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NOV 5 MANCHESTER CITY - SOUTHAMPTON 3-3 (0-1)

Attendance: 21,589
Goals: MC: Walsh (50, 61), Beagrie (79). S: Hall (25), Eklund (62, 66)
Line up: Tracey, Hill (Mike), Phelan, I.Brightwell, Vonk, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Walsh, Quinn, Beagrie

Report by: Phil Knight

On Saturday afternoon, I made one of my increasingly infrequent trips to the Academy of Football to sample for myself the new spirit at City. The last game I got to was the home win against Everton; and despite the fact that largely the same personnel were on show, it was a distinctly different City on display.

Me and my Southampton chum plumped to sit in the new Kippax Stand - it's still only nine pounds to sit there, and there's always the chance of getting to wear one of those wonderful capes, as featured in the game against Tottenham. After a couple of pints in the Whitworth (where do you drink before the game?) we staggered to our seats. Just to the right of the halfway line, and about ten rows back, we had a great close-up view, perhaps lacking some of the perspective you get from higher up.

The crowd was about 4000 fewer than for the last home match, and was largely subdued for most of the time - I blame it on these all-seater stadiums, me. To start with, though, they were in good voice, and a chant of ``Barcelona'' rang out from the North Stand (this is where I think the hard core of the old Kippax have taken up residence).

The first half started brightly enough, a bit of a surprise for me because I thought City had to wait for the half-time team talk before they started to play. In the majority of City's attacks, the ball found its way to Peter Beagrie, and with Terry Phelan giving good support the Southampton right-back had a torrid afternoon. The problem with Beagrie, though, seems to be that he's not satisfied with beating a player once, and Southampton generally had plenty of time to regroup in the middle, dealing comfortably with most crosses. On the right-hand side, Nicky Summerbee was more anonymous, and in contrast to Beagrie (and has been noted before) he appears to be afraid of taking on the tackler.

Paul Walsh up front was his usual busy self, but Niall Quinn was rather lacklustre all afternoon. In the middle, Gary Flitcroft and Steve Lomas played okay, but didn't dominate their Saints counterparts, Le Tissier and Magilton. Considering our opposition on Thursday night this is all rather worrying, and the sooner we get some more strength here the better. City had no real clear cut chances in the first half - Walsh and Quinn had shots easily dealt with by Grobbelaar, and Lomas lacked a little direction on a couple of powerful drives as the ball rebounded out of the area to him.

City's back four gave the illusion of stability early on, but there were ominous signs as no-one took the responsibility for tackling Le Tissier, so whenever he had the ball in the first half, he had plenty of time to peruse the options in front of him.

After about 25 minutes the hitherto anonymous Simon Tracey was given a back pass to deal with. He was fairly rushed for time, but he insisted on taking a second touch, and in the ensuing panic the ball skidded off for a corner. City couldn't clear the corner, and it came to Le Tissier in the corner of the area. He was given plenty of time to work the ball to the Saints striker Dowie and he flicked it on to the centre-back Hall who finished with aplomb, giving Tracey no chance.

Southampton had a chance to kill the game before the break, when they won a free kick on the edge of the City area. The crowd (and, I expect, the City players) were expecting a spectacular drive from Le Tissier, but instead he chipped the ball over the wall from where a Saints player had broken, and he really should have scored. Southampton had 3 or 4 more free kicks in dangerous positions in the second half, but this was as close as they would come from a dead-ball situation.

City drifted through the rest of the half without posing much threat but came out for the second reinvigorated. The equalising goal was a messy affair, with the ball being laid on by Quinn to Walsh in a crowded penalty area. Walsh forced the ball towards the goal and though a defender seemed to clear it from the line, the linesman signalled a goal. The video evidence on Match of the Day was not clear enough to judge the validity of the decision, but needless to say the crowd were delirious. The linesman had previously been getting a lot of stick from the crowd due to a certain physical feature (to put it delicately, he did not have the athletic figure that you would expect of a Premiership official).

