January 2005

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 West Brom 2 Manchester City 0    Baggies up for it!!
Saturday 22nd January 2005 : David Woolstone at the Hawthorns for Get Your Kits Out


Ronnie Wallwork capped his return from the cold in dramatic fashion by sealing boss Bryan Robson's first West Brom win at a snowy Hawthorns.

The former Manchester United youngster had been frozen out for over a season by Robson's predecessor Gary Megson and his Baggies future appeared bleak.

But Wallwork repaid Robson's faith by heading an 81st minute goal to see off Manchester City and provide his boss with his first Barclays Premiership win in 12 attempts.

Kevin Campbell had set the rock-bottom Baggies on their way to only their second win of the season by drilling home a low shot after just five minutes of his home debut.

And Albion's success was given raucous acclaim after a dominant performance against Kevin Keegan's out-of-sorts side.

Albion had found themselves under extra pressure before this evening kick-off when results elsewhere conspired to leave them eight points adrift of safety.

And things threatened to get even worse for Robson's beleaguered side when City came close to grabbing the lead with less than 30 seconds on the clock.

Shaun Wright-Phillips cut in from the right and crossed for Antoine Sibierski, who had time to turn in the box and fire a low right-foot shot inches wide of Russell Hoult's left-hand post.

But Albion responded in positive fashion and had already tested the visiting defence with fine crosses through Martin Albrechtsen and Jonathan Greening before Campbell's dramatic early intervention.

Once again it was the impressive Dane Albrechtsen who flung in a deep cross from the right for Campbell to sweep the opening goal past a diving David James.

Finding themselves in the unusual position of having an early lead to protect in such a vital game, Albion looked cool and confident.

Which was more than could be said for Keegan's below-par City, who were jittery at the back and looked like they were the ones battling desperately for Premiership survival points.

Campbell and Robert Earnshaw were finding plenty of space up front to run onto the long balls of Albrechtsen and the hard-working Wallwork.

Sylvain Distin was particularly hesitant and his poor back-pass in the 22nd minute turned into a chance for Earnshaw, who should have shot but instead attempted to lay the ball off to Campbell and saw the danger cleared.

Moments later Earnshaw ought to have got his head to Greening's precise cross as the visiting defence was once again caught out.

Hoult's long goal kick bobbled right through to Earnshaw who found himself clear on goal on the right but blazed his shot high and wide of target.

Sibierski drilled a lot shot wide for City and Robbie Fowler shot low straight at Hoult as the visitors were restricted to half-chances by Albion's tight defending.

Albrechtsen's long balls continued to catch out City's back line and almost sent Earnshaw clean through in the 34th minute.

Albrechtsen raced over the halfway line seven minutes from the break and after his shot was only half-cleared by Distin, Wallwork looped a shot just over James' bar.

Earnshaw almost made it two in the 43rd minute but his close-range effort was held low by James after Zoltan Gera's cross.

City looked a little brighter at the start of the second period and after getting in behind the Baggies defence, Sibierski's cross from the goal-line was held well by Hoult.

Five minutes into the half Fowler bustled through the Albion defence but was held up by his team-mate Jonathan Macken as he shaped to shoot. Hoult got up well to punch away Barton's resulting corner.

Gera's intelligent through ball might have sent the pacey Earnshaw clear in the 56th minute but City 'keeper James read the danger and raced from his goal to clear.

City began to increase the pressure with Fowler set up with a fine chance by Macken only to let the ball run straight into the arms of a grateful Hoult.

But only James could deny Albion a second in the 62nd minute when Greening's superb looping shot from just inside the box looked goal-bound until the stretching 'keeper tipped it over the bar.

Wallwork headed inches wide of goal in the 75th minute after a fine cross by Campbell as Albion continued to press.

Six minutes later he got the goal his performance deserved to virtually seal a priceless win for Robson.

He stooped to head home from point-blank range after substitute Horsfield had knocked back Greening's left-wing cross.

City's bleak evening was summed up two minutes later when Richard Dunne blasted home a powerful free-kick only for referee Graham Poll to order the set-piece re-taken for an apparent infringement.


Teams

West Brom Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Scimeca, Wallwork, Greening, Earnshaw (Horsfield 57), Campbell (Gaardsoe 90).

Subs Not Used: Contra, Kanu, Kuszczak.

Booked: Robinson, Gera.

Goals: Campbell 5, Wallwork 81.

