Return to Main Page Home Page
| 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.
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.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
|Manchester City 3 Crystal Palace
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.
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.
Goals: Powell 32.
Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).
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.
Athletic 1 Manchester City 0 A
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.
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.
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.
Ref: M Dean (Wirral).
Return to Main Page Home Page