After equalising, City began to dominate. Le Tissier was closed down a lot more quickly than earlier on, Beagrie carried on his probing runs, and Summerbee gained more confidence and began to take on the left-back Benali. It came as no great surprise, then, when Walsh scored his second. The details of the build-up escape me (it is Tuesday now) but it was a cracking finish and City should then have cruised to victory.

What came next should not have been surprising either. From the restart, Southampton attacked down the right, and before City had composed themselves, Ekelund had clipped the ball past Tracey for the equaliser.

Minutes later, things got worse as in a similar move Ekelund scored his second, though this time he was put through with a sublime flick from Le Tissier. City could easily have crumbled at this point, but instead they composed themselves. The old City would have hoofed the ball up the field, hoping that Quinn might make contact; but on Saturday they bided their time, building up slowly from the back despite the protestations of the crowd to do otherwise. The striker, Ade Mike, replaced the right-back, Andy Hill, and it was he who laid the ball to Beagrie for the equaliser inside the last 10 minutes. From the terraces it looked like Beagrie knew he could score. He cut inside, unleashing a beauty from the edge of the area and celebrated with his customary back-flip.

There were chances for both sides to get a winner, but luckily for the defences the best ones fell to Dowie and Quinn. Dowie was released into City's half with only the keeper to beat but, unsure of his pace, he tried a blast from 35 yards which instead rolled tamely to Tracey. Quinn failed to make contact when the ball was chipped to him beyond the Saints defence to the edge of the six yard area and an attempted chip with Grobbelaar scrambling back to his line ended up closer to the corner flag than the goal.

In the last few minutes the referee capped a very poor display by booking Lomas and three Southampton players for trivial offences.

At the final whistle my primary emotion was frustration at City's inability to win another game in which they were by far the better side - a sign that we're going to struggle to win things - but the prospects are looking a lot brighter than for a long time. The attacking style makes for great football and, as I've indicated, we now have players who can use the ball effectively. The sooner one of our established keepers is back the better, as defence is our weakest area. Brian Horton talked after the match about City needing ``a talker''. Anyone have any idea what he's on about?

Roll on Thursday evening, anyway.

NOV 10 MANCHESTER UNITED - MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 (2-0)

Attendance: 43,738
Goals: MU: Cantona (24), Kanchelskis (43, 47, 89), Hughes (70)
Line up: Tracey, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Vonk, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Lomas, Beagrie, Walsh, Quinn

Report by: Paul Howarth

Those of us who can recall the 5-1 victory back in September 1989 without the aid of rose-tinted spectacles could draw many parallels with this game. In each, the game was much more even than the scoreline suggested but one side seemed to get all the breaks, all the run of the ball. Up until the first goal iback into the game and created their best chance of the first half. A surging run by Flitcroft saw him squeeze between the United centre backs with only Schmeichel to beat, but his flick over the sprawling 'keeper was very weak and easily dealt with by two backtracking defenders. Most of City's best play in the first half was in the centre of the field, with the wingers Beagrie and Summerbee never really causing United any serious problems. Quinn and Walsh showed some neat touches and hard work in and around the box but all too often somebody would lose control of the ball and it would end up with one of the red shirts.

The second goal was very similar to the second in the corresponding fixture last season (43rd minute again), with Kanchelskis finding space wide on the right and cutting in close to the goal line. No Cantona in the middle this time but it didn't matter as his shot deflected off Terry Phelan and in to the net. This really knocked the stuffing out of City who were looking like they might get back into the game. It did the same for the fans who sat in virtual silence through the half time break wondering what had gone wrong. There was still hope; one of Horton's regular half-time backside-kickings might turn the game around even though United had yet to concede a goal in a home league match this season.