Man City James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski (McManaman 68), Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 67), Fowler.

Subs Not Used: Sommeil, Onuoha, Waterreus.

Att: 25,348

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
 
Manchester City 3 Crystal Palace 1
Saturday 15th January 2005 : Myself at the COMSTAD for Get Your kits Out


Shaun Wright-Phillips enhanced his England claims with another devastating display of wing play as Manchester City put their FA Cup woes behind them at home to Crystal Palace and left me and my son Dylan more than a little pleased.

When Sammy Lee offers Sven-Goran Eriksson his opinion of Wright-Phillips' latest brilliant performance the England coach may find it impossible to leave the little winger out of next month's friendly with Holland at Villa Park.

It was not just Wright-Phillips' two goals - taking his seasonal tally to 11 - which caught the eye; more the sheer panic his appearance on the ball instilled in the Palace defence.

He opened City's account with an excellent finish from Joey Barton's through ball after 12 minutes and wrapped up victory in the final stages by turning home Robbie Fowler's cut-back.

The impressive Fowler also deservedly got his own name on the score sheet, doubling the Blues' advantage with a solo goal - and although Darren Powell pulled one back before the break, City were able to consign last week's costly loss at Oldham to the history books.

Any fears the Boundary Park debacle might prompt another City slump were quickly dispelled as the hosts tore into their opponents.

Palace boss Iain Dowie is an advocate of the scientific approach to football. But no amount of graphs and charts can provide an obvious solution to the major problem facing every City opponent - namely how to stop Wright-Phillips.

In his programme notes, Keegan described the England international as the heart-beat of his club. He might well have added lungs, legs and brains too - given how heavily City rely on the little winger.

It soon became apparent that Palace simply were not good enough to stop him.

Only poor finishing prevented Wright-Phillips from putting City ahead after he had left Powell looking stupid with a delightful turn on the edge of the box.

Having wasted one chance, he did not miss again when presented with a similar opportunity two minutes later.

The Palace defence were completely oblivious to the 40-yard burst which allowed him to pick up Barton's square ball and blast a shot past Gabor Kiraly.

All season long, Keegan has complained about his team's inability to make the most of territorial dominance - so when Fowler skipped inside Powell and rasped home a second within two minutes of Wright-Phillips' strike it appeared City were on their way to an easy win.

Kiraly had other ideas, though, and proved to be just as important to the Palace cause as Wright-Phillips is to City's.

Before half-time, the Hungarian had made half-a-dozen key saves - denying Fowler alone three times.

The former Liverpool and Leeds man, restored to the Blues line-up after missing last week's embarrassment because of a family bereavement, had one of his more productive games as City took command.

David James was livid at the slack marking which allowed Powell to get a free header at Wayne Routledge's free-kick.

But having got to the ball, credit must be given to the Palace defender who glided his effort into the corner - giving the City goalkeeper no chance.

If Richard Dunne had not slid in to make a last-ditch tackle on Palace danger man Andrew Johnson just before the break the visitors might even have got themselves level.

As it was, City survived - allowing Wright-Phillips to host another master-class at the start of the second half.

Whether he was running with the ball at his feet, scampering around looking for a pass, shooting or crossing, the City wide man was a constant threat.

One shot was deflected wide; another smashed into the side-netting - and Steve McManaman, on as a half-time replacement for Antoine Sibierski, nearly profited from a far-post cross which evaded every visiting defender.

While Wright-Phillips' best endeavours might have brightened up a dank, grey Manchester day, they did not bring City another goal - offering Palace the encouragement to launch their own bombardment.

Substitute Wayne Andrews and Mikele Leigertwood both saw speculative efforts flash just wide before Routledge caused panic in the City six-yard box with an excellent free-kick which both Dunne and Danny Mills failed to clear before Jon Macken eventually did.

City always seemed to have something to spare after that - and when Fowler, who received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Nedum Onouha in stoppage time, cut a superb cross back from the by-line a minute from time Wright-Phillips wasted no time in finishing the Eagles off.



Teams:


Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski (McManaman 45), Fowler (Onuoha 90), Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 72).

Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Jordan.

Booked: Dunne, Barton.

Goals: Shaun Wright-Phillips 12, Fowler 15, Shaun Wright-Phillips 90.

Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Boyce, Hall, Powell, Sorondo, Routledge (Shipperley 77), Leigertwood, Watson (Andrews 45), Soares, Lakis (Borrowdale 60), Johnson.

