Goals: L: Whelan (27, 90)
Line up: Coton, Hill (McMahon), Phelan, I. Brightwell, Vonk, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Lomas, Beagrie, Mike (Griffiths), Quinn
Report by: Martin Ford
Why are City destined to continue their current dreadful performances away from home. At Maine Road they have created and played a style that the current list of visitors have failed to come to terms with (3 wins and a draw), but away from home it's becoming increasingly obvious that the team can't cope or lack the fight to win. I suppose Saturday's defeat can be explained partly due to injuries and illness. Most of the reports and limited highlights shown on MoTD gave the impression that City had done little to merit any reward from the game.
The team was missing Curle, Rösler, Walsh and Edghill; Beagrie and Flipper were forced to play even though they hadn't recovered from their bouts of flu. City seemed almost certain to suffer another defeat. Even though Lee claims the squad is too big, why City were forced to play players who were unfit or lacked first team experience? I know it's only four away games gone but only one point is a very poor return and remember we were actually relegated by failing to win any away games once (am I being alarmist or is relegation a possible threat??)!
The first goal came straight from a City corner, Leeds cleared it (they had 11 men defending the corner), Garry Kelly took the ball up- field and beat a challenge from Phelan on the Half way line and raced into the box with only Brightwell as the covering defender. The ball was squared across the box and it was left for Whelan to score. There were four Leeds players in the box and only Lomas was anywhere near the play!!! Whelan grabbed his second in the final minutes just to add insult to injury.
Goals: MC: Quinn (57, 90), Walsh (68), Summerbee (78). B: Freedman (57)
Line up: Dibble; Hill, Phelan, Lomas, Edghill, I Brightwell, Summerbee, Walsh (Griffiths), Quinn, Flitcroft, Beagrie
Report by: Martin Ford
City once again tried to confuse and upset the fans by playing a load of old rubbish last night against Barnet. From watching the game you would have thought that City were the lesser team. Barnet to their credit gave the game most of the ideas in the first half and gave City very little to enjoy. It looked like City would be going out of the Cup with Leeds. The players seemed to lack an inspiration or desire for a fight and didn't have any real idea of how to defeat this 'inferior' team.
Once again it was the half time break that came to City's rescue, because afterwards they showed a little more desire to win. Walsh came more into the game and he was the central figure in City's turnabout, he took it upon himself to lift the team.
City scored the aggregate equaliser through Quinn after a good run and shot by Lomas had only been parried by the keeper. Quinn just need to stroke the ball home from 6 yards.
So with the tie all level I expected City to start the job of getting on and beating Barnet, but yes, true to form City tried to completely mess things up. City having just scored, conceeded a corner and allowed Barnet to bang in the equaliser, through Freedman (?). So within the space of a minute the tie had turned on it's head, City were facing an uphill struggle.
City only then started to try and stamp their authority on the game and the reward came 10 minutes later. Summerbee actually beat his man and got to the bye-line (one of the rare occasions he managed), his perfect cross was met by Walsh and his header beat the goalie, for City to lead 2-1. The aggregate score was still deadlocked at 2-2, but the away goal would be crucial if the match finished all square after extra-time. City still needed to press and find another goal to try and kill the game off.
The willing Walsh this time turned provider. He moved out wide onto the left and his cross to the far post was met by Lomas, he slightly mis-controlled it before he could shoot and took the option to push the ball across goal for Summerbee to score the third. Now could City hang on? Almost straight away Barnet forced a corner and the sense of deja vu returned, would City concede another goal? Thankfully this time City cleared their lines.
With time running out and the game almost certainly won, it was Walsh who again provided the telling pass. This time his turn and pass allowed Quinn to run in and chip the advancing goalie to make the game perfectly safe! (Quinn's chip was great, very delicate over the goalie and it dipped in just under the bar, who says he's just a target man!) All that was left was for City to play out the remaining couple of minutes. The only worry was over Walsh limping off, he went down under a challenge but it looked like it was cramp more than anything.
