'We got out of the traps quick' - Holden
Posted: Saturday, January 16th 2021
Tuesday, July 10th 2018
City have retained the 'Johnson Cup' after cruising to a 4-2 pre-season victory over Cheltenham Town.
Niclas Eliasson netted a first-half brace, with both goals scored just minutes apart, after Matty Taylor had tapped City into an early lead.
Adam Webster picked out the top corner to make it four on the night at Weston-super-Mare’s Woodspring Stadium, but Gary Johnson’s side got on the scoresheet just moments before the break through an unfortunate Eros Pisano own goal.
They gained more momentum in the second half when Will Dawes halved the deficit with a steered shot from the edge of the box.
But City held firm to claim victory for Johnson Jnr and secure a hat-trick of ‘Johnson Cup’ wins over his father, Gary who also managed City between 2005-2010.
Former Cheltenham Town midfielder Marlon Pack was among a handful of City players to be given a 70-minute run out. Jake Andrews, Joe Morrell and Taylor Moore also made appearances from the bench, following their loan spells with Gary Johnson’s side last season. Elsewhere, Hakeeb Adelakun and Webster made only their second appearances in City colours.
City were in control from the first minute and it didn’t take long for Taylor to grab his second goal in as many games, after tapping in from new teammate Adelakun’s left-wing cross.
Pack was then forced to block an Alex Adai effort as the Robins from Gloucestershire looked for an equaliser.
At the other end, Sweden winger Eliasson was making himself a nuisance and he forced Town keeper Rhys Lovett into a smart save after tricking his way past a handful of defenders in the penalty area. The shotstopper had to be alert shortly after too, when Josh Brownhill looked to make the most of a quick free kick, before denying the midfielder once more from close range as the minutes ticked by. City were certainly on top, playing a high tempo and looked good value in only their second match.
Gary Snr's side were offering an attacking threat of their own though and Mo Eisa thought he had equalised but could only flash a shot wide of Frank Fielding’s goal from a tight angle.
But City twice extended their lead through Eliasson, who first volleyed beyond Lovett at the back post before the winger made it 3-0 just moments later, this time racing on to a through ball before guiding a delightful shot beyond Lovett.
The fourth was Jamie Paterson-esque after Sunday’s friendly with Bitton AFC, as centre-back Webster burst forward before blasting the ball into the top left corner of the goal.
There was still time for Cheltenham to pull one goal back before half-time though, as Eros Pisano found himself the unlucky player when the ball struck him on its way into the net.
City made their first of two bulk changes on the hour mark, as Jojo Wollacott, George Dowling, Moore, Harvey Smith, Cameron Pring and Andrews replaced Fielding, Pisano, Webster, Nathan Baker, Joe Bryan and Adelakun, respectively.
But Gary Johnson’s side soon found a way through again, as Dawes steered home beyond the diving Wollacott, after Moore’s header away fell kindly to the Cheltenham man.
Eliasson went close to his hat-trick but his cross from the left wing wouldn’t curl quickly enough as Lovett saw it wide.
Eliasson would have to settle for the double however, as he joined Pack, Brownhill and Taylor for a well-earned rest, with Antoine Semenyo, Morrell, Rory Holden and Tyreeq Bakinson all brought into the game.
Northern Ireland youngster Holden, fresh from his goal at Bitton last weekend, looked to be an instant threat when he saw a shot blocked as the pace of the game began to slow with the sun setting over Weston.
Pring curled a free kick just wide of goal and a George Lloyd cross rattled Wollacott’s crossbar in the final ten minutes, but City held on to ensure the ‘Johnson Cup’ would be returning to Bristol.
City return to pre-season action when they host Shrewsbury Town at Ashton Gate this Saturday (July 14th, 1pm kick-off).
City starting XI: Fielding, Pisano, Webster, Baker, Bryan, Adelakun, Pack, Brownhill, Eliasson, Taylor, Diédhiou.
Cheltenham Town XI: Lovett, Long, Mullins, Forster, Trialist, Addai, Tozer, Thomas, Broom, Smith, Eisa.
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