United came out for the second half with Scholes replacing Giggs, who had been well marshalled by Richard Edghill (easier these days than it used to be). Edghill was having a good game, looking the player we know he can be rather than the confidence-stricken youngster he has appeared in recent matches. Beagrie had a good run at the United defence which came to nothing but the ball was played out quickly to Kanchelskis who was one-on-one with Terry Phelan. Phelan managed to keep up but the Ukranian's strength was sufficient to hold him off. He ran right into the penalty box and his attempted flick inside the near post was saved by Tracey; unfortunately the ball squirmed out of his grasp straight back to Kanchelskis (not Phelan who was within a yard of him) who had no difficulty knocking the ball into the net. The United fans were ecstatic; they sensed that a famous victory was there for the taking and urged their team to score more goals.

Despite the worst possible start to the second half, City kept plugging away and the wingers (Beagrie in particular) came more into the game, sending in numerous crosses which were generally cleared by Pallister and Bruce. When there was a loose ball in the United area it always seemed to fall to a red shirt. Nevertheless, the expected tie occasional probing ball into the City area. Hughes missed a sitter, slicing well wide when presented with virtually an open goal by Cantona's mazy run. The reds were baying for a fifth goal and we were praying for it not to happen. For five years City fans have milked the 5-1 at Maine Road, ramming it down the throats of reds whenever a chance arose. In my view, the satisfaction of that result had gone sour by the following season, when we lost at Old Trafford. We should have given up the 5-1 taunts then but we'll be paying the penalty for many years to come now.

Amazingly it took until the 89th minute for Kanchelskis to hit the fifth and complete the first derby hat-trick since Lee's in 1970 (United's first since Alex Dawson's in 1960). City were pressing for a consolation goal; even Edghill was forward. The ball broke loose again, Cantona sped away down the right wing, tracked by Phelan, whilst Kanchelskis raced through the middle. Edghill didn't seem to have the heart or the energy to follow him so it looked like a foregone conclusion that Kanchelskis would score when he was found by Cantona's low cross. Not so. Once more Tracey parried the shot but the rebound fell to Kanchelskis who scored. It was what the United fans had been waiting for and they were delirious. They immediately broke into a chant of "one, two, one two three, one two three four, five nil!"; you know how it goes. You'll be hearing it a lot in the next decade.

Mercifully, we weren't kept back at the end this season, so we could escape whilst the reds were savouring their victory. It wasn't actually THAT bad a performance; looking back at the last three derbies, at least there weren't the same gross tactical errors that lost us those games. The first half at Maine Road last season was magnificent but it wasn't kept up and we threw away a two goal lead. That result hurt me more than this one, even though this is now United's record derby win. I felt Brian Horton had made a disastrous tactical mistake in sitting back at half time. Similarly, in last season's Old Trafford derby, the ludicrous decision to play Dave Brightwell instead of Terry Phelan had all too predictable results. I don't think Horton's tactics were to blame for this scoreline and I was pleased to see that there were no calls for Horton's head in these days where a manager seems to be sacked every day. We're playing our best football for years and I hope Franny keeps faith with Brian. He'll get there in the end. Alex Ferguson did. The addition of a creative midfielder who can create something from nothing and reduce our predictability will surely help.

Something that does need to change is the attitude of City fans towards United. Once upon a time it was genuine local rivalry but with the unprecedented success United have had in recent years it has degenerated into the abject hatred of all things red that it is today. No wonder United fans call us "bitter blues". We are masters of putting our foot in it. Last season at Maine Road we taunted them about their surrender of a two-goal lead against Galatasaray and then proceeded to do even worse by losing after being two goals up. This time it was Barcelona. Many City fans had Barcelona flags, scarves and tee-shirts and there were loud chants of "Barcelona" before and during the game. Which team do we support? Not Barcelona! What effect does all this have on United? It fires them up of course, as if they didn't need firing up for a derby anyway. Half of the songs sung by City fans must be about United in some way, from the slightly subtle "Only football team to come from Manchester" to the disgusting Munich songs which were surprisingly notable by their absence for once. Let's just remember that we're City fans and sing about OUR club. We won't be allowed to forget theirs for a very long time now.

