January 2008 - Reports
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Derby County 1 Manchester City 1      A point gained, probably
Wednesday January 31st 2008 : Richard Rae for GYKO at Pride Park
Derby County's change of ownership may have brought them a change of fortune. In the presence of the of the men who run GSE, the American sports and entertainment company which completed a 50m takeover on the club on Monday, the Rams brought to an end a run of seven straight defeats in front of their own supporters, a deflected shot, Manchester City' s extraordinary profligacy in front of goal, and their own rediscovered appetite for the fray winning them only their eighth point of the season.

The only other game GSE founder and chairman Andrew D. Appleby had seen at Pride Park was the victory against Newcastle back in September; no doubt Derby manager Paul Jewell will try to persuade him to extend his stay to take in a few more matches. The first thing Appleby saw was Derby do their best to give the game away moments after it had begun. Claude Davis' attempted back-pass was woefully short and gave Darius Vassell plenty of time to beat County goalkeeper Lewis Price. Not quite believing his luck, Vassell hurried his shot, pulling it across Price and beyond the post with Sturridge waiting unmarked in the middle.

Shortly afterwards an unmarked Vedran Corluka headed a Martin Petrov corner just over the bar and it looked like it was going to be yet another of those nights for County. The Bulgarian's wonderful volleyed pass gave Vassell another one-on-one but the striker' s heavy touch gave Price a chance to make a brave save.

A rare excursion into the City area saw Kenny Miller volley straight at Joe Hart but City, finding space for fun in midfield, looked likely to score every time they went forward. Stephen Ireland' s cross-shot slid beyond the far post and Vassell' s clumsy touch resulted in yet another close range fluff but Derby suddenly proved they were not entirely toothless when Robert Earnshaw, having already volleyed athletically over the bar, turned neatly in the penalty area and curled a shot against the outside of Hart's left-hand post.

Encouraged, Derby began to look something like a competitive Premier League team, coming forward with real purpose. They were still almost comically vulnerable at the back - only two desperate blocks by Davis prevented Ireland finishing Petrov' s cross - but Hossam Ghaly and, to a lesser degree, Robbie Savage, began making their presence felt in midfield.

The momentum established before the break paid off seconds after the restart. Miller's shot after Ghaly was tackled looked to be going wide when it struck Sun Ji Hai, wrong-footing Hart. The goalkeeper attempted to recover but his dive came too late to prevent the goal.

With City in danger of losing their heads in the feverish atmosphere, Sven Goran Eriksson sent on Elano, and the Brazilian had an immediate impact. His pass freed Petrov on the left, and the low cross was poked into the corner by Daniel Sturridge. It was a vindication of Eriksson' s decision to give the 18-year-old striker his first senior start at the expense of Emile Mpenza.

Both sides had chances to win the game, most notably from Earnshaw and Vassell, and the final quarter was frantic with both sides pushing forward recklessly in the search for three points.

Derby: Price, Leacock, Moore, Davis (Todd 69), Edworthy, Fagan, Savage, Ghaly, Pearson (Barnes 83), Earnshaw (Villa 88), Miller.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Robert.

Booked: Ghaly.

Goals: Jihai 47 og.

Man City: Hart, Jihai, Dunne, Corluka, Ball, Etuhu (Elano 55), Ireland, Gelson, Petrov, Vassell (Mpenza 79), Sturridge (Geovanni 72).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Hamann.

Booked: Corluka.

Goals: Sturridge 63.

Att: 31,368

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).


Sheffield United 2 Manchester City 1     Powder Puff Blues
Sunday 27th January 2008 : Jonathan West for GYKO at Bramall Lane

If Preston's win at Derby yesterday looked like being the shock win of the FA Cup's fourth-round weekend, Sheffield United pipped them this afternoon with a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Bramall Lane. It was their second triumph over Premier League opposition this season following the 1-0 success at Bolton in the third round and allowed home fans to briefly forget their mediocre 14th spot in the Championship. For City, who have now won only two of their last 10 in all competitions, the season suddenly hinges on whether they can qualify for Europe. On this evidence they will struggle to qualify for the Manchester Senior Cup.