So City beat Barnet, but to be perfectly frank the scoreline flatters City. They were a complete shambles in the first half and only improved slightly in the second. Most of the players just didn't seem to have the will to win (except Walsh and Flipper). There's got to be a drastic turn-around by Saturday or else City will get hammered by Forest, with the likes of Roy, Collymore and Co. I suppose the only good thing to come out of the night was the fact that City won and are in the next round of the Cup. I suppose you could say that it's not a matter of how you win, it's just a case of winning.
Goals: MC: Quinn (41,54), Lomas (70). NF: Collymore (22, 53), Woan (90)
Line up: Dibble, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Hill, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Walsh, Quinn, Beagerie
Report by: Martin Ford
How can we start this one, well, umm, it's hard supporting the Blues isn't it? I think the Radio 5 commentator summed up the game, a good game although the comical defending helped (or words to that effect) and how right he was, only one good goal the rest were assisted by poor defending. How many times are we going to see this sort of scenario where City don't start to truly dominate a game until the second half (well at home at least, away from home domination is an unknown quantity:-).
Once again the first half against Forest gave the indication that we're going to struggle against the better teams in the League. Forest and especially Collymore started to play well and left the defence looking very shaky. Forest got the opener and to be honest I didn't think that City would get back into the game. Stone was played through on the right and in a gaping hole managed to run unchallenged into the box. His cross was met by Collymore who swept it into the goal. Well that's how it appeared at the match, however MoTD highlights showed that the shot was going wide until Dibble unfortunately deflected into the net. From that point I was rather dubious that City would get anything out of the game. How wrong I was! City equalised just before the break. Quinn met a Beagrie (?) cross and as the ball fell he volleyed it into the roof of the net, at last something for our efforts. So going in level meant that City were still in the game and waiting for them was the customary Horton kick up the backside.
City certainly came out of the second half with more spirit and fight and justifiably(?) took the lead. Again it was Quinn who managed to force home the ball in a goalmouth melee after Crossley had managed to only flap at the ball (although he claimed a foul). So was this going to be the start of something good, we only had a minute to wait before Collymore shattered our illusions and brought us down to earth. A long clearance upfield fell awkwardly to Brightwell and he only managed to head the ball sideways, Collymore was on the ball in a flash and to be truthful I thought he was going nowhere. How wrong can you be, although heading away from goal he unleashed a fearsome shot and the ball flew inside the near post. Good shot as it was Dibble was surely at fault for getting beaten at the nearpost! So would Forest take City apart now they had equalised, there game was still full of nice passing football and the skill and pace of Collymore was always a threat.
The game turned again but this time in City's favour and once again it was Quinn who helped. A cross from Hill was chested down by Quinn into the path of Lomas who unleashed a left foot drive into the far corner, now that was a real goal, no bumbling around. Could City hold on for the final 20 minutes. Collymore still hadn't finished, his pace took him clear again but this time Dibble managed to force him to shoot wide, relief surely City had weathered the storm. Clarke brought on Jason Lee (is that a ferret on his head?) and later Woan who was to ultimately have the final say. Lomas appeared to have won the ball cleanly from Bohienan (sp?) and was felled as a result. The ref right by the incident gave a foul to Forest and booked Lomas, now that was strange? Pearce curled the free- kick in and the ball was cleared to Woan, who lifted the ball straight back into the box, surely there wasn't any danger until you saw Dibble stumbling to his feet and trying to make ground as the ball dipped into the net. Horror, with seconds left City had blown it or should that be Forest had saved it. That was it, game over and another few points thrown away.
So the match itself, I can't fault the entertainment value but both sides must question their defences. 5, dare I say slightly comical goals left both sides with the points shared. Forest are still a good passing side but with a bit more steel than the last premier team, that's why they're right up at the top. In Collymore they've found a real threat to most teams. Thankfully for City Roy was away on international duty or else City would have IMHO got hammered. I would still question Crossley as their number one goalie, he made a couple of errors and made a couple of easy saves look difficult (understand?) But other than that they look a fair team. Which is more than can be said for City, the defence again looked very suspect and the sooner Curle's back the better, but don't rush him back, City need a fully fit Curle rather than one who'll only play a couple of games. The midfield again looked fairly solid but took time to get into the swing of the game. The attack is still banging the goals in, which helps the defence. Lets just hope they keep scoring. What City need is players with more committment like Walsh. He'swilling to run his socks off and chase lost causes.
