Close-season update from Nigel Pearson
Posted: Saturday, June 12th 2021
Saturday, July 6th 2019
There were plenty of cheers as close to 1,800 supporters flocked to see City in action for the first time in pre-season, as they put 14 goals past Hallen FC.
Summer was on its best behaviour for the annual community fixture, with the match supporting both the Bristol City Community Trust and Hallen.
Families were certainly enjoying themselves off the field at the Hallen Centre with a number of football-themed activities, while on the pitch Andreas Weimann was in his element netting a hat-trick during his 30-minute run-out.
Lee Johnson rotated three squads every half an hour of play and handed first appearances to new boys Rene Gilmartin, Tommy Rowe and Sammie Szmodics while also on show were the 2019/20 home and away kits featuring the return of the robin as part of the all-new club crest.
City's first XI: Gilmartin, Hunt, Wright, Webster, Rowe, Bakinson, Pack, Watkins, Eliasson, Szmodics, Weimann.
Szmodics looked bright and deserved his brace, with Marley Watkins getting on the scoresheet in a dominant early display from Johnson’s team. Substitutions followed on the half-hour and 60-minute markers, with Antoine Semenyo, Matty Taylor, Connor Evans, Jonny Smith, Saikou Janneh and Rory Holden all adding themselves to the scoresheet.
The Robins were off the mark in as quick as a flash when Weimann capitalised on a goalkeeper error to open his account for pre-season. Marlon Pack’s ball over the top caused problems for the onrushing goalkeeper Josh Staworski and the ball landed at the lurking Austrian on the edge of the area, who had the simple of task of striking the ball into an empty net.
But the Hallen shot-stopper was quick to redeem himself, smothering at the feet of goal-hungry Weimann, who looked to make the most of it after Szmodics saw an effort cleared off the line, before he tipped away a fierce strike from the City striker.
But there was little Staworski could do when Szmodics caught the keeper off his line, pulling off the perfect lob from distance to double City’s advantage within ten minutes.
Weimann grabbed his second of the afternoon as City settled into a rhythm. He needed only one touch to roll the ball int the far corner to finish off Jack Hunt’s cross.
With 15 minutes on the clock, the hosts had the chance to score from the penalty spot but Gilmartin, making his first City appearance, filled the goal frame to deny Hallen’s spot-kick and he quickly recovered to hold on to the rebound.
City would make them pay only moments later, with Szmodics netting his second goal after finding himself space in the box before drilling the ball into the net.
It was five courtesy of Watkins with Niclas Eliasson reminding the crowd of his assist abilities. The Sweden winger picked out the attacker at the far post who made no mistake from close range.
A superb solo goal from Weimann followed, as he confirmed his hat-trick with less than half an hour played. He intercepted the ball just inside Hallen’s half before motoring forward and firing low into the corner, beating the keeper at his near post.
The Robins made their first set of changes, 10 in fact with rotation key at this stage in pre-season. Only Gilmartin remained between the sticks, as the outfield players swapped the red and white colours for the new black away kit.
City’s second XI: Gilmartin, Vyner, Kalas, Baker, Soady, Brownhill, Walsh, Adelakun, Paterson, Semenyo, Diédhiou.
And it didn’t take long for the goals to return with Semenyo proving his eye for goal. He added City’s seventh and eighth goals of the afternoon, first blasting the ball into the goal from the edge of the box, grabbing his second via a deft chip over the keeper.
Young Robins keeper Jojo Wollacott soon got the nod to replace Gilmartin between the sticks but he was kept quiet until the referee awarded Hallen their second penalty of the afternoon. Unfortunately for the home side, Wollacott pulled off a diving save to keep his side’s clean sheet, shortly before the second and final wave of substitutions.
City’s third XI: Wollacott, Edwards, H. Smith, Moore, O’Dowda, J Smith, Evans, Holden, Hinds, Janneh, Taylor.
The new set of players were equally quick off the mark with Taylor netting inside two minutes of his introduction, finishing off squared pass from Janneh, who showed quick feet to cut in off the right. Taylor could have grabbed his second and City’s tenth goal of the afternoon but was frustrated to see a raised offside flag.
However more goals would come courtesy of low finishes from Jonny Smith and Evans. Taylor saw an effort deflected on to the crossbar but Janneh eventually squeezed the ball over the line to make it 12-0. He grabbed his second late on but there was still time for young Northern Ireland forward Holden to round off the scores with a dipping effort from outside the area.
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