United's victory owed much to grit, spirit, an unexpected cutting edge in attack - they had scored only six goals in 11 games before this - and a little to luck. In the 11th minute Jon Stead broke down the left and crossed into a City penalty area crowded with defenders and, thanks to the enthusiasm of the travelling supporters, blue and white balloons. Inevitably, the ball struck first one, then another, at which point it deflected just enough to elude an attempted clearance by Michael Ball. Waiting behind him was Luton Shelton, who calmly slotted home.

Good fortune, though, had nothing to do with United's second goal 15 minutes later. Derek Geary crossed from the right, Stephen Quinn out jumped Nedum Onuoha, and when the ball dropped to the overstretching Richard Dunne, the City captain could only stab it into the path of Stead. Joe Hart, stranded on the ground, could do nothing about a clinical finish.

In between, Emile Mpenza wasted a great chance to head an equaliser, while Elano hit the base of Paddy Kenny's left post with a typically incisive strike from the edge of the box. But United always looked more dangerous on the attack against a City defence missing the calming presence of the injured Micah Richards, and it was a surprise when the 18-year-old Danny Sturridge, on as a substitute for Elano, rifled home with his left foot three minutes into the second half in only his third first-team appearance.

That gave City hope and for a while they played with greater purpose. But they have lacked a goals corer all season - Elano is their leading scorer with just seven - and their timidity in the final third cost them once more. United, meanwhile, got stuck in and counter-attacked with enthusiasm as City, facing up to the reality of going out, began to lose their shape and discipline.

It was not the only respect in which they had themselves to blame. Moments before Shelton put United in the lead, the referee Alan Wiley - after liaising with Mark Clattenburg, the fourth official - had asked Hart to burst the balloons in the City penalty area while the ball was in the United half. Sky TV reported that Hart failed to do so, and only began to burst them once United had scored. Sven-Goran Eriksson's bubble might just have suffered the same fate.

Sheff Utd: Kenny, Geary, Bromby, Morgan, Naysmith, Gillespie, Speed, Martin, Quinn, Shelton (Tonge 76), Stead (Sharp 49).
Subs Not Used: Hendrie, Kilgallon, Armstrong.

Booked: Martin, Quinn, Morgan.

Goals: Shelton 12, Stead 24.

Man City: Hart, Corluka, Onuoha, Dunne, Ball, Elano (Sturridge 46), Hamann (Ireland 62), Gelson, Petrov, Mpenza (Geovanni 71), Vassell.
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Jihai.

Booked: Gelson, Corluka.

Goals: Sturridge 48.

Att: 20,800

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).


Manchester City 1 West Ham United 1     Still shot shy
Sunday  20th January 2008 : Tom Johnstone for GYKO at the COMSTAD

Sven-Goran Eriksson was left frustrated as Manchester City surrendered further ground in the race for a coveted European berth after being held at home by a severely-depleted West Ham side.

Carlton Cole (pictured right) produced a delightful overhead kick to put the Hammers ahead after eight minutes before Darius Vassell poked home a controversial equaliser eight minutes later.

But West Ham always looked more likely to snatch the points and promising young goalkeeper Joe Hart was forced to make smart saves to deny Mark Noble and then Cole in the closing stages.

A chronic lack of firepower seriously undermined City's efforts and although a UEFA Cup spot remains a distinct possibility - this point lifted them to fifth in the Barclays Premier League - dreams of the Champions League are fading fast.

Eriksson's men won their first nine home league games this season but have now taken just three points from their last three outings at the City of Manchester Stadium.

West Ham deserve credit for producing a spirited response after limping out of the FA Cup at Eastlands four days earlier.

That they did so without Dean Ashton and Matthew Etherington - ruled out due to back and knee injuries respectively - hinted at the depth and quality of their squad as the Londoners continue their own push for Europe.

The Hammers were already without the services of Nolberto Solano, Craig Bellamy, Scott Parker, Bobby Zamora and Kieron Dyer through injury.

But they were threatening throughout and Cole's eighth-minute strike was just reward for their early enterprise.

That it came from a defensive error from City skipper Richard Dunne - whose standards have rarely dipped below exemplary this season - raised eyebrows.

The Irishman surrendered possession from inside his own 18-yard box with a dreadful pass straight to Noble and he swiftly fed Freddie Ljungberg on the right flank.

The Swede whipped in a dangerous cross into the six-yard box where Cole lurked menacingly.

In one sublime sequence, the towering forward controlled the ball and displayed formidable strength to hold off Vedran Corluka before dispatching a brilliant overhead volley past Hart.

