Manchester City 2 Fulham 3
April 26th 44,505
Unbelievable! Just when City were coasting it at 2-0 they let Fulham off the hook and gave the visitors a last chance to escape relegation by gifting them the game and three vital points. To take the foot off the pedal when our goal difference is so poor considering our position is unacceptable in any circumstances. I know the defence was weakened by the absence of Richards and Dunne with players having to play out of position but that means the midfield have to put in an extra shift and the forwards have to make the most of the chances that come their way. Petrov played his heart out and Hart made some great saves but some of the others looked as though they could go through the game at half pace. Ireland who was having a better game than usual was taken off when he did not appear to be injured . Fulham overall had many more attempts at goal than we did despite their away record but at 2-0 we should have capitalized on the score and put the game safe. Instead we stood back and let them back. Unacceptable!
Just before half time Jihai Sun made a last ditch tackle to stop a Fulham attack and you can see the effect on Elano's eye of the earlier elbowing from Dempsey
Joe Hart pushes a Dempsey shot past the post
City manage to clear from the ensuing corner
A long shot from Bullard bounces awkwardly infront of Hart who manages to save.
Joe Hart saves brilliantly from a point blank header from Healy
Johnson trying to break through the Fulham defence
It was good to see the under 18 side who had won the FA Youth Cup be presented to our Chairman and given their chance to get the plaudits from the home supporters
They were given a good welcome by the crowd as they displayed their well earned newly won trophy
The first of the big screens is nearing completion in readyness for the UEFA Cup Final
Michael Ball was captain for the day with Jihai Sun standing in for the injured Dunne. Otherwise City were unchanged
Benjani had a free kick given against him for this!
The City faithful wait and watch as..........
........ as Petrov dashes down the wing and shoots but his shot is easily saved by Keller
City didn't have to wait long for the first goal. After 10 minutes Ireland won the ball off a defender gave the ball to Petrov who back heeled the ball back to Stephen Ireland who shot for goal........
....... curling the boll past the diving Keller and just inside the post much to the delight of the City supporters. A great goal!
We then had an unidentified flying object in the crowd.... well it made a change from bananas.
After 21 minutes City added to their score. A great through ball from Elano found Vassell who dashed down the wing and cut the ball back to a waiting Benjani who crashed it into the Fulham net.
Finger pointing Benjani celebrated with the crowd . City two up after 20 minutes - was this going to be a big victory !?!
Warren Clarke ( with an actor colleague I can't just place) in the stand again - he was at the Chelsea game.
In the 23rd minute Elano got an elbow from Dempsey and was lucky to only get a yellow card
A few minutes later Joe Hart was busy again punching away a corner
Boxer Ricky Hatton came on at half time to meet the winners of the Thomas Cook Kick for the Caribbean competition
Darius Vassell had a good chance early in the second half but he just went a little wide and Keller was able to push his shot aside
Fulham managed to clear the resultant corner
A Benjani chance is easily blocked by Keller
Benjani is hemmed in near the corner flag by Stalteri and Hughes
The subbing of Healy and McBride by Kamara (64min) and Nevland (69 min)by manager Hodgson proved to be vital for Fulham
A free kick by Bullard goes just wide as Hart dives to cover the effort
Corluka came off worst in an accidental collision with Hart and Murphy and stayed down while City went on a counter attack.
A minute or so later Corluka was involved with a one to one clash with Kamara who beat him before firing through Harts legs into the goal Whether Corluka was still suffering I don't know but the rest of the defence was slow to help out.
After 71 minutes Kamara who was causing problems in the makeshift City defence was brought down by Ball at the edge of the area
Joe Hart made another great save - clawing the ball away - from the free kick taken by Jimmy Bullard
A good centre from Petrov fails to bring any reward
After 78 minutes disaster struck . Jihai Sun was adjudged to have fouled Nevland in the box. I am afraid the Chinese player is not the best tackler in the world but there were some doubts about this award. Looked a bit 50-50.
Note that before the kick was taken by Murphy two players encroached - Kamara and Corluka
The kick was well saved by Hart but the ball ran back to Murphy who was able to net the rebound
Geovanni hits the side netting with this effort
Caicedo ( on for Vassell) shoots wide
A great cross ball from Elano was hit first time by Petrov but instead of being goal of the season it flew wide
To make up for his miss Petrov then went on a great lone run past player after player but unfortunately for City Keller managed to block his final effort.
Just on time Fulham got the winning goal. Kamara put through by Murphy ran inside Elano and crashed the ball past Hart
From being two up City had given Fulham three goals with defensive errors that never would have occurred with the normal defence .However City had their chances to put the game safe long ago and while the City supporters were struck dumb the Fulham supporters were delirious with joy. Would this win keep then up. Their next game against Birmingham will be the key.
While we waited for the City players to do a lap of honor we had to put up a over lengthy presentation ceremony for the first prize of a car. It went on and on and on and on..... . Had City won then supporters might not have minded but in the circumstances it could have been cut short .
At least there were a fair number of supporters of the big crowd left to give the City players a farewell to the season. I wonder how many will be in City colours next season?
Hart 7.5: Elano 6.5, Corluka 5.5, Ball 5.5, Sun 4.5: Ireland 7 ( Geovanni 6) , Fernades 6.5, Johnson 6, Petrov 7.5, Vassell 7 (Caceido 6) , Benjani 7
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