v United 3-1
November 9th 34,645
the last two away wins at Birmingham and West Brom City should have been confident
to face a United without Beckham (suspended) and Keane (injured) but the midweek
defeat at the hands of Wigan and injuries to the heart of the defence - Howey
and Distin meant that Mettomo and Wiekens had their first outings of the season
and the support near me were somewhat apprehensive of what was to come. We need
not have worried - the whole team gave a terrific display and virtually played
United off the park. It could have been 5-1 again and not just 3-1.
Schmeichel captain for the day leads City out. Schmeichel is the only player apart
from the great Billy Meredith (just before my time!) to have captained both City
and United in a derby game
was an explosive start to the game with City taking the lead as early as the 6th
minute - what bliss. Annelka sped past Ferdinand - didn't he cost a few bob -
passed to Goater whose left foot shot was only parried by Barthez -pictured on
the left - out to Annelka who easily scored - below. Annelka deserved the goal
as he made it initially by pouncing on a poor United pass by Phil Neville, flashed
past Ferdinand and fed ' the goat'.
a start as the City players dash to the corner to celebrate. It was in this section
of the original Platt Lane Stand that I stood as a youngster to watch my very
first game between City and United in 1943 and then made the decision that I preferred
the blue of City to the red of United. The war was still on and the teams for
that day - there was no proper programme - were as follows
City 2 ( Burke,Boothway)
- Swift:Clark, Jackson (Rochdale): Walsh Eastwood, McDowell; King (Wolves), Bardsley,
Burke (Luton), Worral, Boothway(Crewe).
United 2 ( Smith, Pearson)
Griffiths, Roughton:Warner,Porter,Whalley:Morris,McKay,Smith,Pearson, Bellis(Port
Referee Salmon (Leeds)
Teams in those days
were able to field guest players hence the teams in brackets.
the lead did not last for long. Minutes later a loose ball ran to Giggs whose
cross was misjudged by Mettomo - his only mistake - and Solskjaer scores from
close range. It gave the United supporters their only moment of joy during the
In fact they had little to shout about I am glad to report they
had a thoroughly miserable day.
Schmeichel saves at the feet of Van Nistelrooy following a long ball from Scholes
one of the few United players to shine.
25 minutes a long ball from Foe appeared to be going nowhere other than out for
a goal kick. Garry Neville was in attendance to shepherd the ball out of play.
The persistent Goater managed to get the ball and hammer it past Barthez from
a narrow angle -above - 2-1
Goater is congratulated by Berkovic for his 99th goal for City while on the left
a dejected Garry Neville considers the consequences of his calamitous error. I
don't think the Neville brothers will be celebrating tonight. Below Giggs fails
to get past the attention of Dunne with Jihai Sun in close attendance
- all eyes on the ball as a corner comes in and above Peter Schmeichel looks as
safe as houses as he collects another cross. He was always in control of the box.
City defence played really well especially with Mettomo and Weikens fitting in
well. A tribute to the pre-match planning.
good ball from Goater - how well he is playing with Annelka - finds the French
man through on goal with only Barthez to beat. It looked a certain goal but Barthez
clawed the ball aside - pic right
continued to press and at half time and a score of 2-1 to City there was plenty
to talk about. In fact with the absence of music at half time you could hear a
constant hum of noise from the crowd. I fact I was so affected by the action of
the first 45 minutes that I forgot to change the batteries on the camera at half
time and Goater chose the wrong moment to score his hundredth goal for City seconds
after I had put the new ones in. There was no time to focus properly or to zoom
in as he put the game safe by taking a through ball from Berkovic thundered past
Blanc and clipped it over Barthez. Ecstasy 3-1 and home and dry - we hoped!
65 minutes Annelka once again broke through following a great ball from Berkovic
on the right. He looked to have been bought down by Barthez for a penalty but
referee Durkin said no and as the ball ran loose he gave a free kick against Goater
for a supposed foul. Did he let United off. Many other referees would have given
a penalty. Generally though the referee had a good game and let the game run without
too many stoppages. The City defence had a few moments of concern before the end
- this free kick at the edge of the box being deflected for a corner- below.
what a result 3-1 against the old enemy. City's third league win on the trot and
Charlton at home next game. A chance to move into the top half of the season and
forget all those relegation fears. City just outplayed United today and it could
have been 5-1 had Annelka and Goater taken further chances. It was the first time
I had seen Veron and van Nistelrooy in the flesh this season and they failed to
live upto their fees.