It was the former Chelsea striker's fifth goal of the season and gave West Ham a platform on which to build. Ljungberg gave Michael Ball several uneasy moments down the right flank but City, to their credit, gradually gained a foothold on proceedings and drew level in the 16th minute.

It stemmed from a corner from Martin Petrov that West Ham failed to deal with and the ball was recycled back to the Bulgarian out wide on the right flank.

Petrov's vicious cross flashed past defenders and found its way to Vassell who stabbed home his third goal of the season from three yards out. Vassell looked suspiciously offside when Petrov delivered the cross but the goal stood and City were level.

The game became rather scrappy as the half wore on and West Ham skipper Lucas Neill was shown a yellow card in the 26th minute for a cynical foul on the elusive Petrov.

Dunne followed him into the book seven minutes late for chopping down Luis Boa Morte but it was the visitors who looked the more threatening in attack. Cole might have claimed his second six minutes before the break had he gambled on Neill's teasing low cross which forced Hart to dive full length to collect possession. Noble's clever pass released Cole three minutes before the break but Micah Richards' pace allowed him to make a vital touch to avert the danger.

West Ham continued to threaten after the break and a neat array of inter-passing between Neill and Ljungberg gave Noble the space to hit a shot over the crossbar from 16 yards. Boa Morte was then booked for a ill-judged lunge on Vassell and shortly before the hour mark Eriksson replaced the former Aston Villa striker with Gelson Fernandes. West Ham, however, continued to probe and Mullins drew a smart save from Hart with a low 20-yard shot and then fired over from the same distance.

Bianchi, who struggled to make any impact, then fired straight at a virtually unemployed Robert Green with a 20-yard volley in the 67th minute.

West Ham thought they had scored a second in the 73rd minute when substitute Julian Faubert bundled the ball home but the strike was disallowed following a push by Bowyer on Dunne. They should have claimed a winner with 13 minutes remaining, however, when Faubert and Cole combined to give Noble a shooting chance from 12 yards which drew a fine save from Hart, who then tipped over a header from Cole with just seconds remaining.


Man City Hart, Corluka, Dunne, Richards, Ball,Vassell (Gelson 58), Hamann, Ireland (Geovanni 68), Petrov,Elano (Garrido 78), Bianchi.

Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Onuoha.

Booked: Dunne, Geovanni.

Goals: Vassell 16.

West Ham Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg,Noble, Mullins, Bowyer (Spector 90), Boa Morte (Faubert 71),Cole.

Subs Not Used: Wright, Collins, Reid.

Booked: Neill, Boa Morte, Bowyer, Noble.

Goals: Cole 8.

Att: 39,042

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).


Manchester City 1 West Ham 0    Another game, Another shot
Wednesday 16th January 2008 : Jonathan Green for GYKO at the COMSTAD

The FA Cup presents Manchester City with their best chance of ending a 32-year wait for silverware. West Ham were eventually overcome courtesy of that rarity, an Elano header pictured below, and Sven-Goran Eriksson's side now have to negotiate a trip to Sheffield United.

As a previous City manager re-entered employment, the current incumbent, perhaps in sympathy with Kevin Keegan's principles or, more plausibly, reacting to a failure to score in three of their four previous games, showed an attacking intent. Eriksson's selection involved the addition of Stephen Ireland to his creative contingent.

They boasted a surfeit of what, in earlier eras, might have been described as inside-forwards, in Elano, Ireland and Nery Castillo. Some tidy interplay in the midfield was a consequence, along with a shortage of bodies in the penalty box. City were reduced to two playmakers, however, when the home debutant Castillo's contribution was curtailed by Lucas Neill, whose forceful challenge left the Mexican with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

While others converged on the centre of the pitch, Martin Petrov maintained his station on the left touchline. Indeed, City can be lopsided, such is their emphasis on the winger. He supplied what they thought was an opportunity, though Darius Vassell was penalised for tripping Anton Ferdinand as both chased the Bulgarian's pass.

Yet while City probed, West Ham, hitherto unambitious, fashioned the first chance. Dean Ashton had scored both goals when the Londoners won their quarter-final two seasons ago and he provided a reminder of his threat. When Luis Boa Morte curled a cross in and the stretching striker connected with a volley that rebounded back off Joe Hart, the City goalkeeper seeming to know little about his save.