NOV 20 LEICESTER CITY - MANCHESTER CITY 0-1 (0-1)

Attendance: 19,006
Goals: MC: Quinn (16)
Line up: Dibble, Hill, D.Brightwell, I.Brightwell, Curle, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Lomas, Beagrie, Walsh, Quinn (Rösler)

Report by: Paul Howarth

My first visit to Leicester since City's last trip there in the promotion season, a pretty dreary nil-nil draw. The ground hasn't changed all that much, with the exception of the Carling Stand, completed during last season and seating about 8,500 fans, which now dominates the stadium. The double-decker stand at one end of the ground is pretty good but the opposite end and the side housing the away fans are throwbacks from a bygone age and let the side down badly. City fans had a choice of ten or thirteen pound tickets; as I like to get a good view of the game, I went for the more expensive ones. I was rewarded with a seat in the front row (mercifully it wasn't raining), slightly below pitch level. With the camber of the pitch, I was unable to see the far touchline so it was difficult to get a decent perspective on the game as a whole.

There were quite a few team changes on both sides. Brian Little, in possibly his last game in charge at Leicester before a possible move to Aston Villa, could find no place for England U-21 star Julian Joachim or in-form winger Lee Philpott. Cult hero Steve Walsh who scored both Leicester's goals in the play-off final last season was back for his first game since August, partnering Ian Ormondroyd up front with regular striker Iwan Roberts relegated to the bench. City had Andy Dibble back in place of Simon Tracey, Andy Hill at right back instead of Richard Edghill (was he injured or was he dropped?), Dave Brightwell instead of Terry Phelan at left back (injured but could well have been dropped anyway) and Keith Curle instead of Michel Vonk. On the bench we had Alan Kernaghan (warmly received by the City fans during the pre-match warm-up, which bodes well for him) and the very welcome return of Uwe Rosler.

Leicester kicked off and true to form, could have been in the lead within twenty seconds, Ian Ormondroyd's shot deflecting just wide for a corner. Leicester put City under a lot of pressure in the first ten minutes, keeping Andy Dibble busy. City then started to pull themselves into the game and mount some pressure of their own. Beagrie clearly had the beating of his full-back and was running at the Leicester defence at every opportunity. City's first real period of cencerted pressure, during which they forced several corners and had a number of shots blocked by some desperate Leicester defending, led to the only goal of the game. A volley from outside the area by Beagrie was parried by Kevin Poole in the Leicester goal but the rebound fell to Niall Quinn who smacked it back into the bottom right-hand corner. TV replays showed that Leicester had a good case for claiming that Paul Walsh was offside when Quinn scored, but I don't recall anybody claiming this at the time (too busy celebrating I suppose!)

The rest of the first half was quite even, but the best chance fell to Leicester when a low, diagonal shot was well saved by Dibble. Had he not held the shot, a Leicester striker following up would certainly have scored. City's defence held up well after the opening scare, with Ian Brightwell keeping Steve Walsh quiet throughout the game and Keith Curle running rings round strikers as only he knows how. I'm still not convinced with Dave Brightwell at left back though. He was caught short for pace and out of position against Franz Carr several times in the first half, though there seemed to be an improvement in the second half. Andy Hill was well supported by Buzzer on the right flank; it was rare that anybody got the better of these two, though Buzzer still isn't causing defences the same sort of problems that Beagrie is.

There were chances again for both sides in the second half. Beagrie went close with a free kick from outside the box, tipped over the bar by Kevin Poole. Paul Walsh should have scored when he robbed a defender and raced into the box; inexplicably he decided to pass instead of shoot and the chance went begging (my viewpoint being so low down, I might be mistaken about how good a chance this was. It's possible that Walsh wasn't even in the penalty area when he passed). At the other end, Leicester's best moment came when defender Richard Smith headed against the angle of bar and post from one of a series of corners they forced whilst pressing for an equalizer in the last 20 minutes. Oldfield and Roberts came on as subs to loud booing from the home supporters. Presumably the fans didn't agree with Brian Little's decision as to who to take off.

