Bristol City finally found their League One feet as they put a nightmare seven months behind them with an emphatic and much-needed victory against a Carlisle side which slumped to its second defeat under new manager Graham Kavanagh following a promising start to the game.
The first three-point haul since March for under-fire Robins boss Sean O’Driscoll came courtesy of a second-half hat-trick from hard-to-handle striker Jay Emmanuell-Thomas.
“Thomas was a handful all game,” Kavanagh admitted. “We knew he would be a threat because he’s a good player. We talked about it with the lads before the game. I thought we handled him all right in the first half, but we just couldn’t deal with him in the second.”
“We had a bad day at the office in terms of the result,” he continued.
“We’re disappointed that we lost the game but the lads put a good shift in. The work ethic and honesty was there but we lacked a bit of intelligence at times. We were reactive rather than proactive.
“You’re never happy to lose but the biggest positive was the way the players reacted. It’s a huge learning curve for some of them and I’ll never be too critical when we get the right type of performance. We’ve had a couple of individual mistakes but the lads have gone straight in to the dressing room and apologised.
“Sean O’Hanlon has held his hand up and Brad Potts was distraught when he came off and sat on the bench. I don’t like to see that but, then again, it is good to see that it matters to them as much as it matters to the staff and the fans.”
Kavanagh added: “I told the players that I was pleased with their energy and their determination.”