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MATCH REPORTS 1995/96

AUG 19 MANCHESTER CITY - TOTTENHAM 1-1 (0-1)

Attendance: 30,827
Goals: MC: MC: Rösler (51) TH: Sheringham (33)
Line up: Immel, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Symons, Flitcroft, Lomas, Summerbee, Kinkladze, Walsh, Rösler (Quinn)

Report by: Mark Bailey

I began the day in Manchester Arndale at the new City 'Superstore' which amazingly isn't bad. i got a cool t-shirt with 'City FC- Definitely Manchester' with the Oasis lettering. (Oasis being the City supporting rock Gods of the moment.) Towards the stadium it was good to see almost everyone in City shirts of one type or another and the hot weather allowing outdoor drinking at the pubs. In the stadium the crowd seemed to be quite small but in good voice. Only after the kick-off did I realise the stadium was almost full. All those in the pub must have made a late dash.

I started the first chant of 'Going down' a few minutes before kick-off to set the tone for the new season. As usual there was a buzz of expectation, 'Is this Kinky guy any good?' 'Can the new German keeper deal with a cross?' 'Is Kernaghan still crap?' After five minutes all are answered yes. Kernaghan isn't actually playing but we know he's still crap- you just KNOW.

Five minutes later we're not so sure about the keeper and a few minutes after that we go one down as Teddy 'You'll never score for England' Sheringham somehow scores a header in so much space I was expecting the Space Shuttle to land. City responded in there usual way with some totally forgetable football although Phelan attempted to kill the Romanian whose name I cannot spell with a horrible tackle- the real joy was that the ref didn't even give a foul.

Half time was cheered by the fact that the Rags were 3-0 down and that we were given a break from watching 'big' Alan Kernagan's bizarre warm up routine. The second half was better. The goal was hardly a classic- the keeper came for a hopeful cross, Uwe went up more in hope than expectation and the ball bounced gently off his head into a disbelieving goal.

After that Kinky ran the show, his first misplaced pass coming in the 87th minute (whereas Richard Edghill had managed one pass on target in the same time.) He is WAY too good for us, some of his passing was breathtaking and the ball seems to be tied to his foot with a bit of string. As for the rest of the team, Symmons looks solid, he'll do well with Curle if he's ever fit again. Edghill had a nightmare, Foster must be happy. Brightwell played well and even lazy sod Summerbee was seen to put a tackle in. So no revolution at Maine Road but a solid display against a Spurs side who defended very well (hard to believe I know but true).

AUG 23 COVENTRY - MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 (1-0)

Attendance: 15,597
Goals: MC: MC: Rösler (82). CC: Telfer (12), Dublin (86)
Line up: Immel, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell (Kernaghan), Symons, Summerbee, Lomas (Quinn), Flitcroft, Kinkladze, Walsh, Rösler

Report by: David Lamb

We were lucky to only lose. Rarely have I seen a more inept midfield display as last night. Flitcroft and Lomas had absolute shockers. Despite this we could have saved the game and only a Dublin goal 3 minutes from time stopped us ! (yes him again!)

The line-up was the same as for Spurs, even the subs. Coventry were showing off the 'posh' new main stand roof. This club does not have a premiership stadium or the support. Only 15,000 there last night, about 4,000(?) of them from City.

Straight after kick-off Coventry had a good attack but we soon took control and for the first 12 minutes were the better side. Kinky looked in good form and we put some pressure on. Then against the run of play they scored. We managed to leave Isaias wide open on the right (where was Phelan?) and from his cross Telfer scored.

From then on we were awful. The defence got pulled to shreds, no-one could pass and they put us under pressure. Coventry have got a lot of pace up front but not much else. They are well organised and play to their strengths. Our marking was poor (again) and, as a result, Coventry kept playing the ball to men in space around and beyond the back four.

For the second half, Kernaghan replaced Brightwell, and the supporters really got going. A chant of 'Alan Balls Blue and White Army' started 5 minutes before the half and kept going for 10-15 minutes. For the first 15 minutes we got behind the team, would they respond? No they didn't. It soon became obvious that we weren't having an effect and we became more subdued.