Ten minutes from time, the long-awaited return of Uwe Rosler (replacing Niall Quinn) came. Within seconds he'd picked up his usual yellow card for nothing in particular (I think he may have been judged to have used his elbows when going for a header). City tried floating a few balls over the Leicester defence (who were pushed up nearly to the half way line) for Uwe to chase. The first time he gave away a foul by trying to wrestle a defender out of the way when he should have gone for the ball by conventional means. The second time he was pulled back by Richard Smith, who was duly booked and then red-carded for his second bookable offence. This was Leicester's fifth sending off of the season, which puts them at the bottom of the fair play league. This is unfortunate, because they are far from being a dirty side. City played out the last few minutes trying to keep possession, which they succeeded at. I'd have preferred them to try to score another goal rather than head for the corner flag when in a good position, as happened two minutes from time when Lomas and Buzzer were two-against-two with the Leicester defenders.

Overall, I'd say this was nothing more than a competent display by City, lacking the cavalier attacking style that we've seen in many of the home games. Nonetheless, it was three points gained away from home, live on TV, a very rare occurrence indeed. No single City player stood out above the rest, though I thought Curle and Brightwell had good games (as mentioned previously) and Flitcroft did a good job in midfield, holding the ball well and prompting just about all of City's attacking play. Leicester have some good players too. I was impressed by defender Jimmy Willis and particularly Mark Draper, who is a creative midfield player, very comfortable on the ball and is also prepared to come back, defend and generally get stuck in. I have a bit of a soft spot for Leicester, who with Steve Walsh, Willis, Draper and the missing Julian Joachim have the nucleus of a good side. Unfortunately I don't think the squad as a whole is strong enough to survive in the Premiership. With all the money coming into the top division, the gap between it and the Endsleigh League is growing wider all the time, and there may come a time when no promoted club can stay the distance. This looks like being sooner rather than later, which is a great shame because the strength in depth of the English league was one of the things that used to make it the best in the world.

NOV 26 MANCHESTER CITY - WIMBLEDON 2-0 (1-0)

Attendance: 21,131
Goals: MC: Flitcroft (7), Rösler (89)
Line up: Dibble, Hill (Kernaghan), D.Brightwell, I.Brightwell, Curle, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Lomas, Beagrie, Walsh, Quinn (Rösler)

Report by: Paul Howarth with help from Mark Evans

Considering that this fixture usually results in one of our lowest attendances of the season, a poor game and in recent years, very few points for City, this match was a pleasant surprise. The attendance of 21,131 was no doubt boosted by the special offer of each member being offered an extra ticket for five pounds when they bought their own ticket. At first I thought there were no visiting supporters at all as the Platt Lane end of the Kippax was completely empty. As the teams came out, it became apparent that there was a small group of Dons fans at the Platt Lane end of the Main Stand, the same place that Crystal Palace fans had been accommodated earlier in the season. Other than the Kippax, the rest of the ground looked quite full, with even the seats at the front of the North and Platt Lane stands sold.

City were on the attack straight from the kick-off and it came as no surprise when Flitcroft opened the scoring in the seventh minute, the first time City have scored in the first ten minutes all season. Some neat passing between Flitcroft, Walsh and Quinn ended with a delightful through ball from Walsh which Flitcroft managed to flick past the onrushing Hans Segers from the corner of the penalty box. Several more chances came City's way in the following ten minutes and it looked like we might run up a cricket score, Hans Segers pulling off some excellent saves. After that, Wimbledon started to get a grip on the game and were the better side in the rest of the half, forcing some good saves from Andy Dibble. The long ball game for which Wimbledon are famous was conspicuous by its absence, as was the menace they always used to show at free-kicks and corners. John Fashanu, for all his faults, seems to be sorely missed by the Dons at present, who failed to create much in the way of chances and didn't take the ones that came their way.