Goals: MC: Flitcroft (56), Walsh (58). QPR: Wilson (63)
Line up: Dibble, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Curle, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee (Coton), Walsh, Quinn, Beagrie
Report by: James Nash
My first match of the season and City's first away win coincided to produce a most memorable game. After a first half in which City rarely threatened and Rangers could have scored a hatful but for the heroics of Dibble and some desperate defending, it exploded into life in the second period. The only incident prior to that worth mentioning was Edghill taking out the more than useful Sinclair, rightly earning himself a yellow card.
Summerbee had been getting nowhere fast down the right, afraid to take his man on, preferring either to be fouled, get a throw-in or lose the ball. QPR defended stoutly in the middle so it seemed logical when the ball was hoofed down the right to Beagrie (brilliantly keeping the ball in play on the touchline), who made a perfect cross to the charging head of Flitcroft to make it 1-0 to City. It was the first quality moment of the game.
So, we thought, can we hold on for half an hour? Two minutes later, another hoof down the right wing this time eluded Beagrie and the attendant defender passed back to Roberts. Walsh was making one of those useless runs towards the keeper which normally end up with him being offside when the ball is headed back from the goalie's clearance. Only this time, Roberts smashed the ball into Walsh's head and it ricocheted into the bottom corner of the net. 2-0. Party time! We can sit on this lead no trouble, we assumed. We were forgetting something. We're City.
QPR were more than a little miffed, it has to be said, and they immediately raised the tempo of the game. Their passing had been good all afternoon and City's midfield was now stretched even more; Terry Phelan continued to display his natural talent for being caught out of position and Curle and Brightwell had their work cut out but were coping well.
Rangers' goal came from a mistake by Dibble; he jumped too far out of his area and handled the ball. It was in a melange of players so the ref gave him the benefit of the doubt and only yellow carded him. From the free-kick, old City boy Clive Wilson hammered it through the wall into the net. We had a game on our hands and Curle only made things worse by getting booked; our players were furious about something and I must admit, it sounded like the ref had blown twice for the free-kick. But the players' reaction was idiotic - half a dozen of them could have been sent off there and then!
QPR continued to press and when Ferdinand raced onto an excellent through ball, Dibble came rushing out and superbly tackled him. A better goalkeeper-as-sweeper incident I have not seen for a long time. Then the ref sent Dibble off for a professional foul.
Tony Coton, not fully fit (in fact he aggravated an injury while he was on) came off the bench to even bigger cheers than Dibble had just gone off to. Down to 10 men but with England's No. 1 goalie, we still thought we could hold on, with our strong contingent making plenty of noise. Four minutes later, Edghill was sent off for a second bookable offence. No complaints this time but it looked like the away curse had struck again.
QPR then proceeded to reign in a succession of shots which all looked like going in until either TC nudged them high or wide or the ball did the work by itself. In the last 5 minutes, remarkably, they still hadn't scored and City's tactic was to hoof it to Quinn who would then try and place the ball as far away from the City goal, leaving Rangers to fetch it again. It's an under-statement to say we were under siege.
Finally, after four painfully long minutes of extra-time, the whistle went and the City fans went wild. We'd stolen three points with only nine men and whilst not giving a good performance, had shown plenty of guts and fight. "Jingle Bells" ensued. Yes, it was Christmas and Santa had been extremely generous. :)
Goals: MC: Walsh (15, 44), Quinn (41), Lomas (52), Flitcroft (79). T: Dumitrescu (pen 29, 46)
Line up: Dibble, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Curle, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Walsh, Quinn, Beagrie
Report by: Martin Ford
How's that for entertainment value, with a world wide television viewing audience watching the game both teams produced an enthralling encounter. It was certainly helped by both teams playing an opening attacking game with a couple of leaky defences.
