Return to Main Page Home Page
Manchester City 1 Newcastle 1
Wednesday 2nd February 2005 : Get Your Kits Out at the COMSTAD
Striking stalwarts Alan Shearer and Robbie Fowler both found the net at the COMSTAD on yet another night of frustration for under-achieving Newcastle and City fans.
Now rid of bad boy Craig Bellamy, Magpies boss Graeme Souness is hoping for a sustained end-of-season burst to carry the Tynesiders into a UEFA Cup spot next season.
Instead, he just got another inconsistent performance as his side faltered badly after Shearer had driven them into a ninth-minute lead with his 250th Premiership goal and, although Fowler's equaliser came from the penalty spot, it was richly deserved and kept Newcastle in the bottom half of the table.
Just three days after selling the man he bought to lead City into a new glorious era, how ironic Kevin Keegan should be on the wrong end of a goal from the player who will forever be synonymous with his time at Newcastle.
Shearer's time on Tyneside will be remembered with significantly more fondness than Nicolas Anelka's 30 months at Eastlands.
Such was the seemingly indifferent manner with which the French striker treated his stint with the Blues that he probably did not even know his old club were in action for the first time since his departure to Fenerbahce.
If he did, and he could be bothered watching, Anelka might have learned a little lesson in longevity and loyalty.
When he calls time on his career in May, Shearer will not have the medal collection a player of his unquestioned ability should beable to boast.
What he will have instead is a mindful of memories about the effort he put in trying to restore his hometown club to past glories.
His latest goal on a wet and cold night in Manchester may not rank that highly but for those privileged to witness it, it was a little gem, the kind he will be most famous for.
Ben Thatcher was caught glaringly out of position when Bramble launched a huge cross-field pass from well inside his own half. Ever alive to an opportunity, Shearer had spotted his chance, drifted behind the Welshman and then, after controlling with the minimum of fuss, smashed his shot into the roof of David James' net before the England keeper could move.
It was a goal Newcastle's first-half dominance deserved as City struggled to find their rhythm, although they were forced to survive a near calamitous mis-kick from Shay Given.
The Irish international had been a virtual spectator until he had to try and deal with Celestine Babayaro's routine back-pass. Caught out by a cruel bobble just before impact, Given sliced his clearance so badly for one awful moment it looked to be heading in before the keeper scampered back to recover.
City did not have to wait long for an unlikely equaliser though, four minutes into the second half to be precise.
But while the goal itself was a shock given the paucity of the hosts' previous attacking invention, its creator and scorer were entirely predictable.
Darting on to Fowler's deft flick, Shaun Wright-Phillips had definitely stolen a march on Titus Bramble as he entered the area.
Television replays were conclusive about the extent of contact as the City man crashed to the floorand the Newcastle man did not protest, and neither did Fowler as he strolled confidently forward and sent Given the wrong way, leaving him just six behind Shearer for the season. Questions should be asked why referee D'Urso didn't show Bramble the red card.
From being virtual bystanders in a game destined to go against them, the Blues were suddenly transformed with Fowler - the man Keegan must now rely on - galvanised most of all.
The former Liverpool player may have plenty of critics but the removal of Anelka from the City side does not appear to have done Fowler any harm and although Newcastle's defence may not be the best, he kept them busy with a series of intelligent runs with and without the ball.
Unfortunately for Keegan, Fowler's efforts could not bring the Blues a winner and neither could Thatcher, who - eager to atone for his earlier error and proving that the collapse of his move to Fulham would not affect his efforts for City - charged up and down the left flank like a man possessed.
Instead, the only noteworthy incident of the final half hour proved to be a booking for Paul Bosvelt which will rule the Dutchman out of the clash with Manchester United on February 13.
Man City James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Musampa, Fowler, Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 84).
Subs Not Used: Weaver, Onuoha, McManaman, Jordan.
Booked: Distin, Bosvelt.
Goals: Fowler 49 pen.
Newcastle Given, Carr, Andrew O'Brien, Bramble, Babayaro, Bowyer, Dyer (Butt 63), Jenas, Faye, Shearer, Ameobi (Kluivert 65).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Hughes, Robert.
Booked: Jenas, Bowyer, Andrew O'Brien.
Goals: Shearer 9.
Ref: A D'Urso (Essex).
0-0 Man City
Sunday 6th February 2005 : John Kemp at Stamford Bridge for Get Your Kits Out
A brave defensive display, led by keeper David James, helped Manchester City hold the leaders Chelsea.
After a quiet opening, James denied Damien Duff, Jiri Jarosik and Mateja Kezman, while Paul Bosvelt cleared William Gallas' header off the line.
Robbie Fowler should have scored for City but sent his header wide.
Chelsea had most of the possession in the second half but James kept out Frank Lampard's free-kick and superbly tipped the same player's volley wide.
City went into the game with the proud record of being the only domestic team to beat Chelsea this season.
And there was little to alarm them in the first 30 minutes as Chelsea - deprived of Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba through injury - struggled to pose much of a threat.
Indeed, it was the visitors who looked likelier to enliven a drab opening played at a lethargic pace.
Shaun Wright-Phillips - watched by England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson - showed his customary trickery to burst into the right of the area and deliver a dangerous ball, which was blocked by John Terry.
But Chelsea suddenly stepped up a gear and created a flurry of chances.
First, Duff got round Ben Thatcher and blasted in a shot that James parried to Kezman, who turned the ball wide. Chelsea really missed the match-winning finesse, strength and sheer agility of Arjen Robben
Soon afterwards, Jarosik found space in the area to powerfully head Lampard's corner goalwards but James tipped the ball over.
Chelsea were now looking more like Premiership leaders and James kept out Kezman's fierce drive before Bosvelt and James combined to clear Gallas' header from Duff's corner.
City broke swiftly up the field and the last chance of a frenetic spell should have resulted in Fowler celebrating his 150th Premiership goal.
Wright-Phillips raced down the left and crossed to Fowler but City's lone man up front, left free by Terry's slip, contrived to head wide when it seemed a breakthrough was certain.
The second half started as quietly as the first, although James was forced to divert a cross from the lively Duff away from Eidur Gudjohnsen's path.
There was a nasty moment for Petr Cech, looking for a ninth straight clean sheet in the league, when a series of ricochets saw Fowler chase a loose ball in the area and collide accidently with the Czech Republic stopper.
Another quiet spell followed, which Duff interrupted with a surging run that was halted illegally on the edge of the penalty area by Bosvelt.
Lampard stepped up to blast a shot through the wall and James somehow blocked it with his legs.
Another timely challenge, this time from Richard Dunne in time added on, prevented Gudjohnsen from getting in a shot.
There was still time for James to produce a sensational save to tip Lampard's volley round the post.
A great afternoons work by City, now for UniŁed next week
Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge, Jarosik (Tiago 56), Lampard, Makelele, Duff, Gudjohnsen, Kezman (Cole 63).
Subs Not Used: Johnson, Smertin, Cudicini.
Booked: Makelele, Gudjohnsen.
Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sibierski (McManaman 85), Musampa, Fowler.
Subs Not Used: Macken, Weaver, Onuoha, Jordan.
Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).
0 UniŁed 2
UNIŁED ENJOY LUCK OFF THE IRISH
James, Mills (Bradley Wright-Phillips 83), Dunne, Distin, Thatcher,
Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton (Macken 68), Sibierski, McManaman, Musampa,
Return to Main Page Home Page