NOVEMBER 2004 Match Reports

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Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0    City SWeeP aside
Saturday, 27th November 2004 - Get Your Kits Out at the COMS                                    the Villa.....

 

CITY marched to their first back-to-back victory since April 2003 with a deserved 2-0 triumph over Aston Villa.Shaun Wright-Phillips

First half goals from John Macken - his first in the Premiership this season - and a drive from the excellent Shaun Wright-Phillips were enough to move Keegan's side into the top ten of the Premiership.

Visitors Villa, who went into the game in fifth place, had a miserable night in the Eastlands rain, missing a late penalty and having midfielder Lee Hendrie red carded after a skirmish with Danny Mills in stoppage time.

City made two changes to the side that started last week's match at Portsmouth with Robbie Fowler replacing the injured Anelka and Danny Mills returning at right back in the palce of rookie teenager Nedum Onuoha.

City dominated the game from the start with man of the match Wright-Phillips catching the eye early on.

French midfielder Antoine Sibierski, searching for his third successive Premiership goal, twice tested Sorensen in the early stages. In the ninth minute the Dane comfortably dealt with a long-range effort, but a minute later was well beaten by a 20 yard stinger which curled agonisingly the wrong side of the right hand post.

Macken should have scored even before his goal, heading a weak effort wide after a flick on by Distin and a slip by Villa defender Samuel.

The Blues took their lead deservedly after 29 minutes when Macken scored with a low shot after good work in the centre by strike partner Fowler.

Fowler's through ball was deflected by Villa skipper Mellberg and Macken reacted quickest, turning past Sorensen and steering the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

Sibierski then went close to doubling the Blues' lead as yet another low drive was palmed away by the Villa keeper.

Wright-Phillips scored his goal after 38 minutes, finishing a move he had begun deep into his own half.

City had scrambled away a Villa attack, and Wright-Phillips picked up the ball level with the 18-yard line in the City half. He took the ball forward, fed Sibierski on the left who passed forward to Joey Barton. Barton turned, passed to Stephen Jordan whose low cross was hacked clear by the Villa defence.

Wright-Phillips collected the ball just outside the area and slammed a vicious left foot drive high into the roof of the net to send the City fans into delirium.

A minute later the Blues should have increased their lead yet further as Danny Mills on a foray deep into the Villa half failed to find any of the three waiting City forwards with his driven cross.

City were content to defend in the second half with Distin and Dunne marshalling Villa's strike force of Carlton Cole and Juan Pablo Angel with great authority.

The visitors sought to get back into the game with Gareth Barry blasting over after good work on the right from De la Cruz on 53 minutes.

As Villa surged forward City looked to hit their opponents on the counter-attack using the lightning pace of Wright-Phillips at every opportunity.

City nearly scored a third on the hour as Sorensen chipped over a goal-bound drive from young midfielder Joey Barton.

Minutes later frustrated Villa boss rang the changes replacing the disappointing Cole with Luke Moore and Gareth Barry with German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger.

This gave the visitors wings with James forced to tip over a good shot from Gavin McCann after a good Villa move.

City skipper Distin was forced to leave the field on 73 minutes, appearing to be nursing a groin strain.

City were sitting deep now and Villa failed to capitalise on a succession of corners.

There was late drama though as Richard Dunne fouled the on-rushing Moore on the corner of the box. Referee Mike Riley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Columbian international Angel strode forward to take the spot kick but was thwarted by David James with a superb save low to his right. Villa's anguish was exacerbated as Angel headed the rebound over with City's goal at his mercy.

Combative Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie was then showed a red card by Mr Riley after an incident with Mills. The Villa player faced up to the City man, no contact was made but his aggressive gesture was enough to earn him a straight red card from the referee.

Man City: James, Mills, Distin (Onuoha 72), Dunne, Jordan, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski, Fowler, Macken. Subs Not Used: Sommeil, Waterreus, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Flood.

Booked: Dunne.

Goals: Macken 29, Shaun Wright-Phillips 38.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Delaney, Mellberg, Samuel, Solano, Hendrie, McCann, Barry (Hitzlsperger 61), Angel, Cole (Luke Moore 61). Subs Not Used: Postma, Ridgewell, Davis.

Sent Off: Hendrie (90).

Booked: Delaney.

Att: 44,530.

Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

 


 

Jamie Ashdown & Portsmouth 1  Man City 3
Man City's Shaun Wright-Phillips
Saturday 20th November - Alan Webster for Get Your Kits Out at Fratton Park

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.

Man City's Antoine Sibierski
Sibierski fired City into a deserved lead

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.

Portsmouth keeper Jamie Ashdown
Ashdown kept Man City at bay with a string of fine saves

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 26), Fuller.
Subs Not Used: Cisse, Wapenaar.

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).
Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Sommeil, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Flood.

Goals: Shaun Wright-Phillips 6, Sibierski 79, Bosvelt 87.

Att: 20,101

Ref: M Messias (S Yorkshire).
 

 

Manchester City 1  Blackburn Rovers  1       Dickov the destroyer

James Fletcher for Get Your Kits Out at the City of Manchester Stadium

FORMER fan favourite Paul Dickov returned to break Manchester City hearts with a penalty in successive seasons.