Subs Not Used: Speroni, Butterfield.

Booked: Leigertwood.

Goals: Powell 32.

Att: 44,010

Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).

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KK's programme notes for the Palace game.

Manager Kevin Keegan looks back on the recent performances and comments on the activity in the transfer window, in this preview of the Managers programme notes.
 
I have mixed emotions going into today's game against Crystal Palace. We started the new year with a home win against Southampton, to put us in the top half of the Premiership again, and then took a point from Arsenal at Highbury where we gave one of our best performances of the season.

But all that gets lost amid the bitter disappointment of going out of the FA Cup at Oldham last Saturday. It seems so typical of this club that just when things are starting to turn, we shoot ourselves in the foot. I am not the first Manchester City manager to suffer from that experience and I don't suppose I will be the last. That doesn't make it any easier to bear. We all went to Boundary Park full of optimism after the Arsenal performance, knowing how much we wanted and needed a good cup run.

The conditions were difficult and we made it harder for ourselves by starting poorly and giving away a bad goal. But we still had 70 minutes to get it back and I couldn't fault my players for the effort they put in, particularly in the second half. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. All credit to Oldham for the way they dug in and hung on to their lead. I still believe Lady Luck favoured them at times and that we should have been in the hat for the next round.

It was no surprise when their goalkeeper was voted 'Man of the Match'. We were without our two most experienced strikers, Robbie Fowler and Nicolas Anelka. Robbie pulled out on the Friday because of a family bereavement and Nicolas was injured, having already missed the Arsenal game. But I am not making excuses. The reality is that we lost 1-0 to a team from two divisions below us and we just have to take it on the chin. That's football.

I can promise you that none of our supporters can possibly have felt any more disappointed and frustrated than I did after the game. What is important now is how we all respond to this major setback. We are facing a test of character because we have some big games coming up next month, against Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester United.

It is easy to say our season is over and it is as far as winning a trophy is concerned. We had two opportunities, the Carling Cup and the FA Cup, and both of them have gone. We are like 16 other clubs in the Premier League. We cannot hope to win the League because we haven't got millions of pounds to spend on transfer fees or the wages to attract the very best players.

But we still have to be optimistic. Of course our season isn't over. Our target now is to reach the 40 points 'safety' mark and then finish as high up the Premier League table as we can. It is a difficult time for our supporters because other clubs are doing business during the 'transfer window', to freshen things up and stimulate enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, we are not likely to be able to bring anybody in and I am hoping we will not be losing any of our better players because the squad is small enough already. We would be selling our soul if we let a player like Shaun Wright-Phillips leave. I accept that he may well move on one day if he feels he cannot achieve everything he wants here.

If he left now, it would decimate the club because he has become a talisman. But we cannot keep expecting him to win us matches when he is only 23 and still learning his trade.

There has been plenty of speculation in the media about several of our players and the 'window' is open until the end of the month. But it could well be that we go into February with the same group, many of whom have played week in, week out.

That doesn't mean we are not capable of pulling together and finishing at least as high as we did in our first season back in the top flight, when we were ninth. Obviously, we have to pick ourselves up after last week's disappointment and get a result against Crystal Palace this afternoon.

We won 2-1 at Selhurst Park in September so we are looking for a 'double'. Palace also went out of the FA Cup last week although losing to Sunderland in the Stadium of Light is not as bad, in my opinion, as us going down at Oldham. Palace won promotion via the play-offs last season and have one of the best up-and-coming managers in the game in Iain Dowie. He took over half way through last season and hauled them up from an almost impossible position to win promotion.

He is still facing a big challenge to keep the club in the Premiership but they will be sure to make things difficult for us today. I would like to welcome Iain and one of our former players, Danny Granville, who I sold to Palace.

Briefly, we got a good result against Southampton here on New Year's Day and then produced a really good performance at Highbury. We played really well for long periods, got our noses in front and then dug in when Arsenal went up a gear and really tested us in the last half-hour.

They equalised eventually and desperately wanted to win the game to close the gap on Chelsea at the top but our players were equally desperate to deny them and I don't think anybody can say we didn't deserve our point. We had decided to play with three up against them, with Jon Macken in the middle, supported by Robbie Fowler and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who scored another brilliant goal - his second in successive games.

As I say, all we achieved against Southampton and Arsenal has gone out of the window because of our FA Cup defeat. But we must keep going. My resolve is as strong as ever. And I hope the players feel the same.



