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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, April 10th 2018

Johnson reflects on historic win over Birmingham City

A delighted Lee Johnson hailed City's "aggressive" and "energetic" display after they secured a 3-1 win over the Blues at Ashton Gate.

Marlon Pack's well-dispatched free kick was followed up by Bobby Reid's close-range strike, while substitute Matty Taylor steered in the third after Birmingham City had halved the deficit.

City's win puts them back within a point of Middlesbrough, who lost 2-1 against Sheffield United, ahead of the trip to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

Reflecting on Tuesday night's victory over Birmingham City, City's first since November 2nd 1993, head coach Johnson told BCTV: "I’m very happy. My starting XI gave to the crowd exactly what we needed to give them.

"Our performance was aggressive, energetic but it was still a tough game. Birmingham City have been in good form so they came here with confidence but we caught them on the hop.

"We needed to do something and I asked for early deliveries into the box, to increase the tempo and it was good. I was pleased with everyone, including the subs who came on as well."

WHAT HE SAID:

"Our performance was aggressive, energetic but it was still a tough game...I was pleased with everyone, including the subs who came on as well."

Head coach Lee Johnson

Marlon Pack fires City into an early lead

PACK SETTLED THE NERVES

Pack fired his 25-yard free kick beyond the diving David Stockdale after Reid had been fouled on the turn after 12 minutes.

And the early goal was exactly what the home side needed, as they looked to recover their form.

"Marlon does that regularly in training!" Johnson said. 

"It was a bit too far out so I thought he wouldn’t get it from that far out but it was a great strike. That was important because it settled the nerves, got the crowd back on our side and we went on from there."

Reid celebrates his 20th goal of the campaign

MILESTONE FOR REID

City's second saw Reid, tonight playing off the wing, grab his 20th goal of the season - his 18th in the Championship.

Johnson said: "It was brilliant. Yes goal number 20, I forgot about that!

"The goal was perfect from the team selection with Joe Bryan cutting in on his left, Famara Diédhiou peeling off and Reid slotting in. I’m very pleased with that goal and for Bobby. It’s exceptional, to get 20 goals considering it’s his first season as a striker."

“Who knows?” He added when asked if he could improve it further next year.

Terrific Taylor: The substitute sweeps home his third goal of the campaign

TAYLOR TUCKS HOME THIRD

Striker Taylor then came off the bench to add the icing on City's cake, as he struck to make it 3-1 with a little over five minutes of regular time remaining.

Johnson continued: "It’s been difficult for him. It’s been a disaster of a year for him, injury-wise but he has looked good. He’s a pest, he’s sharp, we know he can finish and he can cause problems.

"It was nice to see him celebrate with the physiological department, give them a big cuddle. He’s a big player for us, be it starting or on the bench, and that’s probably cost us at times.

"We need players in form and our last two performances have not been anywhere near the standards we have set all year so we had to change something.

"We have been doing the same thing and expecting a different result so that’s why I was pleased today. The lads bought into what I wanted from them, we were too stretched and open at times but in the second half we adjusted some positions.

STILL ROOM TO IMPROVE

"We still conceded too many shots but we’re in a position where we have to go for a win and I’m delighted for everyone that they have seen a good game of football tonight and a good win.

"It’s a big, big game [at Middlesbrough]. Everybody in the hunting pack knows the importance of these remaining games but for me, we have to continue improving. We are doing everything to knick that fifth or sixth spot but if it doesn’t happen this time, then we will go and do it again next year."