This is what mid table looks like.
Competitive in games, prone to careless defeat but always capable of picking up points against most opponents.
Another frustrating defeat, which was basically settled from the bench with Bristol’s options transforming their previously underwhelming attack in to one which created panic along Town’s back line, and the inability of the hosts to convert their superiority in the first half in to a more comfortable lead.
A disjointed and tired second half contrasted with the more vibrant first but, even then, the team didn’t carry enough threat against a City side which dug in and only lost the lead from a single lapse which released Mbenza to put in a fantastic ball for Koroma, emerging (slowly) as something of a Grant replacement, to smash in to the roof of the net.
Dean Holden’s substitutions will have left him an extremely happy man on the journey back to the West Country. Semenyo was excellent and single handedly changed the whole dynamic of a game which had begun to trundle along as the home side ran out of ideas and their fluency deserted them. Old boy Jamie Paterson widened his manager’s smile with the winner from the bench as Town’s rearguard, so reliable at Millwall, melted away despite having enough numbers and more to snuff out danger.
There was a hint of hand ball in the lead up to the equaliser but with calm having left the building, the visitors’ momentum had already been established as they took control of a game they had not looked like winning from the moment they missed a convertible chance from a corner, which followed Wells hitting the bar from an unchallenged position early on. Nahki rather disappeared from the contest thereafter.
As witnessed in previous games, Town’s intensity can drop alarmingly; likely a natural propensity born of adjusting to a style which is yet to be fully absorbed. It was one thing coping with Millwall’s crude and agricultural switch around but another thing altogether dealing with the injection of dynamism from the Robins’ bench.
A late flurry failed to deliver an equaliser as the team faltered while trying to change gear and sloppy passing, particularly but not solely, by O’Brien, reduced the Terriers’ potential threat, which had been too light in any case.
The first half saw a reasonable performance topped with a very good goal, but the second was a painful reminder that Corberán still has an enormous amount of work to do with a squad which can deliver, but let’s itself down in games with spells where the style collapses alarmingly.
Luton, a different proposition from last season, up next. A win would get Town back on track but we may be witnessing a team running on fumes towards the useful sanctuary of the international break.