So the game itself started with Spurs dominating and playing the game with all the silky , skillful touches. Klinsmann and Dumitrescu certainly played their parts and produced the best little moves of the game. Indeed it was Spurs who had the early chances to score. The Spurs attacking philosophy of a steady build-up worked well. City seemed content to sit behind the ball and make Spurs try and force a way through. Klinsmann and Barmby both had good chances, Barmby shot over from the edge of the box, Klinsmann then shot wide, both of these chances came from good buildups. Barmby also had another chance which Dibble saved down to his left, once again it was from another steady buildup. I was under the impression that City would struggle unless they could get upfield and compete against a known, poor, Spurs defence. City got the first goal after a goodish cross from Lomas. The cross was met by Campbell who only fluffed his attempted clearance straight to Walsh, who lashed home the ball into the bottom corner. Now surely this would give the confidence to the Blues to get on and take the game by the scruff of the neck. Both teams battled on, but it was again Spurs who got and held onto the ball. Spurs got some reward for their work through a penalty. At the time I thought Klinsmann made a meal of the challenge from Dibble and took a bit of a dive, but after seeing it on MoTD I can't argue. Dibble was booked by David Ellery, so there's another reason it shouldn't have been a penalty, he only gives penalties when the challenge is outside the box, this one was clearly inside ;-))
I wasn't really worried about the attempt until Dumitrescu got hold of the ball, where's Sherringham when you need him, he's missed the last three penalties. Dumitrescu stepped up and rammed home the penalty. Just an interesting note, I was under the impression that the rules state, the last person to touch the ball prior to the ball being kicked has to be the penalty taker, am I right? If so then the pk should really have been re-taken as the last person to touch the ball was Ellery, he re-spotted the ball after Dumitrescu put it on the front edge of the spot!!! Just an interesting thought.
So the game was tied at 1-1, who would get the next break. Spurs were still content to pass the ball around and Dumitrescu and Klinsmann were still showing their array of skills. Indeed (if memory serves me right for the order of play), Dumitrescu nearly scored with a curling, dipping shot from out wide that struck the cross-bar. That only acted as a warning to City, who finally responded. Flipper picked the ball up in midfield and sprayed the ball out wide to Summerbee. Summerbee controlled the ball and crossed first time, straight onto the head of Walsh. His effort was blocked by Walker and it was left to Quinn to follow up with a diving header to make it 2-1. Would City go in at half time 2-1 up or would the remaining few minutes give Spurs chance to get back into the game? As it turned out it was City who stole another goal just before the break. Beagrie picked the ball up inside his own half on the left wing, skipped past a challenge and ran on. He slipped the ball onto Quinn, who in turn played the ball into the box for Walsh. His shot was half saved by Walker and we waited with baited breath to see if the looping ball would go wide or in the net, 3-1. So City went in leading 3-1, but to be honest Spurs had done most of the good work :-))
So with half-time, would Horton blast his players as usual to get the best out of them? We only had to wait a minute before Dumitrescu shattered any initial illusions of glory. He cut in from the left and shot, this got a deflection off Curle and beat Dibble. So with 44 minutes remaining of the game, the score was balanced at 3-2. Would City collapse and allow Spurs into the game? Walsh and Beagrie came into their own in the second half. Beagrie gave the right side of the Spurs defence a torrid time, while Walsh tormented the whole of the back line. It was Beagrie who did the next damage. He jinked down the wing, beat a couple of defenders before crossing onto the head of Lomas, who made sure with a firm header passed Walker. So with the score now 4-2 would City give this up or get on and win? City at last seemed to realise that the chance of glory lay in their hands and began to play the ball around and began to dominate Spurs. The confidence began to show through the whole team. Lomas had a shot that went just over the bar. The game was getting better for the Blues, while going downhill for Spurs. Beagrie started to show his full range of tricks and Walsh began to dominate the Spurs defence. And it was Walsh who set up the fifth and final goal for Flipper. He picked the ball up on the half-way line and just ran straight at the Spurs defence. He was up against Hazard, Campbell, Kerslake and Scott but he still managed to get into the box and supply a cross for Flipper to thump home. So after several seasons of defeat, City once again were able to taste victory over Spurs.
