March 2005

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Manchester City 0 Bolton 1      Diouf Bolton hero and villain -
7th March 2005 : Malc at the COMSTAD for Get your Kits Out

After arriving earlier in the day from Tunisia I was quite excited about tonights game against Bolton, I should have known better!!

Bolton's disgraced spitter El-Hadji Diouf scored the only goal against Manchester City this evening to maintain his side's hopes of qualifying for Europe.

The controversial Senegal international was only rated doubtful for the game as he had an ankle injury - but he seized his chance just before the break to give his side the points at Eastlands.

Robbie Fowler had the hosts' best chance but they failed to capitalise on a lively start and looked meek in attack without the injured winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

City were without seven first-team players for their Barclays Premiership clash with Bolton tonight - but welcomed back Claudio Reyna after more than three months out.

The 31-year-old had recovered from a groin injury to replace Shaun Wright-Phillips, who earlier in the day had successful surgery on his knee.

With Joey Barton and Stephen Jordan suspended, City boss Kevin Keegan brought in youngster Willo Flood and David Sommeil from the team that beat Norwich last week.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce had Kevin Nolan back from suspension and the midfielder was brought in at the expense of Gary Speed, who was dropped to the bench.

El-Hadji Diouf, who was rated doubtful with an ankle injury, came in for Nicky Hunt who had not recovered from the dislocated shoulder suffered in the defeat to Newcastle in the Trotters' last fixture.

Flood was the first to attack for City, combining well with Antoine Sibierski in the first minute but failing to get past Ricardo Gardner on the right flank.

Sommeil then tripped Nolan a minute later.

Robbie Fowler's neat turn tricked Bruno N'Gotty into a foul, but Sibierski wasted the set-piece, with both sides struggling to forge a clear opening.

The visitors had the first sight of goal, but Flood was able to clear as the ball ricocheted in the City penalty area.

Sibierski then had the first effort on goal, heading over from Reyna's cross after a sweeping counter-attack in the ninth minute.

Nolan countered with his own effort a minute later, drilling a low volley from outside the penalty area, which David James had to get down smartly to save.

Tempers threatened to boil over in the 12th minute when Danny Mills and Diouf, both controversial for their aggressive styles, clashed near the halfway line.

Kevin Davies flashed a volley wide a minute later after Richard Dunne had needlessly given the ball away in defence.

City broke instantly and Sibierski was inches away from getting on the end of a Mills cross from the right wing.

Sibierski was revelling in his role just behind Fowler, volleying over in the 17th minute when Flood crossed, again from the right.

Fowler missed a glorious chance in the 20th minute when Vincent Candela made a hash of a clearance and Jussi Jaaskelainen spilled the ball to the City striker.

With the goal gaping Jaaskelainen managed to force Fowler's chipped effort over the bar.

The lack of quality in Bolton's attacks was illustrated by Gardner, who trod on the ball when in a decent position on the left flank.

But on the half hour Diouf found room in the penalty area to get on the end of Nolan's neat cross from the right. With plenty of time to direct a header, the Senegal striker panicked and his effort went wide.

Veteran midfielder Fernando Hierro was starting to show fine composure on the ball just beyond his defenders, but even he could not provide his team-mates with a clear chance.

Mills committed a foul on Diouf in the 35th minute, and Hierro's free-kick from the left had to be fisted away by James.

Diouf aimed a high tackle at Flood but the youngster did not react and a yellow card was not shown by referee Alan Wiley. Diouf then had a weak penalty appeal waved away as he fell over Dunne in the penalty area.

Skipper Jay-Jay Okocha was replaced by Speed just before the break.

Diouf then scored the opener in injury time, finishing from close range from Stelios Giannakopoulos' cross from the left.

Half Time     Manchester City 0 Bolton 1

City boss Kevin Keegan responded by bringing on former England winger Steve McManaman at the break.

The hosts were immediately given a free-kick in a dangerous position as Candela hauled down Fowler, but Sibierski's set-piece did not make it past the defensive wall.

Fowler won a free-kick in the 50th minute, again in a threatening position, but this time Paul Bosvelt wasted the opportunity.

Kiki Musampa showed skill on the left flank to get to the by-line in the 55th minute, but his cross could not find a team-mate.

A minute later Dunne crashed into Giannakopoulos with a thumping - but legal - challenge. Candela was then booked in the following move for a late challenge on Sibierski.

Dunne had to clear in his own penalty area as the Trotters put more pressure on. The Republic of Ireland centre-back also had to rescue his side with a vital challenge on Giannakopoulos on the hour, with the Greece attacker bearing down on goal.

Musampa led an attack in the 62nd minute, but groans roared around Eastlands when the move broke down. The jeers grew louder a minute later as Diouf shimmied past Dunne but fired wide with just James to beat.

Dunne and Diouf continued their battle, with Dunne receiving a caution for bringing down Bolton's scorer. From the resulting free-kick Bruno N'Gotty had a free header but could not direct it to a team-mate.

Bradley Wright-Phillips was brought on for Bosvelt with 23 minutes remaining as City chased the game.

The youngster had a chance to run at the visitors' defence straight away, but it came to nothing.

Davies was almost rewarded for his hard work but James saved the striker's powerful volley in the 72nd minute. The former Southampton marksman then headed just wide from the resulting corner.

Hierro had a shot that went well over the bar with 15 minutes remaining, while Dunne could not get on the end of Mills' miscued shot.

