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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, May 8th 2018

2017/18 Season review: August

August brought with it a great sense of hope as City kicked-off the 2017/18 campaign in style.

The club were in good stead, having returned from a successful pre-season which included a tour of Tenerife.

Make of pre-season results what you will, but City had looked good and deserved their seven wins from a possible eight throughout July as they worked on routines, fitness and one or two goals gifs.

On the transfer front, Eros Pisano and Famara Diédhiou had arrived from Verona and Anger respectively and both settled in well, while City’s goalkeeping options would only be boosted with the arrival of Luke Steele at the end of the transfer window.

Former loanee Nathan Baker had completed a permanent move from Aston Villa a month earlier and Academy graduate Bobby Reid had been working hard behind the scenes on his new striker role. Cauley Woodrow and Jonathan Leko also joined on loan from Fulham and West Brom, respectively.

And City kicked off the new campaign with a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Barnsley, with Reid picking up exactly where he left off in pre-season. It took the converted forward just 16 minutes to open his account for the season, while he set up debutant Diédhiou not long after, whose close-range header doubled their advantage. Reid made it 3-0 on the half-hour mark as the Robins soared to victory on the opening day.

Jens Hegeler celebrates after scoring against Plymouth

THE START OF THE CUP RUN

The Carabao Cup came calling as City hosted Plymouth Argyle for the first round, sealing a dramatic 5-0 win over their League One counterparts to earn a second round tie with the Premier League’s Watford.

It was another electric first-half display at Ashton Gate with goals from Jens Hegeler, Nathan Baker, Korey Smith, young Freddie Hinds and substitute Jamie Paterson all made light work of the contest.

And while Reid’s first league goal had marked the beginning of City’s Twitter gif craze, it would be Hegeler’s high-five gif which sent the club’s social media profile into meltdown; soon the players wanted their own to be the next best! There’s nothing like some healthy competition.

Disappointment followed however, as league action return in the form of a trip to St Andrews where Birmingham City ran out 2-1 winners. Reid pounced inside the first minute to make it two goals from as many games but Garry Monk’s Blues stole the show with goals of their own in either half.

CITY SHOW CHARACTER

But ‘bounce-back ability’ is a phrase City fans would soon become accustomed to as they made sure not to slip to a second defeat in a row, on the road at Brentford. City struck first for the fourth-consecutive game, before Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay looked to have staged victory in the capital. But there was still time for Reid to grab an equaliser and salvage a point with a strike in the last of eight added minutes.

This was followed by a 0-0 draw when Millwall travelled to BS3, where they made life difficult for the home side. Both teams hit the woodwork as the game came to a close but it was a share of the spoils in City’s first goalless draw of the season.

City were back on the road for their trip to Watford as focus turned to the Carabao Cup for the second time in two weeks. A much changed City squad went in goalless at half time, before Etienne Capoue put the hosts ahead after 47 minutes. But Freddie Hinds equalised from distance and Reid found himself back on the scoresheet when he converted Lloyd Kelly’s driven cross. The match was made safe when Niclas Eliasson slotted in with Adrian Mariappa pulling one back for Watford before the full-time whistle arrived.

Jamie Paterson roars with delight v Aston Villa

The month concluded with a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa where a cruel, second-half deflection proved costly. Paterson had pounced on a loose ball to give City the lead, in what was a closely-fought battle, but Josh Onomah’s speculative shot just minutes later flicked off the unfortunate Marlon Pack on its way past Frank Fielding.

Off the pitch, rumours were circulating of an imminent departure for fan favourite Aden Flint but the defender stuck by the club and his professional attitude soon earned him a permanent return to the first team, once the transfer deadline slammed shut.

And what a September he would go on to have.