Team: Kenny, Orr, Walker, Hill, Gorkss, Derry, Taarabt (Vaagen Moen), Faurlin, Mackie, Smith, Hulse.
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Borrowdale, Rowlands, Clarke, Agyemang, German.
I’m obviously frustrated and disappointed like everyone else that we didn’t take the 3 points on offer. There was a slight re-shuffle at the back following Connolly’s red card at Norwich. The visitors missed a sitter and although we were controlling the game, a defensive error by Clint Hill allowed Bristol City to take the lead. We did then step up a gear and showed greater urgency. After some wonderful play by Adel Taarabt and Jamie Mackie, we soon bounced back, when 3 minutes later, Taarabt set up Faurlin beautifully from the bye-line.
There were two good shouts for hand-ball in the box, but Mr Graham wasn’t interested. I had a very clear view of the second one. However, he did eventually point to the spot following a tug on Hulse in the 84th minute. Alan Pardew was watching you know who from the Stand and although it is now customary for him not to play the full 90 minutes, I think it was a mistake to take Taarabt off. Four added minutes went up and Bristol City managed to equalise through some sloppy defending after Paddy Kenny had made a sensational save, which led to the dramatic corner kick. It had been nearly all Rangers, knocking the ball around with style and ease.
Before the match, it was confirmed that Tommy Smith had indeed been signed up and had a very good game, although he did miss a very good opportunity at the death. The stats reveal that both sides each had 6 on target but not so surprising was the fact that we had 14 off target and the visitors had none. Sorry, have to say that at the moment I really don’t think Hulse is the answer. He had a number of very good crosses aimed at him which he really should of done much better with. Campbell-Ryce was a real handful for Bradley Orr which resulted in him also getting booked. Despite the two defensive errors, if we’re going to remain serious promotion contenders, teams like Bristol City really should be put to the sword.
Hulse was poor, he’s no Helguson is he ! Heidar, I think, would probably have helped himself to a couple of goals. Taarabt was good, even though he seemed to be extra stroppy today. Mackie deserves some credit for Faurlin’s goal. He beat a couple of players well before crossing to Taarabt who then actually picked out a very good pass for him. Paddy Kenny pulled off a fantastic save but it led to the corner which they equalised from, shame about that.
I thought that Warnock was very slow in making substitutions. Hulse should of been taken off long before we took the lead. I think the pace and strength of Agyemang would’ve worked quite well in that situation. Also thought that the centre backs played pretty well other than the 10 seconds of madness that led to their two goals ! Hill played a couple of fantastic long balls and they both generally dealt with the very few problems that City posed, but Warnock will not be happy with them all the same.
Walker was again very good, he’s really grown on me, but he needs to learn not to get horribly out of position. On one occasion he was a right winger when he was meant to be at left-back, but otherwise he’s a quality player. He stayed behind after all the other players had gone, perhaps there won’t be an extended loan after all ? I think we desperately need him, he’s versatile and with Borrowdale the only defender on the bench, he’d be a valuable addition even if only until May as we simply have no back-up in this department. It almost felt like a defeat after, but we extend our lead so I can’t really complain too much.