 

Oldham Athletic 1  Manchester City  0     A new low
Saturday 7th January 2005 : Alan Rowlands at Boundary Park for Get Your Kits Out


League One Oldham pulled off a famous FA Cup shock by knocking out Premiership Manchester City - 50 league places above the Boundary Park club.

Scott Vernon sidefooted home David Eyres' 16th-minute left-wing cross to send the home crowd into raptures.

Antoine Sibierski should have equalised in the 51st minute with a close-range header which was well saved by Les Pogliacomi.Picture

City manager Kevin Keegan had picked both Shaun Wright-Phillips and half-brother Bradley in his starting line-up.

Bradley Wright-Phillips and the returning Danny Mills were the only two changes made to the side which drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the Barclays Premiership on Tuesday, with Robbie Fowler left out and Nedum Onuoha dropped to the bench.

Captain Sylvain Distin, for whom the club rejected a £5million bid from Newcastle yesterday, was included but Nicolas Anelka, attracting interest from Turkish club Fenerbahce, was out with a back injury.

The League One side made just one change with Eyres coming in for ankle ligament victim Dean Holden.

The match at the second-highest ground in the country had been in some doubt up to a couple of hours before kick-off as 80mph winds had ripped off advertising hoardings, making least one of the stands dangerous before remedial work was carried out.

City, kicking into a strong wind, were always going to be disadvantaged but the way Oldham started really gave them cause for concern.

In the third minute Distin fouled Vernon five yards outside the penalty area and Eyres' free-kick was deflected off the wall for a corner.

The same player took the corner, swinging it in from the right, and helped by the wind it beat David James and curled into the far corner - although the effort was ruled out for an infringement just seconds before.

City's first effort came when Ben Thatcher found space on the left to cross for Joey Barton but the midfielder drilled his right-footed shot wide from inside the penalty area.

However, Boundary Park erupted after 16 minutes when Neil Kilkenny's searching pass picked out Eyres on the left wing and he slid an inch-perfect pass across the six-yard area for Vernon to side-foot home.

Most of the best attacking football was coming from the home side, and the driving rain which began midway through the half would have done nothing to improve the City players' mood.

Distin's diving header denied Kevin Betsy before City won their first corner, which was wasted by Joey Barton who failed to clear the first man at the near post.

Nine minutes from the interval, Vernon had a chance to make it 2-0 but drove another left-wing cross straight at James.

Eyres then came to the rescue at the other end by heading off the line from Shaun Wright-Phillips' lob with three minutes to go in the half, before Jon Macken's drive landed safely in goalkeeper Pogliacomi's midriff.

Incredibly, Oldham could have doubled their lead just two minutes after the re-start.

Mark Hughes' through-ball sent Betsy clear, but his clever lob landed on top of - rather than in - the City goal.

Sibierski should have equalised in the 51st minute when his close-range downward header at the far post was well saved by Pogliacomi.

Barton then placed a shot wide of the Oldham goalkeeper's left-hand post as City stepped up the pressure.

The visitors sent on Steve McManaman and Willo Flood for Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sibierski but they could not rescue Keegan's side.




Teams

Oldham Pogliacomi, Bruce, Haining, Daniel Hall, Griffin, Eyre, Hughes, Kilkenny, Eyres, Betsy, Vernon.

Subs Not Used: Bonner, Appleby, Mildenhall, Beharall, Christopher Hall.

Goals: Vernon 14.

Man City James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sibierski (Flood 68), Bradley Wright-Phillips (McManaman 69), Macken.

Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Onuoha, Negouai.

Att: 13,171

Ref: M Dean (Wirral).

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Arsenal 1 Manchester City 1   Arse snatch a point

If Arsenal were struggling to afford Shaun Wright-Phillips before he dealt their title bid a major blow, they would surely be unable to prise him away from Manchester CityPicture now.

But while the England winger's potential transfer value continues to soar with each superb display, it was the damage to Arsenal's championship chances which proved even more costly.

Only an inspirational overhead kick by Thierry Henry which set up Freddie Ljungberg for a late equaliser prevented Wright-Phillips' 30-yard drive from handing City their first Highbury win since 1975.

However, in truth, the damage was already done. For with Chelsea again winning, Arsenal's failure to keep pace with the leaders meant that the gap at the top has widened to a worrying seven points.

Only in a frantic late surge, with Robin van Persie striking the bar, did an inexperienced Arsenal side even threaten to pull off an unlikely comeback.

