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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, April 28th 2018

We improved as the game continued - Johnson

Lee Johnson was encouraged by his team's second-half performance at the City Ground, as the Robins fought for a 0-0 draw against Nottingham Forest.

The hosts dominated the first-half chances but City mixed up their game to earn the point and a clean sheet in their penultimate match of the season.

The result leaves City 10th in the Sky Bet Championship, with a top-half finish guaranteed although their play-off and promotion hopes will go on hold for another year.

Reflecting on the match, head coach Johnson told BCTV: "I thought we started really well. In the first ten minutes particularly, we were slick with our passing and moved well but we didn’t get in behind them and trouble their goalkeeper enough but we were certainly in control.

"Nathan Baker then got knocked out, he’s alright now by the way. He was concussed and that killed the ebb and flow we had enjoyed. Then we made it too easy for them to penetrate us. We lost the ball upfront on a number of occasions which didn’t allow us to build from a platform."

Substitutes Eros Pisano and Josh Brownhill certainly brought more stability and energy to City's game in the second half, who weren't without chances of their own.

Famara Diédhiou looked to have put the Robins ahead at one point, only for his goal to be disallowed for offside.

That came after former Robin Lee Tomlin saw a penalty kick saved by Frank Fielding.

Johnson continued: "I had to change our shape to keep us in the game, to keep a clean sheet. I pulled Bobby Reid back which is not ideal but I had to do it.

"We improved in the second half. It was more even-sevens if not slightly in our favour and Frank has made a great penalty save and we controlled a lot more of the game."

On the penalty save Johnson added: "I quite fancied Frankie to save it [the penalty]. I was angry at the way we let Forest in to get the penalty initially but I always fancy Frankie in that type of scenario because he is so sharp off the mark.

And discussing Diédhiou's disallowed goal he said: "I wasn't sure if at first their player touched the ball through or not. I questioned that at the time but the referee has probably got the call correct."

Johnson has also confirmed that Baker, who was replaced after taking a ball to the face in the first half, is now "okay".

However, the defender won't be available for next week’s match at home to Sheffield United as FA guidelines state a player recovering from concussion should not play football until at least 14 days of rest.

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