Well after what seemed two disciplined and committed performances against Argyle and Cardiff, this one really felt like a pre-season friendly.
Sokolik still out as was Alex Bass, but the first sighting of Bobson Bawling.
City's young team had plenty of quality and we failed to impose our superior physical strength to stop them playing.
Our starting XI was in fairness all about giving a start to players who have seen less action so far. The back four was shaky. Bawling may be a wing back but is not a full back. Nabi is not suited to a 4-4-2 / 4-2-4. Dickson looked at home at left back - but can be more profitably employed in midfield.
City's first goal direct from a free-kick was world class. 0-2 at half time.
20. James Roberts 14. Samir Nabi 8. Asa Hall 10. Jason Banton
18. Jon-Paul Pittman 7. Ruairi Keating
Plenty of changes at half time as we reverted to 5-3-2 and we looked far more balanced and organised. Williams pulled one back soon after the break.
Bawling looked more comfortable in a more advanced role, but was replaced by Wynter just after the hour.
Although we were far more in the game with what was now more or less our first team, City managed to split our entire back five with a simple through pass to go 3-1 ahead.
After this, Cameron came off to be replaced by Olaf Koszela (now wearing a 12 rather than an 11). Koszela played just behind the front two in what was now a diamond. MacDonald was then replaced by a goalkeeper named George Burton who played for Lydney and Shortwood last season. Rumour has it that Bass may be doubtful for Chelmsford, so Burton may be a non-contract bench filler until Bass returns.
I would expect us to start with the 5-3-2 formation at Dorchester and at Chelmsford. Two either/ors would be Niate or Sokolik at centre-back and Reid or Keating to partner Williams.
Start of second half:
13. Shaun MacDonald
11. Bobson Bawling 4. George Essuman 15. Jean-Yves Koue Niate 17. Kyle Cameron 3. Liam Davis
14. Samir Nabi 8. Asa Hall 16. Ryan Dickson
19. Jamie Reid 9. Brett Williams
End of match:
1. George Burton
2. Ben Wynter 4. George Essuman 15. Jean-Yves Koue Niate 3. Liam Davis
In general the squad looks pretty decent though I fear were still short of a genuine strike threat. Defensively and in the middle of the park we look stronger than we have done in recent seasons and seem to have decent cover in most areas. Shame Bass is injured ( How, when, where?) I hope this isn't going to be a pattern in the coming months unless MacDonald is good enough. How did he perform?
Owers has stated he needs more bodies - the missing link - a genuine number nine target man hopefully.