The Rovers striker was fouled by Danny Mills as he tried to latch onto a through-ball 12 minutes from time.

And the 5ft 5in Scot showed nerves of steel to bury the spot-kick against the club he supported as a boy.

Mills was sent off for his foul and Dickov endured a chorus of boos after earning Rovers a draw they deserved.

It had been 52 league games since the visitors were last awarded a penalty.

And Dickov could have snatched it with a deflected shot at the death that flew wide.

Last season, as a Leicester player, Dickov bagged the second goal from the penalty spot as the Foxes romped to a 3-0 win.

Complaints

The point lifted Blackburn off the bottom of the table although Mark Hughes has a long way to go to keep them in the Premiership.

City chief Kevin Keegan said: "It was a different game to United. That draw was hard earned, away from home, but we never really got going here.

"We didn't look like we had another goal in us and once we conceded the penalty we had to hang on.

"I was never happy at 1-0 as you are always under threat.

"I have no complaints with the penalty. I thought Dickov might have been offside but that was our only chance. Danny took him down and had to go.

"It is not hard to take that Paul scored. He is a 100 per cent player, every manager says the same. He will run, hurry you and you must give him credit for that."

Keegan added: "We are not playing as well this year as we did last. We simply haven't played well enough to take the three points.

"I think it is essential we bring players in the winter as we only have a small squad.

"I don't know whether there is money available. That is something for the board of directors. They can see the situation and it is up to them to tell us what we have got."

After the battling 0-0 draw at Old Trafford it was inevitable City would struggle to reproduce the same kind of energy and passion. Why? Heaven only knows. Most teams would have been inspired by such a display but it just seems to be how things are at City.

Just last month they humbled title favourites Chelsea with a terrific 1-0 performance here at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Then a flat 1-1 draw with Norwich and, seemingly, all their good work counted for nothing.

It is something Keegan desperately needs to address if his side are to mount a charge up the table and into the European qualification places. Since Mark Hughes took over at Ewood Park his side have won once, in his opening game against Portsmouth, and started the day bottom of the table.

So it was obvious that the first goalkeeper to be called into action was David James.

Richard Dunne's sloppy backpass almost played in Dickov but James was quick to react.

The first-half's best chance fell to Nicolas Anelka, who hammered in a free-kick from the 25 yards after Andy Todd cynically fouled Sylvain Distin but Brad Friedel got a great punch away.

Dickov was in the thick of it and he played a delightful ball on the stroke of half-time for strike partner Jon Stead but he shot over.

City finally got their reward with a goal on the stroke of half-time.

Steve McManaman found Shaun Wright-Phillips wide on the right, he raced to the byline and crossed for Antoine Sibierski to side-foot home from close range.

Fierce

Rovers had chances and only quick thinking from Dunne saved them after Matt Jansen played Lucas Neill in down the right.

He crossed first time for Dickov but Dunne stuck out a foot when an equaliser seemed certain.

After Dickov's goal Rovers could have won it as they tried to make maximum use of the extra man.

But James beat away David Thompson's fierce drive before Dickov flashed an injury-time volley just wide.

Rovers chief Hughes said: "I think we deserved more than point. We shaded the first half and created more chances.

"I haven't seen the penalty but the lads say it was clear cut. We have waited so long for a penalty.

"Paul did very well. He is a small guy but he puts in big performances and is an influence every game.

"Opposition defenders don't like to play against him, he has high energy, he makes things happen.

"We are off the bottom of the league but our efforts merited more than one point.

Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Jordan, Flood (Reyna 65), Sibierski, Bosvelt, McManaman, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anelka. Subs Not Used: Fowler, Onuoha, Waterreus, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Sent Off: Mills (77).

Booked: Jordan.

Goal: Sibierski 45.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Johansson, Todd, McEveley, Reid, Ferguson, Tugay (Thompson 71), Emerton, Stead (Jansen 45), Dickov. Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Djorkaeff, Matteo.

Booked: Todd, McEveley, Thompson.

Goal: Dickov 78 pen.

Att: 45,504

Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).

 


 

Man Ud 0-0 Man City  Battling Blues are still Manchester's best
 
Richard Dunne and Louis Saha square up Saha gets no joy from Dunne
Manchester City dug deep into their defensive reserves to deny Manchester United in the Old Trafford derby.

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.

Alan Smith and Sylvain Distin struggle for the ball in the Manchester derbyCity 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.

Saha has the best chance to grab the points at the end but City stand firm
Louis Saha fails to hurdle Steve McManaman's challenge

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.
Subs Not Used: Howard, Phil Neville, Brown.

Sent Off: Smith (89).

Booked: Keane, Smith.

Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Flood, Bosvelt, McManaman, Sibierski, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Fowler, Onuoha, Waterreus, McCarthy, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Booked: Jordan, Flood.

Att: 67,863

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 (left) and Antoine Sibierski

Flood celebrates his goal

Norwich are still without a Premiership win but managed to earn a point despite keeper Robert Green's error at Manchester City.

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.

Booked: Sibierski.

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.

Att: 42,803

Ref: S Bennett (Kent).

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