The closest Wimbledon came to scoring was in the second half, when an instinctive turn and volley from Dean Houldsworth crashed down from the underside of the bar close to the goal line and then bounced out. I thought it might have gone in (more so than Paul Walsh's first goal against Saints the other week) but I think the Match of the Day replay showed that the officials were right not to give a goal. Wimbledon were still looking the better side in the second half but both sides were having brief periods of pressure. Following a City corner there was a goalmouth scramble during which Paul Walsh took exception to some part of Alan Reeves' challenge and claimed a penalty. There was a loud shout from the Platt Lane end but that's about as much as I know about it. Walsh squared up to Reeves' stomach (slight height difference you see) but nothing else happened. The next thing I knew, the ball went out of play halfway down the Main Stand side of the opposite end and the linesman at the Kippax side starting waving his flag frantically. The referee went over to see what was up, as did Vinny Jones who was told to go away. After a brief discussion the referee walked over to the centre circle and red-carded Reeves for allegedly slapping Paul Walsh. Reeves claimed he just gave Walsh a big kiss!?! Nobody near me had the faintest idea what had happened and there was nothing on TV to shed any light on it, so I can only report what I saw in the papers.

With Wimbledon down to ten men, City then started to try to increase their advantage. Rosler came on for Niall Quinn and City started to fling in a few more crosses. There was an article in the programme about Nicky Summerbee having to be more positive; he was certainly trying but the left back seemed to have the measure of him. However, a cross from the other side led to a powerful far post header which Segers somehow managed to block when it seemed City were certain to go 2-0 up. The goalkeeper blotted his copybook in the 89th minute though when a Lomas clearance to nobody in particular was chased by Rosler and there was a cock-up between Segers (at least 40 yards out from goal) and the last defender. The defender obviously didn't expect to see the goalkeeper so close to him and only managed to knock the ball past him towards the Dons' penalty area. Rosler and Segers gave chase but there was only going to be one winner; Uwe duly knocked the ball into the unguarded net. Two-nil and victory was assured. During the celebrations Andy Hill, who had taken a knock earlier on was replaced by Alan Kernaghan. Good tactical move this, reintroducing him to the Maine Road fans whilst they were in a good mood! In fact, I bet a few people didn't even notice...

So, two straight victories and two straight clean sheets. Another workmanlike performance with the occasional bright spots. Curle and Brightwell look to be a solid partnership in the centre of defence, Andy Hill is comfortable at right back but I still can't see the left-back in Dave Brightwell. He was caught out of position and lacking in pace once or twice but I can't really argue with 2 clean sheets, can I? Flitcroft spread the ball around well in midfield, aided by the industrious Lomas. Beagrie was his usual menacing self, though he usually found himself up against two or more defenders. We're still to see the best of Nicky Summerbee; we saw how good he can be when playing for Swindon last season, with glimpses of it against Barnet and Forest. He puts in some great crosses but I'm sure he can put in more. It's a tall order being compared with Beagrie on the other wing the way he's playing at the moment, so let's be patient. In the middle Walsh ran around all day and Quinn held the ball up and distributed well, but there was a definite improvement when Rosler came on; more mobility, more pace, more threat. Brian has one of the "nice" selection problems for Wednesday's game, though I expect Newcastle to be a much harder nut to crack than either Leicester or Wimbledon.

