BRISTOL CITY – 3
BARNSLEY – 1
BOBBY Reid’s sensational opening day display provided the major talking point of a hugely encouraging City performance.
While tougher opposition and more testing conditions may lie ahead, Lee Johnson could hardly have dreamed of a more convincing first 45 minutes of the season as his side romped into a three goal lead.
With eight pre-season goals under his belt, the irrepressible Reid helped himself to a quick brace, while also providing the cross from which record signing Famara Diedhiou opened his account for City with a far post header. Between them the new strike partnership ran Barnsley ragged during a 15 minute spell that settled the outcome.
Diedhiou’s strength allied to his accomplice’s elusive running and confident finishing had Ashton Gate fans purring their approval.
City’s first-half display oused confidence, with slick passing football. Every player looked composed on the ball and ready to exert every ounce of energy to win it back when dispossessed.
Reid’s self-belief was also evident at a post-match press conference, which saw him sit alongside Johnson. Asked if he could score 25 goals this season, he barely batted an eye and replied: ‘Hopefully.’
‘Don’t bet against it,’ added an understandably upbeat head coach. ‘Bobby was fantastic today. Both our front two were excellent and the pleasing thing for me apart from the goals was their work rate.
‘The energy they put in made things easier for our midfield and defenders. We have had injuries to some of our strikers, but I can hon- estly say that Bobby would have been given a chance up front anyway.
‘I first talked to him about it at the end of last season. He is a player who has al- ways been close to my heart because I played with him and also signed him when I was at Oldham.
‘Bobby got frustrated at not playing last year and I wanted to give him another option because his attributes are exactly what I look for in a number nine and a half.
‘He is a great finisher and very brave. Giving him the chance to operate 15 yards further up the pitch enables him to get into the box a bit earlier and, with a growing understanding of the position, he was always going to be effective.”
Reid bubbled over with enthusiasm for his new role. ‘I loved every minute of it out there,’ he said.
‘Two goals and an assist were fantastic for me, but more importantly as a team the things we had worked on in pre-season really paid off.’
An assured Reid finish into the roof of the net from inside the box on 16 minutes broke the deadlock after Diedhiou’s impressive physical presence had eased his marker off the ball to create the opening. Looking remarkably like Jonathan Kodjia, with a similar bandage on an arm, Diedhiou showed excellent close control to match his strength and great spring to climb above his marker to nod home Reid’s 25th minute cross.
Reid displayed the predatory instincts of a striker to score from close range five minutes later after a shot from the inspired Joe Bryan was palmed away at full stretch by Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies.
The game was over as a contest as the work ethic among City’s players ensured their opponents never had a sniff of a comeback. Jamie Paterson’s skilful touches still ensured there was no shortage of entertainment.
Substitute Ryan Hedges dashed Frank Fielding’s hopes of a clean sheet in stoppage time, with a low shot from ten yards following a goalmouth scramble, but it was far too late to make a difference. Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half. Josh Brownhill’s third-minute shot from the edge of the box was tipped onto the crossbar by Davies.
Barnsley also looked dangerous in the early stages and George Moncur’s tenth minute curler from 25 yards