City fail to pass Taylor - report

Man City 0-0 Birmingham                    Return to Main Page

Mikael Forssell threatens for Birmingham
Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor was in inspired form to deny Manchester City a first Premiership win in 13 games.

Taylor produced a fine stop to keep out a Jon Macken header in an unexciting opening half.

He then saved a shot from Macken in the second period and from the rebound the keeper pushed Antoine Sibierski's header onto the post.

Birmingham showed little as an attacking force, but Damien Johnson could have stolen it late on.

After City's seven-goal thriller against Spurs in midweek, the two sides combined for a largely tame affair.

Despite their recent struggles in the league, City began the game brightly, seemingly buoyed by their Cup heroics.

They should have been in front when an unmarked Sibierski met Macken's cross with a powerful header that looked destined for the bottom corner.

But Taylor made the first of a series of superb saves low to his left and though he could not cling on, he combined with Jeff Kenna to claw the ball away.

21 mins: Taylor pulls off a fabulous save to deny Macken
75 mins: City are denied by a double save from Taylor and the post
90 mins: Johnson is given time and space to shoot, but fires just wide

The Birmingham stopper then had to be at full stretch to deny a long-range shot from Michael Tarnat.

But the Blues defence eventually got on top, with City missing the pace of Nicolas Anelka through injury.

Birmingham's only real scoring chance of the opening half fell to Johnson.

Stan Lazaridis found space down the left and he picked out Johnson, but he failed to connect properly and David James was able to save easily.

Mikael Fossell registered a rare shot for Birmingham after 51 minutes, but he failed to find the target after taking Bryan Hughes' return pass in his stride.

City were soon back on the offensive and the tireless Wright-Phillips broke quickly and when his square ball was dummied by Sibierski it fell kindly for Fowler.

But Kenna did brilliantly to throw his body in the way of his driven shot.

City had a penalty appeal turned down when the ball hit Birmingham's Jamie Clapham on the arm, with referee Paul Durkin ruling that it was unintentional.

City's frustrations grew on 75 minutes when Taylor pulled off a marvellous double save.

He produced a one-handed stop to deny Macken's shot, and when Sibierski followed it up with a header Taylor came from nowhere to tip the ball onto the post.

A minute later Tarnat drove in a shot that Taylor again kept out, although this time the luck was on his side.

Birmingham could have taken all three points when Johnson found himself free in the box, but he pulled his shot wide.

It would have been cruel luck on City, who are still without a league win since early November.


Man City: James, Van Buyten, Distin, Dunne (Jihai 55), Tarnat, Sibierski, Reyna (McManaman 70), Bosvelt (Barton 70), Wright-Phillips, Fowler, Macken.
Subs Not Used: Arason, Jordan.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Tebily, Cunningham, Purse, Kenna (Clapham 70), Hughes, Savage, Johnson, Lazaridis, Forssell (Morrison 79), John (Dugarry 45).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Upson.

Booked: Tebily.

Attendance: 46,967.                                                               Return to Main Page

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).