NOV 30 (CCC4) MANCHESTER CITY - NEWCASTLE U 1-1 (0-1)

Attendance: 25,162
Goals: MC: Rösler (69), NU: Jeffrey (11)
Line up: Dibble, Hill (Rösler), D.Brightwell, I.Brightwell, Curle, Summerbee, Flitcroft, Lomas, Beagrie, Walsh, Quinn

Report by: Martin Ford

The one good thing to come out of last night's draw against Newcastle was a good fighting display in the second half. Overall I was pleased with the draw, if only for the fact the undefeated home run is still intact and for the fact that poor finsihing had kept City in the tie. It should be a very different story at St James' for the replay, City can wave bye-bye to this Cup (IMHO)

The game itself was very entertaining if frustrating for us City fans watching. We could see the obvious downside to the game but could do little to help the team. Newcastle were by far the better team, even if they were missing the legions of first-team players. Those who stepped into the team to fill the gaps, just went to prove that Keegan has got all Newcastle players working hard and they can provide effective cover for each other. The game itself was a pretty open attacking game, which was surely to have been expected.

Newcastle had the first real chance within minutes of the start when Cole's shot was saved by Dibble. Quinn had the chance to give City the almost perfect reply immediately. Beagrie faced by two defenders (as he was all night) got over a cross to the far post, where Quinn, unchallenged, could only head the ball back across goal and just wide of the up-right. Newcastle came straight back into the game and from watching the first few minutes it became apparent that they had more thought, more desire and more committment to win the game. Beardsley in particular opened up the City defence to create chances for Cole, Clark and himself. Fortunately they were either missed or saved.

City's forced a few corners and came closest to scoring when Flitcroft met a Quinn flick-on, but his volley sailed over the bar. Newcastle were still running City ragged and succeeded in forcing several corners. They finally (!) scored after 11 minutes when City had only partially cleared a corner. Beardsley played a diagonal ball across to Clarke, his cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Nielson and the unmarked Jeffrey hooked the ball home. The City defence had been caught flat-footed (not a rare occasion this season). Some people blamed Dibble because he had started to go for the ball, but I believe his decision to stop was right. The defence should have helped him out. With that goal and the Newcastle style of play I thought the match would develop into a rout. Even after conceeding the goal City still allowed Beardsley to play, which could have been disastrous. The enforced substitution of Hill after 35 minutes and his replacement with Uwe seemed a strange decision. It meant moving Lomas to right-back and dropping Walsh into a deeper role. Curle and Cole had an explosive clash on the edge of the box. Curle and Cole grappled with each other with hands and elbows flying in either direction and then Cole appeared to throw a punch at Curle. Worrell booked the pair, but they could both have been sent off. Cole almost got a second goal when his chip from the edge of the box rebounded to safety after hitting the bar. Clarke also came close to extending Newcastle's lead but his effort was just wide and Dibble was forced into saving from Beardsley. City's reply came from a Flipper shot which Srniecek tipped over. City went in at half time only 1 goal down, they were still in the game.

City finally started to show a bit more fight in the second half, but it was still Newcastle who were controlling things. Beardsley was being given far too much time and room and he was being allowed to control the midfield and thus always posed a threat. This half was another procession of missed chances, most falling to Newcastle. City managed to force several corners and began to put Newcastle under some pressure. It was from one of the corners that City scored. Quinn flicked a Beagrie near post corner on and Rosler met it with a diving header. At last City had equalised, they now then had to make sure that they didn't conceed a goal. Thankfully, poor Newcastle finishing from Cole, Mathie, Beardsley and the rest kept City in the game. Venison was booked by Worrell after what can only be called an assault on Beagrie. Cole had a couple of chances to win the game in the final few minutes but thankfully he fluffed them both. Quinn had a chance seconds from time to steal the game, but he couldn't get onto the end of Walsh's pass.

City can count themselves lucky to even have a chance of going through to the next round. The patched up Newcastle side should easily have won, but the missed chances kept City in the game. City should look at the way Newcastle play, they're always running, chasing and closing opponents down. If City stand any chance at St James' they going to have to mark Beardsley out of the game. Keep him quiet and we just might stand a chance of going to Selhurst Park.


Svenn Hanssen