8: Sun 7, Mettomo 7, Dunne 7: Wiekens 8, Foe 7, Jensen 6; Berkovic 8, Tiatto 8:
Annelka 8, Goater 8 subs Wright-Phillips 6, Horlock 6
v Charlton 0-1
November 16th 33,435
the great game last weekend this was a poor game with City playing well below
form, only Dunne and Jihai Sun coming up to scratch. Neither keeper had a difficult
save to make and it was obvious from the kick-off that Charlton were going to
sit back and hope for a point. The creative juices and endeavor that were employed
against United had evaporated and though City had a good percentage of the ball
they failed to make any headway. There was very little incident in the penalty
areas and the crowd was very subdued. Wright-Phillips had a poor game and today
even Berkovic's guile made little impact on a strong Charlton defence. Annelka
had little support and was well marked throughout the game. Goater too had little
impact and was substituted by Huckerby late in the game - too late really .
right was one of the few occasions Peter Schmeichel was called into action.
when we were expecting a goalless draw Charlton scored a surprise goal. Horlock
, who had come on for injured Foe, lost the ball badly in midfield . A shot by
Johansson rebounded off a defender right into the path of Bartlett who had the
easiest of tasks to give Charlton the lead - above.
tried to come back but it was far too late and though there were a couple of half
chances this was a game City supporters will want to forget. With a difficult
away game at Middlesborough next and then Bolton at home it is going to take a
big physical and mental effort by the players to get the points.
6: Sun 7, Dunne 8, Mettomo 6, Jensen 6 : Wright-Phillips 4, Berkovic 6, Foe 5,
Tiatto 6: Annelka 6, Goater 5
v Bolton 2-0
November 30th 34,860
the poor display at Middlesborough following the dismal performance against Charlton,
City did their usual about turn and put on an excellent display in atrocious weather
conditions. The necessary changes were made with Howey and Distin coming back
from injury and Tiatto dropped back to wing back replacing Jensen.
out of form Wright -Phillips was dropped to the bench and Foe returned from suspension.
rain sweeping across the ground honours were even in the opening exchanges and
it looked as though the result was going to be close but in the end it was quite
a comfortable win.
Jaaskalainen has to go full length to push aside a shot from Anelka after 8 minutes
in action again at a corner
25 minutes City took the lead. Berkovic took a corner which was nodded on by Kevin
Horlock and there was skipper Steve Howey to head it into the Bolton net - left.
One nil to City.
Steve Howey takes the plaudits of the City faithful behind the goal the Bolton
defence try to work out who should have been doing the marking.
another dangerous City corner puts pressure on the Bolton goal just before half
time which came with City still one goal up
piled on the pressure in the second half and when Foe on a long run was upended
by Nolan after 50 minutes it was touch and go whether the Bolton defender was
the last man but Mr Winter was generous and only a yellow card was shown.
was impressed by Danny Tiatto when he was unceremoniously dumped by Nolan earlier
there was no sign of retribution. Nolan was lucky to escape a yellow card on that
the resultant free kick a Bolton defender took the brunt of an Anelka powerful
Bolton goal was having to take more City pressure
reasons unknown an argument started in the crowd below me. Within a few minutes
the police arrived in force and calm was restored.
all the commotion infront of me I almost missed City's second goal. I just looked
up to see Berkovic take Anelka's pass and shoot past the Bolton keeper. It was
a well deserved goal for Berkovic who has thrived in his role as creater-in -chief
in midfield. I can almost forgive him for opting out of the odd 50-50 challenge.
We cannot afford to have him injured at the moment. Tiatto had started the move
and although some of the Australian's passes had been woefully off course his
attacking wing back style constantly had Bolton on the defensive. Apart from a
good double save late in the game Peter Schmeichel had little to do as City's
back three gave excellent cover and City's midfield bossed the park in the second
7: Dunne 7, Howey 8, Distin 7: Sun 7, Berkovic 9, Foe 6, Horlock 7,Tiatto 7: Goater
5, Anelka 8 :
mystery below continued for several minutes even after City scored. Perhaps someone
had discovered who started the stupid rumor about Keegan going!
All in all
a really good display in appalling conditions. City played some good football
and it could have been 3 or 4. To make up the goal difference City must kill off
the opposition when in charge. Anelka once again showed his skill upfront but
I am not convinced Goater is his best partner. Perhaps the transfer window in
January will give us the answer. My gut feeling is that it will be a German striker.