Hart's fortune continued as Boa Morte, restored to the starting line-up for the first time in two months, misplaced two shots. After the England Under-21 goalkeeper had advanced to the edge of his area to block from Ashton, the Portuguese miscued the subsequent rebound well wide.

City's striking change had been the introduction of Rolando Bianchi for the unfortunate Castillo, but the Italian was unable to capitalise on either the Mexican's misfortune or Petrov's service. When one whipped, low cross was parried by Green into his path, Bianchi scuffed a shot wastefully wide. It was no surprise, therefore, when Petrov played a pivotal part in the winner. His chipped cross was headed against the post by Bianchi and Elano plunged forward to evade Ferdinand's boot and convert the rebound.

Man City: Hart, Corluka, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Hamann, Ireland, Elano, Castillo (Bianchi 34), Petrov, Vassell (Gelson 81).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Garrido.

Booked: Hamann.

Goals: Elano 73.

West Ham: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg (Faubert 62), Bowyer, Noble, Etherington, Boa Morte (Cole 70), Ashton.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Mullins, Spector.

Booked: Boa Morte.

Att: 27,809

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).


Everton 1  Manchester City 0     One shot City lose again
Saturday 12th January 2008 : Steve James for GYKO at Goodison Park

David Moyes celebrated 10 years as a manager as Everton edged closer to their Champions League dream with a 1-0 win over Manchester City. But the ambitious Everton boss had to thank defender Joleon Lescott for a first-half close range stab, his sixth goal of the season, and a defiant rearguard action from a defence stretched to the limits by Manchester City's increasingly desperate attacks.

This was a compelling clash between two sides with similar aspirations, and Everton just shaded it.

And with Liverpool only drawing at Middlesbrough, the Anfield side are clinging onto fourth spot on goal difference, with Everton breathing down their necks.

Everton welcomed back Mikel Arteta from suspension, but were without Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Steven Pienaar, who are all away on African Nations Cup duty.

Leon Osman and Andrew Johnson were both injured, and that saw Nuno Valente and Victor Anichebe also returning following the Carling Cup semi-final first leg defeat in midweek at Chelsea.

Manchester City, who had not won a league game at Goodison Park for 16 years, had Elano back - having missed the FA Cup draw at West Ham - with Stephen Ireland dropping to the bench. On-loan Nery Castillo made his league debut up front. And Eriksson's side employed the system, involving two holding players and just one man up front, that has served them so well in an impressive season.

It relies on quick breaks using the skill of Elano and pace of Martin Petrov, but there was precious little room for them to work on.

Everton pressed forward, with space and time hard to find. Their approach play too slow to make much of an impression. Tim Cahill was booked for an early a high tackle on Dietmar Hamann, and the game began to liven up. Everton were at last more positive, and direct, and Joleon Lescott saw a header blocked, while Anichebe saw a header clear the bar.

And the Toffees' first move of any genuine pace almost produced a goal. Arteta's cross was turned into Cahill's path by Anichebe and Joe Hart made a good save low down to his left. The ball cannoned back to Cahill, and this time he lifted his effort over the bar.

But that encouraged Everton, and on 31 minutes they were ahead. City failed to clear an Arteta corner properly, and when the ball was relayed back to the Spaniard on the right, his low ball to the near post was turned past Hart by Lescott. There was a hint of offside, but not enough for prolonged protests.

City then had to be more adventurous, and Elano - moved to a more central midfield role from the right-flank - saw a free-kick deflected over the top as City came out of their shell looking to get back into the game.

Hamann was then, although it looked as if he had clearly played the ball in a challenge on Valente.

There was far more urgency about City in the second period, and one surging run from his own half by Petrov almost opened up Everton, but for Lescott's timely intervention.

City then sent on Gelson Fernandes and Rolando Bianchi for Hamann and Castillo, a far more attacking approach, while Everton responded with James Vaughan taking over from McFadden.

Lee Carsley was then booked for a high tackle on Vedran Corluka on 61 minutes.

But on 68 minutes Ireland came on for Darius Vassell, City concerned that they had started to concede too much midfield space, such was the delicate balance of the match.

Everton's young strikers Vaughan and Anichebe gave City's defence a tough time, the home side more direct. City, with Elano making little impact, were struggling to create anything really dangerous.

A Cahill header flew over for Everton, but despite City having an increasing amount of possession, they were battering at a defiant wall of blue shirts.