For not only was Wright-Phillips superb throughout, being watched by his stepfather, the Arsenal scoring legend Ian Wright, but so too were many of his team-mates.

Joey Barton may have let himself down at his club's Christmas party, but he never stopped battling in midfield.

And the central defensive duo of Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin were simply inspired as they held Arsenal at bay for so long.

Moreover, City were without leading scorer Nicolas Anelka, who was said to have a back injury, even if his absence did not induce Kevin Keegan into a safety-first policy.

Many other sides may have arrived at Highbury with a five-man midfield, but that is an alien concept to the City boss, who paired Jon Macken with Robbie Fowler.

Indeed, with just 35 seconds gone, Fowler's powerful header was acrobatically saved by Manuel Almunia at full-stretch and that set the tone for the first half.

Arsenal, who were forced to field an inexperienced line-up, threatened on the break, with 20-year-old Justin Hoyte shooting straight at David James on a rare forward surge.

However, City were otherwise working tirelessly to close Arsenal down in midfield, giving the home side little time to settle on the ball and few openings for Henry.

The Gunners were struggling to find their normal rhythm, even if there was still little warning of what was to come when Patrick Vieira was harried off the ball by Barton some 30 yards out.

The ball fell to Wright-Phillips and the exciting winger instantly let fly with an exquisite drive which flew into the top corner, giving Almunia no time in which to react.

If it was not for Sven-Goran Eriksson's unwavering faith in David Beckham, it would surely not be long before Wright-Phillips displaced the England captain from the national team.

However, Wright-Phillips was not finished there and promptly set Fowler through minutes later only for Hoyte to save the day with a last-ditch tackle.

Arsenal finally responded, with Vieira rising to meet Robert Pires' corner, but the ball flashed inches past the post as the Frenchman held his head in his hands.

Almost inevitably, Arsenal increased their pressure after the restart, with Distin deflecting Cole's low cross just past his own upright.

Cole's own header was also well saved by James, although Arsenal were struggling to make any real impression on City's superb central defensive partnership.

City's own attacking threats were reduced, with Macken failing to keep his shot on target at full-stretch after a mis-hit clearance by Almunia.

But Wenger needed to make a change, introducing Jermaine Pennant for Fabregas with 25 minutes left and moving Pires into central midfield as Ljungberg switched flanks.

Arsenal duly came again, with Pires producing a dipping half-volley, which James tipped over the bar.

With 15 minutes left, they were finally level, with Henry catching the entire City defence unawares with his moment of magic.

Ben Thatcher looked to be playing Ljungberg onside as Henry's overhead kick cross reached the Swede and his header beat James from eight yards out.

However, the winner agonisingly eluded them as van Persie rifled a free-kick against the crossbar soon afterwards, with Ljungberg unable to control the rebound.

Arsenal huffed and puffed in the final stages, but victory eluded them. City took the credit at Highbury but the real spoils of the night were being enjoyed across London at Stamford Bridge.

 

 

Teams:

Arsenal Almunia, Hoyte, Toure, Senderos, Cole, Ljungberg, Fabregas (Pennant 65), Vieira, Pires, Henry, Van Persie.

Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Clichy, Larsson, Owusu-Abeyie.

Booked: Toure, Fabregas, Senderos.

Goals: Ljungberg 75.

Man City James, Onuoha, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton (Flood 77), Bosvelt, Sibierski, Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 90), Fowler.

Subs Not Used: Sommeil, McManaman, Waterreus.

Booked: Thatcher, Barton, Bosvelt.

Goals: Shaun Wright-Phillips 31.

Att: 38,086

Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).

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Manchester City 2  Southampton  1
Saturday 1st January 2005 : MICHAEL MORGAN  for Get Your Kits Out at  the COMS

 

Anyone who witnessed the dazzling demolition job Wright-Phillips did on sorry Southampton would find it hard to dispute the City manager’s assessment that he is one of the finest players in Europe.  But the diminutive adopted son of former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright is not the only star shining brightly for the blue half of Manchester these days.

 


Pick that one out lads... Wright-Phillips fires his cracker

 

If they dished out a New Year’s Honours award for football’s comeback king, then Robbie Fowler would have to be a prime contender.

It is exactly two years since Fowler completed his £6million switch from Leeds to City and it has hardly been the most rewarding spell of the former England striker’s career.

