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Players solved Bath problem themselves - Johnson

Lee Johnson was pleased with the way his players solved the problem of breaking down a resolute Bath City side at Twerton Park tonight.

Johnson’s men were held in a goalless first half in which young City keeper Max O’Leary proved unbeatable for the Romans.

But the floodgates opened soon after the restart as Jamie Paterson’s penalty, Bobby Reid’s header and Joe Bryan’s low finish arrived in the space of ten minutes to kill off a spirited effort from the hosts.

The head coach revealed after the game he deliberately left his team to come up with the answers of how to find the space they needed to breach the Bath backline.

“Purposely, as a bench, we didn’t say anything,” Johnson told BCTV. “They (Bath) worked ever so hard in the first half to shut off our angles and distances, so it was very difficult for us to break them down.

What did we need to do to create more opportunities? We needed to create width. How do we create width? By getting the full backs high and wide or by getting the wide men dovetailing."

Head coach Lee Johnson

“We didn’t play with enough width, but we didn’t say anything to the players because we wanted them to work it out for themselves.

“We just asked them questions. What did we need to do to create more opportunities? We needed to create width. How do we create width? By getting the full backs high and wide or by getting the wide men dovetailing.

“We ended up playing 4-2-2-2 in the first half and there was no width at all, so it was easy for the other team to pick off our passes defensively.

“That changed at half-time but the players solved the problem – that’s the key.”

Meanwhile, Johnson confirmed Korey Smith’s substitution shortly before half-time was purely a precaution after the midfielder was on the receiving end of a crunching tackle from Bath’s ex-City man Billy Murphy.

The head coach added that Smith could even be involved again when a young City team travel to Torquay United on Wednesday (7.30pm) for a fourth friendly fixture in five days.