N'Gotty headed wide from a free-kick with 11 minutes left in the game, with Speed lurking for a tap-in.

Lee Croft, who faced Bolton in the FA Cup earlier this season, was brought on but could not influence the game. Campo was brought on for Hierro as Allardyce looked to close out the game.

Musampa was free in the penalty area and headed agonisingly wide with three minutes remaining - it was not City's night.

And Giannakopoulos missed from close range in stoppage time.

Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Sommeil, Flood (McManaman 45), Bosvelt (Bradley Wright-Phillips 68), Reyna, Musampa, Fowler, Sibierski (Croft 83).
Subs Not Used: Weaver, Bischoff.

Booked: Dunne.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Candela (Jaidi 89), N'Gotty, Ben Haim, Gardner, Nolan, Okocha (Speed 45), Hierro (Campo 86), Giannakopoulos, Davies, Diouf.
Subs Not Used: Poole, Pedersen.

Booked: Candela, Ben Haim.

Goals: Diouf 45.

Att: 43,050.

Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).


Tottenham 2 Manchester City 1      Psycho fails to lift City
Saturday 19th march 2005 : Alan Adams for Get your Kits Out at White Hart lane

Robbie Keane came off the bench to pinch a late winner as Tottenham wrecked Stuart Pearce's managerial start in temporaryPicture charge of Manchester City.

City had gone behind to a 14th-minute goal from England striker Jermain Defoe after Nedum Onuoha had gifted possession to Andy Reid.

But Claudio Reyna struck a minute before the break and the goal appeared to have earned City a point until Keane's winner six minutes from time.

But the game ended in controversy with City midfielder Joey Barton forced to leave the field for treatment with blood pouring from a head wound after complaining he had been elbowed in an off-the-pitch incident as Keane scored.

Tottenham began the game hoping to end a dismal run that had seen them lose their last three games without scoring once.

Their FA Cup exit to Newcastle at the quarter-final stage was sandwiched between defeats on their travels in the Barclays Premiership to Southampton and Charlton.

The opening 10 minutes provided little interest for the followers of either side with much of the game bogged down in the midfield.

Indeed, neither of England's two goalkeepers, Tottenham's Paul Robinson or City's David James, was troubled during an insipid period of play.

Pearce, taking charge of the City side for the first time following the departure of Kevin Keegan, must have been pleased with the effort and endeavour shown by his players as they allowed Spurs little room to exploit their free-flowing passing game.

It took Spurs until the 14th minute to hit the target when Defoe tested James but seconds later the home side went in front thanks to a comedy of errors rather than design.

James threw the ball out to Onuoha on the right but the youngster allowed it to run under his foot. Before he could recover the situation, Andy Reid took possession but the Tottenham winger's low cross was missed by the incoming Defoe.

However, the ball broke kindly for Simon Davies who then looked to have squandered the chance by miscuing his shot completely. Fortunately for Spurs though, Davies' wayward effort was neatly turned home from six yards by the alert Defoe.

In the 33rd minute City showed some attacking desire when Antoine Sibierski sent a left-foot shot towards Robinson's goal but the England number one was more than equal to the challenge.

Two minutes later though Robinson had to be at his best to keep out a fierce drive from Barton as City at last began to take the game to the Londoners.

City's twin efforts sparked Spurs into life and Michael Brown let fly with a left-foot effort from 20 yards that forced James down to his knees to collect.

Claudio Reyna scores for City to cancel out Jermain Defoe's 16th minute strike for SpursBut City got their just reward in the 44th minute when Reyna converted a sublime chip pass from Robbie Fowler to level the scores.

Reyna cut inside to take possession of Fowler's exquisite lofted pass and gave Robinson no chance with a fierce drive.

The second half began with the same fragmented play from both sides but it was City who looked the more threatening.

Kiki Musampa was causing Stephen Kelly a host of problems on the left flank and in the 61st minute he forced the Spurs full-back into another foul.

Barton's subsequent free-kick had to be clawed away to safety by the outstretched Robinson and Spurs then dealt with Fowler's ball back into the danger area but the warning signs were beginning to increase for the home side.

In the 63rd minute Musampa almost put the visitors in front but could not trouble Robinson from eight yards as he sent his shot wide of the keeper's right-hand post.

But Spurs almost went back in front in the 67th minute when Reid let fly with a 20-yard shot that James was forced to tip over the bar as it swerved towards the top corner. Eleven minutes from time Jol replaced Reid with Republic of Ireland striker Keane as Spurs searched for the vital winner.

The change worked as the game erupted in controversy six minutes before the end when Keane grabbed a sensational late winner from a Davies cross as Barton was left on the ground after an off-the-ball incident.

Barton was forced to leave the field with blood pouring from a facial wound and complaining that he had been elbowed by a Spurs player.


Tottenham Robinson, Kelly, Naybet (Gardner 76), King, Atouba, Davies, Brown, Carrick, Reid (Keane 80), Defoe, Mido (Kanoute 65).

Subs Not Used: Davis, Cerny.

Booked: Atouba, Defoe.

Goals: Defoe 16, Keane 84.

Man City James, Onuoha (Mills 83), Distin, Dunne, Jordan, Reyna, Sibierski (Flood 76), Bosvelt (Macken 89), Barton, Musampa, Fowler.

Subs Not Used: Sommeil, Weaver.

Booked: Dunne, Fowler, Barton.

Goals: Reyna 44.

Att: 35,681

Ref: B Knight (Kent).


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