NOVEMBER 2004 Match Reports
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Jamie Ashdown & Portsmouth 1 Man City 3
Shaun Wright-Phillips was Manchester City's inspiration as they inflicted a third successive Premiership defeat on Pompey to go above them in the table.
The England man punished a defensive error by firing City into a lead they held for just two minutes.
Gary O'Neil volleyed Pompey level, but Antoine Sibierski's equally crisp volley deservedly restored City's lead.
Paul Bosvelt followed up to seal victory after great work by Wright-Phillips opened up the Pompey defence.
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp had hardly taken his seat after collecting his manager of the month award when he saw his side fall behind.
A slip by Dejan Stefanovic was all that Wright-Phillips needed to collect the ball and clip the ball past goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
But Portsmouth drew level within two minutes as David Unsworth found space on the left to deliver a telling cross and as City defenders stood rooted to the spot, O'Neill zeroed in to side-foot a volley past David James for his first Premiership goal of the season.
Nigel Quashie almost threaded a pass through the eye of a needle for Ricardo Fuller, only for Sylvain Distin to snake out a leg and intercept.
The gamble to start Lomana LuaLua, who had been carrying a groin injury, failed when he limped off on 25 minutes to be replaced by former City favourite Eyal Berkovic.
But within a minute, City were forced to re-shuffle when Nicolas Anelka hobbled off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Robbie Fowler.
City's marking again proved woeful when Amdy Faye escaped at a free-kick to power in a header which James tipped over the bar.
Unsworth was struggling against Wright-Phillips' pace and when the Portsmouth defender hauled the England man down he was shown his fifth yellow card of the season, triggering a suspension.
Arjan De Zeeuw was booked for tugging back Fowler and almost paid double when the former Liverpool striker escaped his marker at the resulting free-kick and planted his header into the side-netting.
City asked the question at the start of the second half and after Distin delicately touched back a corner at the far post, Stefanovic just got a foot in to take the sting out of Stephen Jordan's shot.
Richard Dunn threaded a pass into Wright-Phillips' stride and the England winger picked his way through four blue shirts before pulling his shot just wide.
Ashdown looked distintcly uncertain as Joey Barton whipped in a corner but atoned for it with a fingertip save as Jon Macken worked himself a yard of shooting space.
City's marking again gave cause for concern when Unsworth was left unattended to plant a header at James from six yards out.
Conditions were treacherous underfoot and Linvoy Primus needed to time his tackle perfectly as Sibierski moved on to Macken's flick.
Ashdown kept his side alive when he launched himself to his left to tip away Fowler's full-blooded drive.
Manchester City began to turn the screw and Stefanovic made up for his first-half error with a last-ditch tackle on Wright-Phillips as he cocked the trigger.
Ashdown was again the winner as Fowler let rip with a full-blooded drive but for all their superiority City again escaped as a corner dropped for De Zeeuw, prompting a manic scramble before the ball was hacked clear.
City finally made the breakthrough they had threatened on 78 minutes when Fowler skipped past Unsworth on the right touchline and crossed to the far post where Sibierski volleyed home from 10 yards.
But almost immediately Unsworth almost punished some lax defending when he headed over from eight yards.
City deservedly sealed the points as Bosvelt tapped into an empty net after Ashdown had parried Wright-Phillips shot.
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Primus (Griffin 85), De Zeeuw, Stefanovic,
Unsworth, O'Neil, Quashie, Faye, Berger (Taylor 74), LuaLua (Berkovic
Booked: Faye, Unsworth, De Zeeuw.
Goals: O'Neil 8.
Man City: James, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Shaun
Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton, Sibierski, Macken, Anelka (Fowler 27).
Goals: Shaun Wright-Phillips 6, Sibierski 79, Bosvelt 87.
Ref: M Messias (S Yorkshire).
Man U£d 0-0 Man City Battling Blues are still Manchester's best
United were shut out for the second successive Premiership game by a resolute and determined City side, who offered little of an attacking threat.
City survived some erratic handling from David James, while Louis Saha scorned United's best chance, heading wide from six yards.
United's Alan Smith was sent off for a second bookable offence.
United made a rip-roaring start, with Mikael Silvestre refused a first-minute penalty when Sylvain Distin's tug on his shirt denied him a free header.
Paul Scholes then pinged a peach of a 60 yard pass to Louis Saha who chested the ball down and saw David James get a piece of his shot to allow Stephen Jordan to hare back and scrape it off the line.
United had another strong penalty appeal waved away when Anton Sibierski blocked Saha before Danny Mills hooked the ball away as Alan Smith closed in.
City almost caught United short-handed at the back and Nicolas Anelka might have done better when Sibierski's long pass picked him out and his attempt to loop a header over Roy Carroll was a weak one.
