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James Crawley

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Posted Monday, May 13th 2019

2018/19: Season review

It was another rollercoaster campaign with many thrills and highs since August, including a 15-game unbeaten run, a first-career hat-trick and a new club crest revealed. Relive the season that was...

August brought with it a great sense of optimism and excitement as the new season dawned. Lee Johnson’s new-look side, which would consist of ten new faces as the season progressed, kicked off the campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Nottingham Forest. It was debut delight thanks to Andreas Weimann’s header inside the opening minutes, and the new striker raced to five goals by the end of the month as City started brightly, despite an early Carabao Cup exit.

Weimann netted on his City debut

Famara Diédhiou returned to action in September, a month which saw City start in good fashion with four goals against Blackburn Rovers, while Marley Watkins made it two from two when he grabbed the only goal in a home win over Sheffield United. The Robins would also suffer back-to-back defeats for the first time in the campaign.

Diédhiou scored his first home goal of the campaign v Blackburn Rovers

Injury concerns to Niki Mäenpää and Frank Fielding saw young goalkeeper Max O'Leary restored between the posts for the trip to Brentford in October and the shotstopper took his chance on the big stage, pulling off fine saves to earn a clean sheet on his league debut. In doing so, City grabbed their first win over Brentford since 2009 during a month of mixed results although O’Leary kept consecutive clean sheets with a follow-up win against Hull City back in BS3.

Niclas Eliasson's volley secured the 1-0 win

A run of four defeats followed, three of those in November, but this only brought out the character of the squad with a never-say-die attitude away at Portman Road. Goals from Diédhiou, Jamie Paterson and an own goal after young Joe Morrell came off the bench, helped City to a 3-2 win – which inspired the first of 15 consecutive games without defeat, including nine wins in a row!

Morrell made his league debut off the bench at Portman Road

December would therefore be the first of two unbeaten months which included a rare away win at Birmingham City. City also held their own against would-be champions Norwich City and today’s opponents, Derby County. They rounded off 2018 with Adam Webster’s first goal for the club in a 1-0 home victory over Rotherham United.

January could not have gone better, starting with a 1-0 New Year’s Day win over Stoke City where Mäenpää pulled off a super penalty save. City also progressed to the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round for the first time since 2001 and played, and beat, Bolton Wanderers twice in two weeks.

Mäenpää keeps out the spot-kick at Stoke

City’s winning run finally concluded in February after nine games, but not before they took maximum points off Swansea City, Blackburn and QPR. The end of February and March saw points dropped with sides at both ends of the table showing important points to play for. However, City overcame the Blades thanks to an inspired Weimann who netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Bramall Lane, to dent their promotion hopes and secure a league double over United in the process, all before travelling to Middlesbrough where they racked up another clean sheet and another set of three points on the road.

Off the pitch, the club revealed an all-new crest with the announcement that the much-loved robin would be making its permanent return for the 2019/20 campaign. It became the talk of the town but focus quickly turned back to action on the pitch with much of the current season still to go.

The robin returns

As April progressed, the Robins’ attacking prowess helped them to victory against West Bromwich Albion, but the points would be shared with Reading and Wigan Athletic. A big performance in the capital saw City pull off a fantastic comeback to beat Millwall 2-1, courtesy of O'Leary's penalty heroics, Diédhiou's 13th goal of the season and Paterson's stunning free kick.

Ultimately the play-off race was out of their hands for the final day of the campaign but Johnson, his staff and players can look back on another season of progress and now get to work as preparations for 2019/20 will soon be upon them.

Diédhiou ended the season as City's top scorer with 13 goals