Leighton Baines took over from Anichebe in injury time, Everton needing to just hang on now for a critical victory. Tim Howard saved well at his near post from a fierce Petrov drive, City's first on target, and then from a Bianchi header. And Everton survived.


Everton Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Nuno Valente, Arteta, Carsley, Neville, McFadden (Vaughan 60), Cahill,Anichebe (Baines 90).

Subs Not Used: Ruddy, Gravesen, Stubbs.

Booked: Cahill, Carsley.

Goals: Lescott 31.

Man City Hart, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Corluka, Hamann (Gelson 56), Petrov, Elano, Castillo (Bianchi 57),Vassell (Ireland 69).

Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Garrido.

Booked: Hamann.

Att: 38,474

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).


West Ham United 0  Manchester City 0    Back to the COMSTAD
Saturday 5th January 2007 : Victor Harris for GYKO at Upton Park

Goalkeepers Joe Hart and Robert Green won the day to leave West Ham and Manchester City facing an Eastlands replay on Wednesday week. With both sides leaving their shooting boots back in the dressing rooms, the gritty goalkeepers repelled everything that was thrown at them to the frustration of the sell-out crowd.

Fourth-placed City had already won at Upton Park on the opening day of the season and, following Wednesday night's victory at Newcastle United, Sven-Goran Eriksson made just one enforced switch as the unwell Elano made way for Mexican debutant Nery Castillo.

Injuries had taken their toll on Alan Curbishley's squad over Christmas and, after losing at table-topping Arsenal on New Year's Day, the Hammers boss made two changes. The injured Freddie Ljungberg was replaced by Matthew Etherington, while Dean Ashton returned in place of Jonathan Spector.

Having played four games inside the past fortnight, both sides were showing similar signs of a festive hangover as Matthew Upson, Etherington and Ashton sent half-hearted efforts well wide.

Meanwhile at the other end, Stephen Ireland's hopeful lob cleared the target and man-of-the-match Martin Petrov pursued referee Rob Styles after his penalty appeal was waved away.

The tie finally burst into life midway through the half when Green diverted Ireland's rising eight-yard shot high into the chilly East End skies after Petrov strode deep into home territory.

At the other end, Hart showed equal prowess when he clawed away Etherington's sizzling 12-yarder from the foot of his right-hand upright and, shortly afterwards, the in-form City keeper then fisted away Mark Noble's 18-yard free-kick from his near post.

As the half drew to a close, Castillo almost marked his debut with a goal but, with Anton Ferdinand snapping at his heels, he spooned Petrov's dangerous low cross into the six-yard box high over the bar to keep it all-square at the interval.

Curbishley replaced skipper Lucas Neill with Spector for the start of a second half that soon saw Green race out to bravely pluck the ball off Vedran Corluka's toes, before Ireland again forced him to divert aside an angled rocket that was then hacked clear.

With the game heading for an inevitable replay, both managers shuffled their packs as substitutes Kelvin Etuhu, Gelson Fernandes, Rolando Bianchi, Kyel Reid and Lee Bowyer all entered the proceedings for the final stages.

But after Micah Richards saw his diving header blocked and Petrov tickled the bar with a deft chip, Hart earned his side a deserved replay when he tipped Ashton's close-range header over the top.

Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "I think we were unlucky. We will have (luck) it at home, hopefully. "Everything is still open. I hoped to win this game but a draw is okay for me. "It was a good performance and we defended very well for 90 minutes. "We tried to create occasions to score and maybe we should have scored in the first half."

West Ham United: Robert Green, John Paintsil, George McCartney, Lucas Neill (Jonathan Spector 45), Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Upson, Hayden Mullins (Lee Bowyer 75), Matthew Etherington (Kyle Reid 69), Mark Noble, Dean Ashton, Carlton Cole,

Subs not used: James Collins, Richard Wright

Manchester City: Joe Hart, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards, Vedran Corluka, Michael Ball, Richard Dunne, Stephen Ireland (Kelvin Etuhu 66), Martin Petrov, Dietmar Hamann, Castillo (Gelson Fernandes 72), Darius Vassell (Rolando Bianchi 79),

Subs not used: Kasper Schmeichel, Javier Garrido

Booked: Vedran Corluka 90, Dietmar Hamann 90

Attendance: 33806

Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 2     First win this year!
Wednesday 2nd January 2008 : Damian Spellman for GYKO at St James Park

Beleaguered Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce was plunged deeper into trouble as Manchester City ended their wait for a Premier League win on the road at the worst possible moment for the former Bolton boss.