So brief views of the teams. City to there credit always worked as a team, battled hard and helped each other. Horton my have found the method of defeating the Spurs diamond by getting as many players as possible behind the ball, it wasn't pretty to see and it was fairly nerve wracking as it gave Spurs too much time with the ball and with better finishing City could have been struggling. Walsh and Beagrie certainly stood out above the rest. Walsh for his untiring work and Beagrie for his running and crossing, bac kto the old style of wingplay. Flipper and Lomas deserve a mention for their constant midfield battle.
Spurs on the other hand will seriously have to look at their back four. The attacking mentality is fine and they have some great inventive players in Klinsmann and Dumitrescu but they won't keep the team up. Spurs desperately need a good defender to try and fill the gaping holes in the back division, the current defenders just aren't good enough. Spurs remind me of Forest the season they went down, Forest never strayed from the passing game and played attractive football, but they couldn't keep the goals out and eventually got relegated!!
Goals: MC: Summerbee (37), Curle (pen 47), Beagrie (54), Lomas (60). Q: Gallan (1), Sinclair (38), Penrice (87)
Line up: Dibble, Edghill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Curle, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Walsh, Quinn, Beagrie
Report by: Martin Ford
Firstly I must apologise, I didn't get inside Loftus Road until the game was a few minutes old, so I missed the opening goal (I expect most of the fans didn't see it or weren't expecting it!!)
I'd given myself 5 hours to get to Loftus Road for this Cup tie, now that was a mistake. I should have known that wasn't long enough!! I'd actually got to Shepherds Bush, parked up and was outside the ground making my way to the turnstiles when I heard a cheer, looked at my match and thought nowbody could have scored, it's too early!! Got inside the ground to learn QPR had indeed scored after just 14 seconds!! What's the problem with the City defence, total lack of concentration, I mean 27 SECONDS against Barnet and now 13/14 SECONDS against Rangers!!!! (Everybody claims no City player touched the ball, if you look closely at the TV pictures Edghill mis-controlled the ball)
I'll start my report from when I got in the ground. To put it mildly City were totally outplayed for the first 20 minutes and just didn't seem interested in the game. QPR had a lot of pressure but fortunately they couldn't convert it into any more goals. City at last began to get their act together and get some pressure put on Rangers. They forced a couple of corners and eventually got an equaliser. Beagrie's corner was headed out and it fell to Summerbee who volleyed it into the top corner. Jubilation, at last City had got back into the game and now maybe the team would realise the need to get on and dominate. Well that illusion was shattered within seconds of the restart. We'd hardly had time to settle into our seats, when Rangers broke down the left and the cross was met by Sinclair at the back post were he despatched the ball away. So within the space of a minute the ecstacy had turned to agony. City were trailing again, but this goal must surely be blamed on the non-existent defence, they'd done the Aussie bit, gone walkabout!!!! So how would City react to being 2-1 down? They still couldn't quite get to grips against Rangers and went in at the break still trailing. There seemed to be the feeling of inevitability that this could be City's exit :-(
Horton must have given City a right kick up the backside at half-time because they came out with a bit more fight. What City needed was a quick goal to get back into the game and they certainly got the chance to draw level within a minute. Summerbee swung over a cross, Walsh challenged with Yates and McDonald. Walsh got a flick on and the ball was blocked with an outstretched hand, just as Walsh got sandwiched, take your pick for the reason for the penalty, but I would say it was handball. After several minutes delay for treatment and 'discussion' by the Ranger's players against the decision, upstepped Curle to level the scores 2-2. Now would City give away another goal almost immediately? Well this time it was Meaker who tried his luck, he ran along the right wing unchallenged and finally unleashed a shot (deja vu, not again), this time the shot crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced harmlessly away. City were definately trying to hand the game to QPR
Finally City managed to get the upper hand. Summerbee was once again involved. He ran down the wing before slipping the ball through to Walsh, his shot was blocked by Dykstra and the rebound was hooked home by Beagrie. Cue celebration, Beagrie and the fans, at last City had finally managed to forge ahead. Would City hold on this time or would they capitulate again. City were now begining to get a real grip of the game and running QPR ragged. Once again it was Summerbee who supplied the cross that led to the fourth goal. His cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Beagrie straight into the path of the incoming Lomas, who made no mistake with a right foot volley into the bottom corner. So in the space of 20 minutes City had managed to turn the game on it's head and now held onto a 4-2 lead, that seemed pretty unrealistic at half-time. QPR tried to get into the game and had a good chance when Gallen had a shot well saved by Dibble and Dickio's follow-up was saved by Dibble as well. Dibble also saved from Dichio (?) when a mis-directed back header from Brightwell finished at his feet.