The problems the defence were having were due to a lack of support from midfield, Rosler and Walsh couldn't get going through recieving poor balls and no support. To be fair to Summerbee and Kinky, their role is not defensive and they had little chance when they did get the ball. Summerbee actually seemed to be trying for much of the game. He had, in my view, the best game out of our team. Although Immel had a reasonable game, good saves but doesn't seem to want to come off his line.

Flitcroft, though, had the worst game I've seen him play. Lomas is not good enough, we need a ball winner (like Batty, or Ince) to release Flitcroft. Part of his trouble may be that he is not playing his natural role?

Despite our appalling performance, we still managed to nearly save the game!! Quinn came on for Lomas and we immediatly looked better. We started to create some chances and could have scored a couple of times before, finally, Rosler did.

It didn't last as 4 minutes later, Coventry were back in front. And they deserved their victory. We will have to improve on this performance if we are going anywhere.

I did fulfill an ambition during the game though. I started my first chant. After our goal I stood up and started to shout UWE! and ,before I knew it, everyone was shouting it! The result took the gloss off this 'achievement' though.

Final Score 2-1

AUG 26 Q.P.R. - MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 (1-0)

Attendance: 14,212
Goals: QPR: Barker (31)
Line up: Immel, Foster, Phelan, Kernaghan, Symons, Summerbee, Lomas (Brown), Flitcroft, Kinkladze, Walsh (Quinn), Rösler

Report by: Paul Howarth

Things are going from bad to worse. There is very little in the way of positive comment I can make about this 'performance' I’m afraid. The day started well enough, arriving in London at about 1:00pm in bright, sunny weather which meant T-shirts were the order of the day. After a drink or two we made our way into the ground and found that our seats were right behind the goals at about crossbar level. The view was OK but I prefer being a bit higher up to get a better perspective of the game. City lined up as follows:

               Immel
 Foster   Kernaghan   Symons   Phelan
Summerbee  Lomas  Flitcroft  Kinkladze
          Walsh  Rösler

Nice to see Foster back in place of the out-of-form Edghill, even if it was only because Edghill had come down with a virus. I wondered later whether the rest of them had the virus too.

The first half was very nondescript with hardly any goalmouth action. Q.P.R. had slightly more of the possession in the first half hour and took the lead in the 32nd minute when Holloway put a neat pass into Barker’s path; he got to the ball just as three defenders closed in on him and hit a low, hard shot from 20 yards right into the bottom corner. City dominated the rest of the first half but never looked like scoring.

The second half was even worse. Quinn replaced Walsh on 66 minutes but this time it didn’t make any difference. Ten minutes later Michael Brown came on for Steve Lomas to make his debut. He showed the right attitude, getting stuck in with some crunching tackles and went on to provide the main talking point of the match. With just a few minutes to go, Impey ran through from midfield, chased by Brown who pulled his shirt, stopping him. The crowd shouted 'off, off, off' (as we all do in such circumstances) and much to everyone’s amazement Brown was sent off. This was despite the fact that he hadn’t previously been booked and there was at least one more defender between Impey and the City goal. I later learned that referee Danson was also the man who controversially sent off Alvin Martin for West Ham against Sheffield Wednesday last season, a decision that was later reduced to a booking. So, Brown joins a long list of City players sent off at Loftus Road in recent years: Gary Megson (with Paul Parker), Neil Pointon, Andy Dibble and Richard Edghill to name but four.

Q.P.R. (particularly Gallen) had missed several chances in the second half whilst City failed to create a single presentable opening. At the final whistle the City fans showed what they thought of it by shouting 'what a load of rubbish' and 'we’re shit and we know we are'. Alan Ball was furious with the players, locked them in the dressing room for 40 minutes while he told them what he thought of them and then offered an apology to chairman and fans alike. Brought in as a motivator, he doesn’t seem to have had much impact yet.

As for the players, only a few come out with any credit. Immel looked more confident with high balls, coming for and collecting several crosses and dealing comfortably with everything else thrown at him except the goal, which he had little chance with. He also seems cool and confident when presented with back-passes. Foster was an improvement on Edghill and had a busy day against the impressive Trevor Sinclair. Phelan defended reasonably but still tended to back off players too much, allowing them to get crosses in. Symons and Kernaghan looked solid enough individually but you have to wonder how so many chances seem to come the opposition’s way as a result of balls played through or around them.