The early traffic was one-way and with even lone striker Anelka forced deep to help man the pumps, City found it hard to break out of their half.
A rare City raid saw Roy Keane yellow carded for a foul on Willo Flood and from the resulting free-kick, Distin rose at the far post to plant a header at Carroll.
Mills' foul on Ronaldo presented United with a chance 19 yards out but the Portuguese international picked himself up to blast his shot straight into City's defensive wall.
The under-employed Carroll had to be alert to gather as Shaun Wright-Phillips threatened to latch on to Anelka's flick while at the other end James failed to hold Ronaldo's shot and was relieved no red shirt was on hand to cash in on the loose ball.
James flapped unconvincingly at Saha's cross after the Frenchman skipped past Dunne at the start of the second-half but again escaped punishment.
City were defending heroically and Mills just got above Smith to win the ball as the United striker looked favourite to head home Neville's flick.
James' erratic handling conitnued to put City hearts in their mouths, and when the England keeper spilled the ball in gathering ahead of Scholes he escaped again as Saha rattled his shot straight at him.
City were bailed out by Steve McManaman, on sentry duty on the post, who scraped Smith's acrobatic bicycle kick off the line.
United opened City up with Saha's reverse pass sending Giggs free but with only James to beat he fired wide.
Distin then got up just to nick Giggs' cross off Saha's head and was relieved to see the ball deflect inches wide of the goal.
As United's frustration increased, Smith's reckless late challenge on Dunne earned him a second yellow card from referee Poll.
Even after that, United might have snatched a winner but Saha headed wide from six yards out.
Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze,
Miller (Giggs 46), Keane, Scholes (Rooney 77), Ronaldo, Saha, Smith.
Sent Off: Smith (89).
Booked: Keane, Smith.
Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Flood, Bosvelt,
McManaman, Sibierski, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anelka.
Booked: Jordan, Flood.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
Man City 1-1 Norwich City take a point off bottom club
Monday 1st November : Get Your Kits Out at COMS
Willo Flood put City ahead with a volleyed shot from outside the box, which slipped through Green's hands.
But Damien Francis equalised for Norwich after a defensive mix-up gifted him the chance to slot home.
Flood hit the post in the second half and Craig Fleming was lucky not to concede a penalty as Norwich held on.
Norwich, who had not scored in more than five hours of football on their travels, had their first chance of the game - and their best of the half - after just six minutes.
Darren Huckerby's free-kick found McKenzie in the penalty area, but the striker failed to connect with the ball.
It proved to be the visitors' last sight of goal for a while as City dominated, with Flood seeing plenty of the ball and making good use of it.
Norwich boss Nigel Worthington must have been watching with an envious eye as the 19-year-old continually linked up well with Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
And Worthington's jealousy must have turned to rage when Wright-Phillips found Flood with a cross-field pass and the youngster's first-time volley embarrassed Green.
By contrast, Norwich - and Huckerby in particular - were finding it hard to get involved in the game.
But when they did find a way through, Francis saw his shot well saved by David James.
Fortunately for Norwich, their hosts were finding it equally difficult to get past Green, who had by now recovered from his earlier howler.
Wright-Phillips and Anelka were both denied by good saves as Kevin Keegan's new front pairing carved through the Canaries' defence.
With City well in control, and Norwich looking over-run in midfield, the hosts may have come out after the break feeling slightly complacent.
The slack attitude may be an explanation for the mess the City defence got themselves in just seconds after the re-start.
Danny Mills' backwards header and his team-mates' inability to clear the ball handed Francis the perfect chance to equalise and he made no mistake from just inside the box.
City, to their credit, came straight back and Wright-Phillips tested Green.
But there was a new belief about Norwich and more tenacity about their play which created chances for Francis, but he could not find the target.
At the other end, City were inches away from talking the lead after Wright-Phillips and Flood combined again but the Irishman saw his shot cannon back off the post.
City pushed for a winner and were unlucky when Anelka cut inside the defence only to see his goal-bound shot cleared off the line.
The ball rebounded back to substitute Robbie Fowler, who claimed handball as Fleming got in the way of his shot.
It appeared the defender was lucky not to concede the spot-kick, but it meant Norwich earned a point as they clung on.
Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne (Onuoha 68), Jordan, Flood, Sibierski, Bosvelt, McManaman (Fowler 81), Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anelka. Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Bradley Wright-Phillips, McCarthy.
Goals: Flood 11.
Norwich: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Charlton, Brennan, Holt, Jonson (Henderson 81), Francis, Huckerby, McKenzie (McVeigh 87), Svensson. Subs Not Used: Mulryne, Ward, Helveg.
Goals: Francis 46.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent).