MATCH REPORTS 1999/2000
Goals: MC Goater (30). WW: Akinbiyi (5), Branch (18,40), Muscat (68)
Line up: Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville (Tiatto), Jeff Whitley (Pollock ), Bishop, Horlock, Kennedy, Goater, R.Taylor
Report by: Walter Smith
Gutted absolutely Gutted, can you believe it there I am at half time wandering around, feeling confident that City's would give their normal 2nd half performance and pull back this game, when some bloke walks past me in the same (exactly) yellow hat as me. I thought I was the only one stupid enough to wear something like that, it would be like Tony Burns walking to the ground with no belt on his trousers, his trousers around his ankles and finding someone else doing the same.
Well what was the game like, got to the ground and a lot of the pubs in the town were not Away supporter friendly, so we were never getting in there (have you ever tried to do a black country accent, no accent can sound that stupid, you can't even do a decent impersonation, if you have an IQ above 10). Ended going in some rough pub near the ground, met my mate at this pub, because he'd been ejected from the Hogs Head in Wolverhampton, for speaking to me on a mobile, the bouncer heard him realised he had an above average IQ (not a Wolves accent) and chucked him out.
Got in the ground, I was quite impressed with the set up, to be fair it's a nice ground with decent facilities, it's hard to believe that are ground in Eastlands is going to be twice this size. Took my seat next to couple of mates Tim and Steve and kick off commenced. City were on the back foot from the off, why when we come to this part of the world do the clubs insist on putting the away fans on a lower tier and the home support on a tier above them, it's open invitation to put whatever you like on to the away fans, Midlands don't you just love it.
So we were on the back foot and only a few minutes into the game we were one nil down, Wolves crossed the ball into our box, it was headed against the bar and Akinbiyi knocked it in with his head. Within what seemed minutes they were 2-0 up and the Wolves fans were dancing a merry jig. Branch got the second for them, his pace was electrifying all night. We look as scared as an 8-year-old at a Gary Glitter party, we showed them too much respect and we were rattled. Rob Taylor who for me was the man of the match, hit the cross bar with an excellent effort. City didn't have Kennedy in the game up to this point, when he sent in an excellent cross, which was converted by Goater. 2-1 game on. City were now starting to show a bit of pressure for the first time in the match, but along came half time, but Wolves stretched their lead to 3-1, for some reason I thought would still be able to scrap their way back.
I had my hat experience at half time, bad omen if ever there was one? So second half got under way and City were being outfought in the middle of the park, Whitley's game relies on harassing the opposition, which he didn't. which makes him as useful as a Jeffrey Archer character reference. The back four were left exposed and didn't seem to be tackling the Wolves players, giving them time (therefore confidence on the ball). Wolves later on in the half carved up the City defence and got a fourth. At this point the Wolves fans let themselves down badly, coming across as very sad people by chanting 'United, United', this lead to a couple of City fans trying to take on all the police and stewards to get to them. This must be embarrassing to any decent Wolves fans, Why chant that sort of rubbish at a ground?
I left with about 5 minutes to go, I'd had enough, the Wolves stewards would only let the City fans out of one turnstile, which was very dangerous, only when it looked like the fans would turn on the stewards did they open a gate, no need.
The bright note from the game was the performance of Rob Taylor, he for me was superb, hitting the cross bar, bringing others into the game, setting Goater up with more than one clear cut chance, he was superb. Some sad git behind me was slagging him off (so I had to put him right), then he laid into Goater for most of the match, who are we going to replace him with Gareth 'The Giraffe' Taylor, he wanted Goater substituted after 5 minutes (again I had a word). Some people are more short sighted than Steve Wonder with a micro chip.
We need to better than this, we badly miss Morrison, he would have put Akinbiyi in his pocket, and still had room to organise the rest of the defence, can you imagine us conceding 4 goals with him in the back 4, no neither can I.
Goals: MC Wiekens (48). SC: Bailey 65(), Dinning (82 pen)
Line up: Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville , Jeff Whitley (Pollock), Bishop, Horlock, Kennedy, Goater, R.Taylor (Gareth Taylor)
Report by: Phil Hartley
Hmmmm! Well I suppose Walter Smith doesn't need to wear his yellow hat. Tony Burns can start wearing a belt again, and I can be freed from the bondage of my erstwhile 'Lucky Underpants'. The magic, for the time being has worn off.
City started with the same team that was well tonked by Wolves on Friday. County included Alan Bailey, a potential City wonderboy from the previous season, who we released to County in the summer. The script was already written, wasn't it? City started quite brightly, with Mark Kennedy's long crossfield ball just not quite picked up by the admittedly quite portly Robert Taylor. Taylor played quite well in the first half, narrowly missing 2 headers and displaying a deft little touch with his instep to Whitley in the early exchanges. He clearly tired as the game progressed and it's fair to say that he is not yet gelling with Shaun - they often got in each other's way. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that he will do the business for us this season.
County's game plan was obvious from the start. They had players upfront, including Bailey and the reasonably impressive Chis Byrne with genuine pace. They sat back and tried to hit us on the break. All the game was played in County's half, but other than the aforementioned Taylor misses and a spectacular volley from Bish, which hit the frame of the goal, Carlo Nash was rarely troubled in Stockport's goal. Likewise, other than a mishit cross which Weaver smartly tipped over the bar, it was mainly quiet in our penalty area. Early in the second half Wiekens scored from a Jobson knock down following Kennedy's corner. Surely we'd now turn the screw? But no, Granville trod on the ball in our own penalty area, Bailey shot, Weaver saved.
A few minutes later, Weaver missed a backpass, but thankfully he was able to scurry back and save a corner. County scored when we lost the ball in midfield, Bishop and Horlock put in powderpuff challenges and Bailey scored following the ball ricocheting around our 6-yard box for about half an hour (OK I exaggerate slightly). It was a poor goal to concede from our point of view, as were most of the Wolves goals. Problem one: Why have we started conceding crap goals again, I thought we had eliminated this particular trait?
Almost straight from the restart, Jim Gannon, I think, almost scored 'own goal of the season', when from the edge of the box he wickedly sliced a ball onto the post. Problem two: Have we used up all our luck already this season? We huffed and puffed, Pollock replaced Whitley, Taylor Mk1 replaced Taylor Mk2, Nash was excellent gathering most of Kennedy's crosses and it looked like a disappointing 1-1 was on the cards. But of course as you already know, Nicky tried to dribble the ball past one striker too many, lost it to Bailey, who was subsequently brought down by Granville, Dinning scoring the resultant penalty to secure a famous County win. There were question marks about whether there was an off side, and TV replays show that Bailey was brought down OUTSIDE the box, but that's not really the point, is it? We all knew that Weaver would be caught out one day, its just a pity that it was such an expensive blunder. You can't criticise him too much, he single-handedly won us 6 points against Brum and Ipswich earlier in the season, not to mention countless other saves. This mistake cost us a point, so he's still in credit.
So has the bubble burst? Hopefully not, but its got a slow puncture! Certain players, Granville, Whitley, Edghill and possibly Wiekens looked jaded. Kennedy is not yet back to his best. The Goater/R Taylor partnership doesn't exist yet and Weaver has lost a little of the invincibility he looked like he had a few short weeks ago. In fact the whole team seem to lack that 'something' that has kept us going, even when key players have been out. We do miss the leadership and organisational skills of Morrison, but as mentioned, we've survived without his and other's influence previously. We were slower to the ball, we weren't getting the bounces, the passing (with the exception of Bishop) wasn't crisp, it just didn't work! So we've lost 3 on the trot, so what! Only Wolves tonked us. We could have won both the others, the fact that we didn't is concerning, but not 'end of the world' stuff. Other than Huddersfield, our other main rivals are cocking up their own results and the fact remains that we are still second in the league, 1 point off the top, 8 points clear of the last playoff place. Admit it, its better than we expected in August! Swindon and Grimsby really are 'must win' games, and failure to garner maximum points may mean a reassessment of our situation and our expectations. For now, I'm still fairly happy. You should be too!
Goals: MC Goater (19, 90), Bishop (78), (Doughty 90og). CC: Richardson (27)
Line up: Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville (Jeff Whitley), Pollock, Bishop, Horlock , Kennedy, Goater, Peacock
Report by: Phil Hartley
Oh, you want a bit more detail, do you? OK here goes. Despite hearing from various sources that access to the Deva Stadium, parking and physical entry into the ground were difficult, we arrived, parked and got into the ground without any problems. My white lucky underpants from the season so far had been discarded only for the second time for a match I have attended in favour of a rather fetching black pair. Would they do the trick? The Deva stadium itself is a 'legoland' type construction, not much more than 4 stands built around the pitch, a bit like Walsall really. Having said that the view from all sides was good and unobstructed - there were no posts holding up the roof.
We were in the seats, back row which was designated row 'F'. Somehow "..the centre half hoofed the ball into Row F.." doesn't quite have the same ring of a Row X or Z! Anyway... City made 2 changes from the losing team of the last 2 games, Peacock in for the cup-tied R Taylor and Pollock getting a deserved start in place of Whitley. From the kick-off it was obvious that the other City were fired up for the game and they forced a corner in the first few seconds. We looked reasonably in control and Kennedy in particular was seeing a lot of the ball. He got in his usual quota of crosses, some really excellent, but Goater and Peacock failed to connect. Chester's keeper flapped at several balls and it seemed a matter of time before the goals flowed. Our first goal came on about 18 minutes, when Horlock's through ball (might actually be giving Kev more credit than he deserves here - it was a long punt with far too much power!) was chased by Goater. His presence obviously panicked the defender and keeper, allowing him to toepoke the ball past the hesitant keeper to score. Although not spectacular, a fine individual goal.
Soon after Goater had another half chance, as it looked like Chester might fall apart. However, 10 minutes later Chester scored, when Jobson appeared to head the ball clear, only for it to deflect off a player into the path of Chester's captain, who shot past the advancing Weaver. I wouldn't blame Jobson, but it was another poor goal from our point of view. Chester's right back had resorted to stong-arm tactics on Kennedy, one scything challenge really was X-rated stuff and if Kennedy had not jumped clear, it could well have been the last contribution to the game for both Kennedy and the offender, but for obviously differing reasons. Our passing was pretty poor and Chester enjoyed a spell of reasonable pressure before half time.
We expected Royle to give his usual half-time rollicking and for us to up the tempo in the second half. Granville was sacrificed for Whitley as we reverted to a 3 at the back formation, in an effort to bolster the midfield, which had not been particularly effective in the first half. However, the tactic could easily have backfired spectacularly as Chester really went for it. They had obviously detected a lack of pace in the centre of our defence and a succession of long balls for the impressive Luke Beckett (a City fan) to chase, caused us problems. Still our midfield was misfiring with virtually every player misplacing passes. The aforementioned Beckett had 2 great chances to be the hero when twice in quick succession he beat our defence only to be denied by 2 great saves from Weaver.
The game looked like being a 1-1, and Chester would have thoroughly deserved a replay at Maine Road, but with 13 minutes to go and against the run of play, Edghill for once picked out a terrific cross which was finished off by Bishop (yes Bishop!) rising like a salmon (tm) at the far post to plant an unstoppable header past the Chester keeper. In the last minute Goater scored from a Kennedy cross (who had been very quiet in the second half) and an own goal finished off proceedings.
4-1 was an exceedingly flattering scoreline and as mentioned above, Chester can consider themselves unlucky not to have at least earned a replay. We were poor, particularly in the second half (despite scoring 3 goals!) but I suppose we kept going and probably our much vaunted fitness levels gave us the edge in the last portion of the game. I have said in many match reports this season that we have performed well as a team, with each individual knowing their role and working hard for each other. This isn't the case at the moment. There were several instances where players abdicated responsibility, either getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible or not covering their team mates when not in possession. JR needs to get this aspect of our game back on track, because if we had played a more skilled team than Chester, we would not now be looking forward to a tie against the current Premiership leaders. More importantly, if we had played a league game, rather than the FA Cup 3rd round, we might have been looking at a 4th consecutive defeat. Hopefully this win, will oil the wheels of confidence a little and, with Kennedy beginning to rediscover his form (in the first half at least), Goater still scoring goals and Rob Taylor with another couple of weeks training with the rest of the squad, we can get back on track against Swindon on the 18th. Fingers crossed. Oh, the lucky underpants are dead, long live the lucky underpants!
Goals: MC Pollock (29), R.Taylor (47), Goater (59)
Line up: Wright, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville, Pollock, Bishop, Horlock, Kennedy (Tiatto), Goater, R.Taylor
Report by: Geoff Donkin
The last trip of the century to Maine Road for a part of the newly established Beverley and District CSA (30% of us anyway, I suspect our season ticket holders were there under their own steam) didn't start too well, with traffic delays on the way out of East Yorkshire meaning the pre-match shopping binge in the club shop had to be delayed until after the game. An indifferent pie and chips from the 'under new ownership' City Chippy (apparently the sausages are a better bet), no time for a beer, and off to the North Stand for a change, via a Chips'n'Gravy seller (issue 9's a very amusing read). This was a special occasion for Chris, a not-so-closet Raglet that Mark and Annette rather puzzlingly produced 11 years ago. Mark had made the ultimate sacrifice and taken his son to the Swamp earlier this season for his birthday, and the deal was that Chris should some along to the Academy (minus anything remotely red in colour) and be part of a crowd with real atmosphere. There's still time for him to be lured away from the dark side of the Force and maybe he'll be one of those 'I've seen the light' Why Blues in years to come. We got into position, well placed behind the goal to hopefully witness a return to something like the form prior to our recent bad run. The ground looked to be pretty full - attendance 31751 in the end - and as I'd anticipated from watching from other parts of the ground in previous visits, the North Stand was a very noisy and boisterous place to spend the afternoon.
We set off looking like we meant business and Super Bob Taylor went close in the first minute, followed shortly afterwards by, Bish losing his man and looping a shot onto the bar with the vertically-challenged (and mentally judging by the length of time he took to fasten his laces at one point) Swindon keeper beaten. However, it was to be almost half an hour before we finally got the breakthrough. A Kennedy corner was knocked back out to him, and he fired it back into the crowded box and slim line Jamie just beat Kevin Horlock to score from about 24 inches, and boy did he look like he enjoyed it from the salute he gave the North Stand. It was the only bright spot in a rather lacklustre first half. Swindon had been playing it around reasonably well themselves, and forced Tommy Wright Wright Wright into a save (or did it miss him and hit the post?) but looked there for the taking at the back. So the Blues went off at half time to a rather muted reception from the crowd. Young Chris had to be forcibly muffled when the half time score in the U****d game was flashed up.
Of course the snag with being behind the goal is that my vision's not up to picking out the finer details when the action is at the other end as we hoped it would be in the second half. As a result, I can't really comment on Super Bob's first goal for us, other than to say it was a shot from some distance that squirmed under Tallia and into the net within 2 minutes of the restart. Rob will score better goals for us but they all count and it was just what we needed to settle things down. A few minutes later and it was all over at 3-0, as Shaun Goater shrugged off a couple of challenges to beat the keeper with relative ease; he went off more or less straight away with an ankle injury (Peacock substituted) There wasn't much else to report on the pitch, although the early leavers will have missed the lovely move from Bish in injury time, as he turned his marker and swept a 30 yard pass out to the wing (but to no avail). The North Stand amused its collective self with a bit of taunting of the Kippax - 'you're not famous anymore' being amongst the cleaner ones - who reciprocated though less audibly. Both stands then encourage the Platt Lane who responded after a delay, but when the Main Stand had their turn, they maintained the look of a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in those old Soviet TV pictures we used to see, with perhaps a few restrained waves to break the seated rows. It was all good natured, though given the number of kids I saw around us in the North Stand I think the language is a bit over the top. Tone it down folks!!
Overall assessment, Tommy W had little to do but keep warm and wave to the crowd occasionally; his kicking still gives me the shivers. Danny G has doubtless had better games, but he seemed a bit out of sorts today, and Edgy was a bit wayward too. Ged W and Jobbo dealt with most things comfortably though occasionally looked a little flat footed. Mark K was out of sorts and substituted just after half time (Joe Royle said afterwards he'd been borderline to start and had gone straight to bed after the game as he looked white) by Danny Tiatto who stirred things up down the left, whipped in a few good crosses and can generally be pleased with his contribution. Super Kev and Bish didn't really shine for me today, but slim line Jamie ran and chased like a man possessed (was lucky not to get booked for one late challenge that fortunately didn't connect). Aside from his goal, Shaun had an OK game, doing his fair share of running. Super Bob is never going to be the fastest member of the team, but with a bit of work on his fitness (as JR hinted on GMR after the game) he'll get better; he got into some good positions, set up Edgy? I think with a neat back heel in the first half, and generally let the defence know he was there. I'd agree (based on what I've read) with JR when he said afterwards that we'd not played any better than in the last few games yet won today. We've now got 45 points - almost safe from relegation! - and stopped the rot. The other results could have gone better for us but at lease Charlton only got a point at QPR. We'll come good again but there's still along way to go. What a difference 12 months makes - we lost 2-1 at York on the same weekend last year. Oh, and by the way, young Chris said he'd enjoyed it - maybe there's hope for him yet.
May all your Christmases be Blue.
Goals: MC Granville (50), Goater (70)
Line up: Weaver, Edghill , Wiekens , Jobson, Granville, Jeff Whitley, Pollock (Grant), Bishop, Kennedy (Tiatto), Goater, Peacock (Dickov)
Report by: Euan Bayliss
We got to the ground in good time, despite a horrible traffic jam of traffic waiting to get off the M5, and also managing, I think, to park in a car park that was on of the furthest from the ground.
On the way to the ground we got talking to one of the locals, after being apparently amazed at the distance we'd come(Leeds), he asked why we hadn't just watched it on TV. Ask a silly question...
I was very happy to see City wearing the red/black kit again. City lined up thus:
Weaver Granville Wiekens Jobson Edghill Whitley Bishop Pollock Kennedy Goater Peacock
subs: Wright, Tiatto, Dickov, Grant, Crooks
We started off pretty brightly. Kennedy was making some progress on the left, but was soon off. We thought it must be that he was still recovering from flu, but it seems that he suffered a slight calf strain.
Although we'd pushed forwards early on, West Brom nearly scored, being denied by a brilliant save on the ground by Weaver, who was bang on form again.
I thought that overall, the first half was quite even, and either side could have scored. What was noticeable in the first half, and more so in the second is that when City kept the ball on the ground and consistently switched play about, the West Brom defence had real trouble keeping up. Most noticeably, Edghill and Pollock quite often were able to get a lot of space on the right. I really wonder what a fit and on form Terry Cooke could have done on that side. I'm sure that he would have been a real asset there.
0-0 at half time, and a definite feeling that with City playing towards their fans, it could only get better.
It did. In the second half, City played very well, passing the ball nicely and making space. Granville scored a lovely goal after being set free by an excellent pass by Goater. Then later on Goater beat the offside trap and was able to hold off a defender superbly before slotting the ball home.
On the other hand, Weaver was forced to make an excellent save, he tipped the ball onto the bar from a header. Also there was a very loud and confident appeal for a penalty, apparently for a push, which I didn't see.
Having said that, later on, a West Brom player brought Goater down as he was breaking free, and could have been sent off, instead he got a booking, and another West Brom defender could have gone for an amazing mid air collision, although I still don't know who the victim was. There were lots of handballs which were missed as well.
Overall, a good performance. Proof positive that when City pass the ball around rather than just hoofing it upfield, they can really control the midfield and make space for themselves.
Performances of note came from Weaver, who was excellent again, Jobson, who did a great job of controlling defence, although I still think we miss Morrison, Jeff Whitley, who was back, challenging for everything, Bishop, whose play really helped us to control midfield. But the man of the match had to be Shaun Goater. He made one goal, scored a beauty, but also held the ball up well, battled hard, and made some excellent defensive challenges. This was one of his best performances for a long time.
Goals: MC Horlock (5, 90). GT: Coldicott (27)
Line up: Weaver, Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville (Tiatto), Pollock, Bishop (Crooks), Horlock, Tiatto (Dickov), Goater, Peacock (Grant)
Report by: Tony Burns
It was great to be leaving home for the match knowing that if we were to win we would stay on top, irrespective of results anywhere else. It was even better when we heard that Huddersfield had lost at Charlton in their match that had kicked off at midday.
We had left home much earlier than usual for this match so that we could meet up in The Gardeners and have a beer before the match, we took my nephew with us, and had arranged to meet up with my father in law, my brother and his wife. The ticket for my nephew was a Christmas present and I had thought that a trip to The Gardeners for Guinness and song would help with the pre-match build up and I wasn't to be disappointed.
In the way of pre-match portents, I had not done a great deal other than try to think of something that Grimsby was famous and interesting for. To be honest this proved quite difficult.
I knew of course that the town had something to do with fish (at least in the past) and I knew that at one stage it had been an important seaport. Once I had found out that it has the National Fishing Heritage Centre I decided that was quite enough and that I must make a point of never going there.
I can barely begin to imagine the response from my family to the question "does anybody fancy a day out at the fishing heritage centre?" - It's just not inspiring is it?
