Sort it out Johnson and use him in the middle FFS!!!
Marvin Elliott 6
Battled hard for the cause but struggled to make a real impact in the game. Much better performance for playing in his rightful position though.
Lee Johnson 5
Decent first half was blighed by a poor second period. Too often slowed down the tempo of the game and it really grates me to see other, more gifted, players playing out of position to accomodate his limited ability.
Cole Skuse 7
Neat and tidy display from Skuse who continues to grow as a player from week to week. Took his goal brilliantly and battled hard.
Nicky Maynard 6
Wasted a glorious chance in the opening 5 minutes to open the scoring and set the tone but was otherwise well marshalled.
Alvaro Saborio 5
Surprised to see him in the line-up given his excertions for Costa Rica and it showed. Few good touches in a largely lathargic performance. Would rather have seen an in-form Clarkson given a run out.
Danny Haynes 5
Little time to use his pace and make an impact on the game. Could’ve been used to much better effect.
Gavin Williams 5
Had not even 10 minutes to make an impression and visibly struggled. Few neat touches but now more.
Same as Williams, nowhere near enough time to make an impression so why bring him on?
GARY JOHNSON – 4/10
Poor today. First half was good, plenty of possession but sat back (again) as soon as we scored. The Posh were there for the taking and looked vulnerable but City lacked any sort of killer instinct after the opener, not helped by a ridiculously narrow midfield.
DARREN FERGUSON – 6/10
Given the superiority complex between the two sides, he made sure they kept their heads at the break and it showed with the way they asserted themselves in the second period. Bagged a much deserved equaliser, no matter how frigging late it was.
Negative City Must Change
I’m sick to death of saying the same thing about this ‘score one and mother the goal’ attitude of Johnson’s, particularly at home. We don’t have the players to play a successful, fluid 4-4-2 so why play players out of position to justify it?
Today was a real chance to stamp our authority on the Play-Off positions and the Posh were there for the taking but our boring, negative tactics HAVE to end at home if we’re serious about the Play-Off’s.
Sort it out Johnson! Square pegs in square holes or loan some wingers. It ain’t rocket science!
What Must Clarkson Be Thinking?
So Dave Clarkson scores a midweek hat-trick in the reserves to add to the brace he bagged the week before. Saborio’s over the other side of the world representing his country at 1am on BST on Thursday morning and didn’t get back into Bristol until late on Friday.
Surely you would think, including Clarkson, that he would deserve to get his chance today? But no. He didn’t even get off the bench!
Christ knows what Johnson’s reasons were for this but I think it sends out a really bad message, especially when Saborio looked visibly unfit from his midweek exertions.
Clarkson deserved to start today but if that’s the message the gaffer’s sending out to the strikers, I’d be slapping in a transfer request first thing on Monday morning.