Bristol, Coventry and Exeter: Football League cities with winless streaks to calm Nigel Pearson after loss to Scott Parker’s Bournemouth in 16th game at Ashton Gate

Only 443,010 people had been double vaccinated on January 26, 2021. Less than six million people had been administered a first dose of either Pfizer or Astra Zeneca, that’s less than 11% of the English population having received any form of vaccination.

265 days later and the total number of doses now stands at 94.8 million (14.8 times more than the January total). There are now also 44.8 million fully vaccinated occupants in the country, for reference that’s 67.5% of the population.

In the same time Bristol City have been setting their own ongoing record. During that 265-day period the Robins have gone on a historic winless run at Ashton Gate spanning 16 games. Manager Nigel Pearson has been in charge at BS3 since February 22, 2021 and resultantly is yet to get three points at his new home ground.

Despite being 22nd in the Championship table on home form, City currently sit 11th in the overall standings due to their outstanding away record this term. With four wins in six on the road they have 12/18 points on their travels, but it’s their winless time at home that is costing them.

Even being comfortably beaten by table toppers Bournemouth on Saturday Pearson continued to insist that his men haven’t been as bad as their record suggests.

He said:

“We’ve played okay at home this year, we’ve played games here this year, this season, that we should have won. We haven’t done.”

Nigel Pearson speaks after his sides 2-0 loss to Bournemouth

With Nottingham Forest on the horizon tomorrow night for the Bristolians they have a chance to end their streak. Forest are 16th in the table and rank below City in the away standings, despite having one victory to their name.

Although City’s run has attracted plenty of criticism from the fans, it isn’t the worst run we’ve seen. After dusting off the not-so-ancient history books, putting on the detective glasses and suiting up for a winless ride, there are a few lengthy spells that popped up.

Exeter City 2016/17 – 259 days (2nd April – 17th December)

Although Exeter City’s baron home streak without a win has now been surpassed by Bristol City’s blunt shy home team, their run of 259 days is still notable enough to earn a special mention in this list.

Spanning over the final three home matches of a disappointing 2015/16 campaign that ended in a 14th placed finish in League 2, condemning Paul Tisdale’s side to a fifth consecutive year in England’s fourth division, the Grecians had found victories at St James’ Park hard to come by.

After only winning six of their 23 home matches, they recorded 11 victories away from home (taking six more points on the road as well, 29-35).

This end of season home hoodoo was unfortunately followed up by a dry spell to open the 2016/17 season. It took them 10 more home games to get a first win, ending their total 13-match run with a 2-0 victory over Mansfield Town.

Their eight-month wait to score more than their opponents at home was finally ended with an Ollie Watkins brace. They managed to shake off their poor start and recover to only lose two of their next 14 home games which saw them achieve a play-off final position.

Over the course of the season they still ended with more away wins (8-13) and had nearly double the amount of away points as they had home ones (23-42).

Coventry City 2011/12 – 353 days (13th April 2011 – 31st March 2012)

Exeter’s home run may have gained attention for all the wrong reasons, but it was little compared to Coventry City’s winless run away from home that currently outdoes Pearson’s unwanted Bristol City attempt.

Just 12 days shy of going an entire year without an away victory, the Sky Blues managed to secure three points at the then KC Stadium against Hull City.

Aidy Boothroyd started the 2010/11 season in charge at the Ricoh Arena, but it was his predecessor Andy Thorn that was in charge for the entirety of this 11-month spell. Little would the City fans have known, but an enjoyable 3-0 away win at Fratton Park would be the final win on the road for almost one year.

Spanning 24 trips away from home and nearly achieving the reverse of Manchester United’s 29-game unbeaten away run, Coventry’s shambolic season unsurprisingly ended in relegation. Their 2-0 win against Hull would end up the only win on the road that season and it came at the 19th attempt.

More possible woes for Pearson

Perhaps Scott Parker’s scintillating Cherries were always going to be a step too far for a City side that lack confidence at home as it is.

Speaking after Saturday’s loss, he gave an honest verdict: “Today I can’t really talk too much about there being a problem with us. We were outplayed.”

The visit of Steve Cooper to Ashton Gate tomorrow represents a much more realistic opportunity for the Robins though.

Although the Reds picked up three points against Blackpool at the weekend, Pearson must be fancying his sides chances. The problems could arise if the record continues to extend itself. After Forest, City face 22nd placed Barnsley on their own patch but by then the days counter could have extended beyond 275 days.

With the expectation and pressure that playing in front if your own fans it is easy to see why runs like these spiral out of control. Pearson remains balanced though, and he knows that football is a simple game.

“I don’t sense there being any anxiety around the players about it, it’s just a record which is quite bizarre actually.”

He finally joked: “We’re just going to have to keep winning away aren’t we!”

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