Midfield was our major weakness, offering scant protection to the defence and creating nothing for the forwards. Kinkladze must be wondering what sort of team he’s joined. He gets the ball in central areas, looks around for people making runs, sees none, so he has to evade a few challenges, look again and still there’s nothing on. I don’t know what Summerbee is supposed to be doing. He’s not a winger (never beats a defender to get a cross in) but stays out wide and contributes virtually nothing. Flitcroft and Lomas made themselves busy without achieving anything. Flitcroft had one half- chance but skied his shot.

Up front, Walsh looks tired and Rösler cannot play as a lone striker. We have no width with Beagrie injured and Summerbee ineffective; Kinkladze needs to be operating further up the field where his ability to beat players will create more openings for himself, Walsh and Rösler.

This result leaves us third from bottom with some very tricky matches coming up. Bolton’s result against Blackburn shows they won’t be going down without a fight, which is more than can be said for Manchester City. Come on Bally, sort it out!

AUG 30 MANCHESTER CITY - EVERTON 0-2 (1-0)

Attendance: 28,432
Goals: E: Parkinson (58), Amokachi (76)
Line up: Immel, Foster, Phelan, Ingram (Kernaghan), Symons, Summerbee, Brown (Kerr), Flitcroft, Kinkladze, Quinn, Rösler

Report by: Ken Foster

My first match of the season and I was curious to see what sort of performance we would put in after AB's public slagging of the team after the QPR game. There was an apology to the fans from Ball in Monday's M.E.N and a promise of a big improvement for this game.

I took my seat in the North Stand early as I had to travel down straight after work to ensure a ticket! The New Kippax looks a picture, but City could well do with Sir John Harvey Jones as a consultant to sort out their dreadful organisation and marketing, but that's another story. Any doubts about committment were soon answered as City tore into Everton from the off. Brown and Flitcroft were snapping at Everton's heels and it took a while for any sort of pattern to emerge. Anything Everton threw up the middle was dealt with comfortably by Symons but Barrett, having nobody to mark himself was enjoying acres of space overlapping Kanchelskis. Phelan wasn't playing badly but simply couldn't cope. He got a little frustrated and narrowly avoided putting someone into row 10 of the new Kippax.

Kinkladze showed one or two classy touches, the best of which put Flitcroft clear but he dallied instead of getting a shot in. The nearest Everton came was when Kanchelskis shot over when he should have done better. All in all it was pretty even-stevens in the first half although we were looking a bit tired in the last five minutes. Brown, having given everything, was dead on his feet.

I don't know what AB said at half time but the start of the second half was all Everton. We were just soaking up pressure and making no inroads into Everton's half of the field. The breakthrough came when Amokachi got in behind Phelan, squared it to Parkinson in acres of space who calmly slotted past the helpless Immel. Our heads went down for ten minutes and the crowd tried to lift the players. Quinn who had been working tirelessly (although personally I think he isn't quite up to the top level) turned and put Rosler free on the left wing. Rosler beat Barrett (the only time he was beaten in the entire match) and crossed an inch perfect ball for Quinn who had made his way into the box. He headed down for what looked like a certain goal, but it hit Ablett's foot and went over. If we had equalised then I think it might have been a different story.

Needless to say (I know you've heard it all before) a few minutes later Kanchelskis broke free down the right (again!) and his shot was blocked but Amokachi popped up to slide it through Immel's legs. Goodnight Vienna! Reflecting on the match, I don't think it was the disaster that tomorrow's tabloids will try to describe it. Kinkladze and Symons look very good. The effort was unquestionable. The main difference between the sides was that Everton looked supremely organised where as our players looked as if they had met each other on the way to the ground. The fullback positions are obviously a worry. Phelan needs a brain and Foster's distribution is atrocious. If we can get an understanding going in midfield I fancy us for a marked improvement and let's face it we can't get any worse, rock bottom of the Premier Division tonight.

Man of The Match : Earl Barrett
       -For City : Michael Brown

P.S I've just watched Franny Lee having a punch up with Norman Hunter on Match of the Seventies and didn't know if I should laugh or cry.


Svenn Hanssen