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5 things we learned: Great eight, paying the penalty, Hourihane persistence and much more

The Boss: Smith on eight in a row, pride in his players, being outright fifth, biggest attendance and Grealish/Kodjia absence Highlights: Watch Abraham and Hourihane goals in epic Bristol City win
5 things we learned: Great eight, paying the penalty, Hourihane persistence and much more

It was an outstanding team performance to beat Bristol City 2-1 - and keep our promotion hopes very much alive.

Check out what we learned in our ‘5 things’ feature below.

1] Great eight

Dean Smith will be hoping to be on cloud number nine next week as we travel to Bolton Wanderers.

For now, it’s great to have eight as we delight in a remarkable run of results that have put us firmly in the promotion picture.

This latest win means we’re matched the same set of results that Ron Saunders achieved in his promotion-winning 1974/75 campaign.

If we do happen to earn nine wins in succession next weekend it will be the first time we’ve done that since 1910/11.

They were achieved from October-December 1910, where we saw off Manchester City, Everton, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough, Preston North End and Notts County.

Here’s to matching that on Friday. 

CHBC22] Not sick as a parrot

Jack Grealish has been a huge influence in this brilliant run of results, as he’s shown his pace and grace to fire us up the table.

However, it was a different type of assignment for the team without their talisman, who was sidelined through illness against the Robins.

They certainly rose to the challenge with a performance showing both aptitude and attitude, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane and John McGinn impressing greatly in the middle ground with Grealish watching on from his sick bed. 

The result will hopefully have perked him up a little as he eyes a potential return to the squad next Friday. 

3] Keeping them in it

They were many heroes out there on the pitch in the claret and blue – but you’ve also got to give credit to the opposition.

In particular, Bristol City goalkeeper Max O’Leary was in inspired form and helped keep the Robins in the contest right up until the final whistle.

His superb saves came in both the first half and the second half – stops to deny Conor Hourihane, Neil Taylor, Anwar El Ghazi and Keinan Davis especially eye-watering.  

It could have been a far more comfortable finale but Dean Smith won’t be too fussed as he now enjoys a hugely satisfying weekend. 

TamBC44] Paying the penalty

Tammy Abraham showed he’s made of the right stuff as he fired home the opening goal from the spot in the 2-1 win.

Not too surprising given the fact it’s his fourth penalty scored this term among a collection of 24 goals.

But it came following a frustrating miss from 12 yards in the last game at Rotherham United.

The residue of that weak effort at the New York Stadium didn’t deter him from stepping up in front of an expectant Holte End.

And his effort this time was of the highest standard.

Good man, Tam!

CHBC35] Persistence pays off

Conor Hourihane must have wondered at some stages in this game if it was going to be his day.

Hourihane showed his quality throughout the fifth v sixth battle and had a plethora of chances to add to his goal tally, which stood at seven pre-game.

But he was denied twice by quality saves from Max O’Leary before heading marginally over when well-placed.

However, Hourihane is a top pro who has a never-say-die attitude in training and in games.

And it paid off when he produced a wonderful finish to essentially settle the contest in our favour midway through the second half.

The roar that greeted him at the Holte End was well-deserved.

Here’s to some more happy Hourihane moments as we look for a fantastic finale.

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Paul Brown
By @paulbrownavfc 13th April 2019