Bristol City were beaten 2-1 by Luton Town at Kenilworth Road last night with goals from Tom Lockyer and Elijah Adebayo meaning all three points went to the home side despite Andi Weimann’s 14th strike of the season.
The Robins were desperately unlucky not to come away with at least a point as they dominated proceeding for the majority of the game and played some fantastic football.
Nigel Pearson’s side will have a chance to make amends on Saturday as they travel to Deepdale to face Preston North End but before our focus shifts to that match, we’ve outlined three things we clearly learnt from last night’s 2-1 defeat…
Progress is being made under Nigel Pearson
Though ultimately the result was a disappointment, there was plenty to be positive about for City at Kenilworth Road last night.
Supporters may have been expecting to see an instant impact when the experienced Pearson took charge last February but though progress has been slow, it was clear to see yesterday.
Injuries meant that 18-year-old Alex Scott and 20-year-old Han-Noah Massengo started in midfield but the young duo controlled the game for long periods, with the first half performance arguably the Robins’ finest 45-minute spell under the manager – apart from the goal.
Out of possession, City were hungry for turnovers and made it difficult for the Hatters to impose themselves on the game while the visitors moved the ball really well, playing some fantastic front-foot football and just lacking that final killer pass on a number of occasions.
It was a performance with its limitations but though this side is not the finished article, progress is clearly being made.
Nahki Wells could still have a role to play
Nahki Wells has not been the prolific goalscorer that City hoped he would be and indeed that he was at previous clubs before arriving at Ashton Gate but there were positive signs in his cameo yesterday.
He’s found himself down the pecking order this season – with Weimann, Chris Martin, and Antoine Semenyo Pearson’s favoured weapons – but got a chance from the bench yesterday as he replaced the latter after 76 minutes.
Wells looked full of energy in his short spell on the pitch and though he did put a chance to equalise into the side-netting late on, there were signs that he could still have a role to play this season.
Given his lack of minutes this season, it’s no surprise that he was a little rusty but he linked up well with his teammates – connecting with 7 of his 8 passes – and took up some dangerous positions.
With forward reinforcements looking unlikely in January, the 31-year-old could yet have an impact this term.
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Their defensive softness remains their biggest weaknesses
Pearson spoke after the 6-2 defeat to Fulham about the extra physicality that was needed defensively.
That has been all too clear in the two games since with both Cardiff City’s goals headers from crosses into the box and both Luton’s goals last night coming from set pieces.
Lockyer was allowed an uncontested run at the ball to head in the opener from a James Bree cross following a corner while City’s defending for the free-kick that led to the second was truly abysmal.
The absences of both Rob Atkinson and Nathan Baker due to injury clearly haven’t helped but the Robins need to find a way to be stronger defensively otherwise opponents will continue to take advantage.
As a converted wing-back, it’s hard to criticise Cam Pring and Tomas Kalas was good last night but Zak Vyner simply has to add more aggression to his game.
The potential signing of towering centre-back Timm Klose, who is reportedly training with the Robins at the moment, would certainly be one way to look to solve the issue.