As a good luck portent on Monday evening I had taken a bag of fish cakes (battered) from the freezer, and left them on the kitchen worktop as though they were to be cooked and take part in a meal. I then made a point of saying out loud "let's have sausauge instead of fish cakes" and then with something of an elaborate flourish I picked up the fish cakes and slammed them back into the freezer drawer. My rationale for this being quite straightforward: the fish cakes represented Grimsby and that in allowing them to make it to the kitchen worktop they had almost been selected for the evening meal (this represented their attendance at Maine Road) by putting them back in the freezer in such a rough way merely represented the punishment that the Blues would dish out later on the field of play. The logic of this is undeniable, as you well know. You know the final score in advance of reading this so tell me it didnít work! Added to that my beltless trousers and it's clear that we can all influence results.
Just in case you doubt this, let me just tell you a sobering tale about the Stockport match. I wasn't able to go as I was out of the country (as you will know from my previous contribution to MCIVTA). My wife took my children and despite their intense protestations, she seemed quite happy to ride roughshod over all the elaborate match traditions and rituals that my children and I know are an essential part of any game.
In fact, I was horrified to find out just the other day that as they walked from the car to Maine Road that she did two things that clearly cost us the game. The first and worst (in my opinion) was that she saw and then picked up a 2p piece from the ground. She did this despite my childrens' strong vocal protests that the 2p could easily represent two goals for our opponents and that 'dad' wouldn't have picked it upí unconvinced she pocketed it!
Secondly and in a complete rubbishing of tradition and pre-match preparation she would not go into a local shop near the ground to buy some sweets that can be said to represent the opposition and then ritually eat them as they made their way over the last few yards of tarmac to Maine Road.
Added to that the probability that she would not have been prepared to let her jeans fall down mid way through the match and I'm sure you can see a pattern being established that meant realistically we were never going to beat Stockport.
Anyway moving on, we had a great laugh in the pub and laughed as we made our way to the ground. The reason for our mirth - quite simple, the outfits the Grimsby supporters were wearing. They wore rubber aprons with wooden chopping boards tied on the back, apparently simulating the typical working garb of a Grimsby fishmonger. In any case the stench was unbelievable. They just reeked of fish as they got out of their trawler shaped cars, each with nets draped from the rear (the cars not the Grimsby folk). It was certainly a good idea to make sure they were in the open Gene Kelly end as at least there was a chance that the stink of their work wear would drift away. Even the seagull tethered to the Kippax was forced to vomit at the stench that came up from below. But all in all a moments pause for credit to the fish smelling mariners who did make it to the academy. Our opponents have the worst average home attendance in the league (apart from Crewe) so fair play to those who had made the trip.
Moving on to the game then, we obviously were a little disappointed that Kennedy was out (following his injury at West Brom) but we were still confident in the team, especially knowing that we had a great chance to extend our lead at the top as Charlton had beat Huddersfield in the game that had kicked of at lunch time. There would be something neat about being at the top as we went into the 21st Century and I was to be thrilled and delighted later on in the evening when we were to realize that Leeds would take that honour in the Premier (well done Sunderland).
The Grimsby team had a neat kit - similar to Newcastle's and Juventus and certainly looked the part of a professional football team, if not quite being able to play the part.
We started at rush and were 1-0 up by the fourth minute. Horlock hit the first goal as he ignored the Mariner's cries of 'striker ahoy'í as he slammed the ball into the net. Goater (who looks more like Ronaldo as each game passes) was unlucky as he hit the bar. We were certainly on top as our midfielders dominated proceedings, but despite this we were unable to increase our lead.
It was with some disappointment that Weaver was beaten as the 30-minute mark approached, but even so I was confident that we would soon be back on top. It was not to be and we went into the interval at 1 - 1. City's performance in the second half generally fell short of that in the first 45.
Dickov came on and looked his usual fiery self and Pollock continued to play well. The game ambled along and I thought the best we were going to do was get a point. That was until the last 10 minutes. City began to throw everything at their opponents and a period of sustained pressure was established. Tony Grant fired a superb long range shot only to see the Mariners keeper save, but our pressure was rewarded in the last minute when Horlock hit an absolute cracker to send Maine Road into ecstasy. Once that had gone in it was only a matter of playing out the two minutes of stoppage time that the fourth official (Mr I. R Davies) indicated was left. The whistle went and we went four points clear, not a bad set of results from our holiday programme so far then.
This wasn't a vintage performance but it was good enough. We had another superb crowd - 32,607 had been there and I thought the referee (Mr Pugh, a Project Manager from Bebbington) had a decent game. Messrs Hancox and Pashley - red and yellow flags, had ably assisted him throughout.
by Svenn A. Hanssen, email@example.com