QPR tried to get back into the game but only suceeded when Penrice's header somehow beat Dibble and with three minutes remaining it was certainly backs to the wall. QPR forced City into some last ditch defending but couldn't make a breakthrough. So City at last finished as victors.
They certainly made life difficult for themselves by conceding such an early goal, but once again the turning point was the half-time break. Horton must have to use the same battle plan (kick up the backside) to get the players to realise how hard they make it for themselves. If only City could learn to amke it easy on themselves it would be better for them and us the fans. City are certainly worth the entrance fee these days, and they certainly entertain. If only they would keep a clean sheet now and then.
The team played reasonably well. Lomas once again showed how he's maturing in the central position. Summerbee provided a string of crosses which was good, but the one criticism seems to be his inability to beat his man. He seems more content to win a throw-in or a corner. IMHO he seems a bit lazy and doesn't chase the ball as hard as he should, I wonder though if that's what he's been told to do by Horton? He needs to take a leaf out of Beagrie's book, try to beat the man. Walsh and Quinn once again led the line well and Walsh's willingness to chase lost causes is an example to the team.
QPR for their part were playing a very inexperienced front-line who although just put together played very well. The rest of the team let them down, they didn't convert the pressure into goals and just can't defend a lead. Unless they get more resilient then they could be looking down at relegation.
City matches these days are very entertaining and people say they are getting back to the sixties style of play, lets hope it's just as successful.
Goals: C: Dublin (85)
Line up: Tracey, Hill, Phelan, I.Brightwell, Curle, Lomas, Flitcroft, Summerbee, Walsh, Quinn (D.Brightwell), Beagrie
Report by: Mike Carr
This was the first time I've seen City live this season. The first thing that struck me was the attitude of the City fans. In the past they'd be on the players backs right from the start but at Coventry it was different they were right behind them all (except, perhaps, Andy Hill).
Things started off quite well, Flitcroft and Lomas seemed comfortable in midfield, Summerbee and Beagrie got in some good crosses but more often than not the move broke down with Quinn; as the bloke behind me put it "Quinn's deceptively slow in the first yard". Walsh ran for everything and was the real inspiration of the team. He was running rings round the Coventry defence and it was only some fine saves from Ogrizovic that kept them in the game.
The second half started much the same as the first with almost constant City pressure, surely a goal must come soon. But no. As the second half went on Walsh began to tire, Flitcroft and Lomas lost their spark and then the inevitable; as the fans started to turn against the players (we were no longer "walking in a Beagrie wonderland"), we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. How many times have we seen precious points lost at the death?
One observation: I remember when Phelan used to pick the ball up deep in his own half and charge down the touchline terrorising the opposition defence. Nowadays he picks the ball up, moves forward ten yards and runs straight into Beagrie. You can see the frustration on his face as he lays the ball off to Beagrie and then hangs around the halfway line twiddling his thumbs whilst Beagrie does the terrorising. It seems such a waste of a big part of Phelan's game - any comments?
Finally I must mention the lousy (and potentially dangerous ) toilet situation at Highfield Rd. I left my seat as the half-time whistle blew and was still in an enormous queue in for the loo when the players came out for the second half. I was refused entry into the main toilet by the police because there were too many people in there and the second one was big enough for about 8 people at a time. Hardly Premiership standard as a few vociferous City fans pointed out to any policeman or steward that would listen.