The 53-year-old, who had seen his side take just one point from the previous nine despite facing struggling Derby at home and Wigan at the JJB Stadium, dominated for long periods, but simply could not make the pressure tell as City staged a classic smash and grab raid.

Even the returning Michael Owen could not turn the tide as he passed up a glorious opportunity to equalise within 35 seconds of his introduction as a half-time substitute.

By contrast, Sven-Goran Eriksson's side produced two top-quality finishes from Elano and substitute Gelson Fernandes to kill off a game which gave them their first win in the league away from home since the opening day of the season.

That the Magpies should have emerged with something to show for their efforts will be little consolation to fans who have seen the season go from bad to worse, and despite chairman Chris Mort's assertion that owner Mike Ashley is not actively looking for a new manager, Allardyce's future looks bleak if the current run continues.

Newcastle face a tricky trip to Coca-Cola Championship Stoke in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, and a poor result there will heap the pressure on Allardyce, who will lose four men to the African Nations Cup during the next few days.

To make matters yet worse there were boos from the bulk of a crowd of 50,956 on the final whistle.

Allardyce has not known whether to laugh or cry for much of him time at St James' Park to date, and as he headed for the dressing room at half-time, rarely had those conflicting emotions hit so hard.

City arrived on Tyneside with Darius Vassell operating as a lone striker and content to try to hit the Magpies on the break as they looked for their first league win away from Eastlands since the opening day of the season.

Visiting keeper Joe Hart knew little about the fifth-minute Habib Beye header which flew his way, and only his excellent positioning kept the Senegal international's close-range effort out. Abdoulaye Faye tested him twice from distance and Obafemi Martins blasted a fierce effort his way.

However, the Nigerian was guilty of not making the most of a series of openings as the visitors found themselves pinned back, and he was not alone with Charles N'Zogbia scuffing another effort at Hart and then sending a low cross too far ahead of the unmarked Mark Viduka.

Eriksson's side had started to show flashes of their ability to hit teams on the counter, and it took a good save from Shay Given to deny Martin Petrov when he fired in an angled drive from the left on 31 minutes.

However, having earlier survived a potentially catastrophic back-pass by Claudio Cacapa which Stephen Ireland squandered, the Geordies were hit seven minutes before the break.

There was much to admire about Vassell's lay-off to Elano and the aplomb with which the Brazilian curled the ball beyond Given and into the bottom corner, but Allardyce could only shake his head and appeal to the heavens as another game started to slip away.

He decided to replace Martins with Owen at the break, and the change almost had the desired effect with less than a minute gone. N'Zogbia picked out the 17million man's run and he was on the ball in a flash, only to see Hart superbly block his right-foot shot with his leg.

Newcastle were starting to re-establish their momentum, although were struggling to open the visitors up, with N'Zogbia's speculative 35-yard effort symptomatic of their problems.

As the home side's desperation grew, central defender Cacapa twice found himself in advanced positions down the left, but was unable to make the most of either opportunity.

However, Micah Richards had to make a vital block to deny Viduka a near-post tap-in from N'Zogbia's 63rd-minute cross.

Allardyce, who had earlier replaced the tiring Duff with Jose Enrique, sent on Emre for Faye with 17 minutes remaining, but the game was effectively over before they had broken sweat.

City replacements Kelvin Etuhu and and Gelson combined for the latter to fire past Given and shatter Allardyce's hopes of a fightback as another bad night at St James' ended to a chorus of disapproval from the home fans as Blue Moon echoed round the fast emptying stands as the City fans celebrated in style for this was the first league double over Newcastle since City won the league in 1968.


Given, Beye, Taylor, Cacapa, N'Zogbia, Milner, Butt,Faye (Emre 73), Duff (Jose Enrique 64), Viduka,Martins (Owen 46).

Subs Not Used: Harper, Rozehnal.

Man City Hart, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Ball, Ireland (Gelson 75), Hamann, Elano (Etuhu 71), Corluka, Petrov, Vassell (Bianchi 88).

Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Garrido.

Booked: Elano, Vassell, Gelson.

Goals: Elano 38, Gelson 76.

Att: 50,956

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).


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