In fact it has been one long, hard battle to rediscover the form and fitness that once made HIM the top flight’s most exciting performer with Liverpool a decade ago.

There have been times when it appeared a frustrated Fowler had virtually given up the fight and resigned himself to the fact his best days were behind him.

So the boot up the backside he received in September when Keegan left him out of the side for a month could not have been more timely. Or more productive.

Fowler, 29, responded by getting himself back in peak condition and hitting the form that earned him his Anfield nickname, Toxteth Terror.

And the standing ovation he received from City fans when he came off three minutes from time must have been music to his ears.

Fowler and David James have a friendship that stretches back to their days together as Spice Boys at Liverpool.

And City’s keeper revealed: “Robbie has grown up and his attitude overall has been so much better recently.

 


Collectors piece ... Paul Bosvelt heads Man City's opener

 

“Looking at his performances you can definitely see the influence he is having on the team.

“We are starting to see him again as the very talented player we all know he is.

“And it just shows that, if you are going to work hard in training, the you will perform better in matches.

“It is possible to have a good spell when you are training badly. But only for a short period of time — then it will catch up with you.

“During that spell Robbie was out of the side he worked very hard doing everything that was asked of him. And there has been a considerable improvement from him.

“A lot of that is down to the boss because he made the decision to take him out of the team.

“It was obvious Robbie wanted to improve. I know him well and we do talk about things. But he is not the type to come and ask for help.

“He likes to sort it out for himself although, having said that, when people talk he does listen.”

Fowler had a 34th-minute header cleared off the line by Danny Higginbotham and his contribution against sinking Saints was immense.

But it was still Wright-Phillips who stole the show with a display that would have had Sven Goran Eriksson, as well as Keegan, drooling.

Keegan enthused: “Shaun is the most exciting player in the Premiership. Throw any name you want at me, and I’ll put them No 2 behind him.

“He is terrific and our most important player. Shaun is so special.

 


DEJECTED ... Redknapp shows the agony of another defeat

 

“He has everything — you could put him on a concrete patch and he would still be the best player.

“If he keeps performing like this it is inevitable he will play for England. And, once he gets in, you won’t get him out.

“The fans will love him, the players will love him and the coach will love him.”

Wright-Phillips tortured Saints brittle back four constantly and killed them off with a breathtaking goal five minutes before the break.

City were already one-up courtesy of Paul Bosvelt’s glancing header after Richard Dunne had nodded on Fowler’s 19th minute corner.

Wright-Phillips then took a pass from Richard Dunne in the centre-circle, skated past two challenges and drilled home a 25-yard drive which went in off the foot of Antti Niemi’s post.

The sheer brilliance of it was even enough to have new St Mary’s boss Harry Redknapp momentarily forgetting his own troubles.

Redknapp said: “That little lad is going to be a big star. I would love to see him get in the England team because he is so exciting.

“He has fantastic pace and ability. He is a real talent, that’s for sure.”

’Arry Boy was far less enthusiastic about the survival prospects of his side.

Kevin Phillips gave the scoreline a semblance of respectability with a 90th-minute penalty after sub Peter Crouch had tumbled under a challenge by City skipper Sylvain Distin.

And the Saints striker wrongly had a 59th-minute effort ruled out for offside.

But Redknapp is still looking for his first win since replacing Steve Wigley.

He will get much of the £6.5million either Aston Villa or Everton will pay for James Beattie to spend on new signings and wants five — son Jamie from Spurs, Celtic’s John Hartson, Newcastle defender Titus Bramble and Liverpool duo Stephane Henchoz and Igor Biscan.

Redknapp said: “We lack that bit of quality and need to bring in five new players. That might just give us enough to stay up this year.”

DREAM TEAM STAR MAN: SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS (Man City) - Great goal put the icing on a fabulous individual performance.

 

Team ratings
Man City: James 6, Mills 7, Distin 8, Dunne 7, Thatcher 6 (Onuoha 6), Shaun Wright-Phillips 9, Barton 7, Bosvelt 8, Sibierski 6, Fowler 8 (McManaman 5), Anelka 7 (Macken 6). Subsnot used: Waterreus, Flood.
Southampton: Niemi 7, Telfer 6, Jakobsson 5, Higginbotham 7, Cranie 5, McCann 6, Oakley 5 (Crouch 6), Prutton 6, Delap 5, Ormerod 4 (Fernandes 5), Phillips 7. Subs not used: Dodd, Anders Svensson, Smith.

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