2 Everton 0
October 2nd 2005 att. 42,681
was a record early morning kick-off (11-15am) for the Premiership and while some
churches were perhaps missing a few faces, 42,000 odd football fans filled the
City of Manchester Stadium for the visit of Everton . It was not the first time
I had watched a football league game so early. Back in the late 40's and early
fifties I used to go to watch Stockport County on Christmas morning before heading
for Maine Road for an afternoon game. On a sad note mention was made before the
game of the death of Helen Turner one of City's greatest supporters. She was 85
and you can see a couple of pictures of her taken 34 years apart here
the Timpson scoreboard was working again there was an odd occurrence - the regular
announcer was back in business but as the teams came out he failed to announce
the Everton side! He had given it out earlier but not at the second occasion....
odd. Perhaps they should have had Billy Cotton shouting Wakey Wakey ! ( for older
readers) Well it was early Sunday morning.
Cole was back for City and the very promising 19 year old Stephen Ireland came
in for his first start for the injured Reyna.
bottom of the league made the first effort after about nine minutes but Cahills
shot was easily saved by James
minute or so later Ireland's cross just evaded a diving Musampa
a clash with Yobo Joey Barton went down with a bloody nose
went off the field to change his bloodied shirt and returned with a nifty new
look - reminded me of a fearsome New Guinea tribe.
Philip Neville had a warm welcome from the City fans on his first visit since
his move from Glazer United. To be honest he was the only Everton player to show
any form at all.
though not playing at their best gradually began to put pressure on the visitors
usually industrious Cahill looks a shadow of the player he was last season and
here he is been marked by Ireland who gets better every time I've seen him play.
Cahill did put the ball in the net (above right) but he was well offside following
a header so the Everton supporters' glee was short-lived.
clears an Everton corner under pressure.
dear Phil Neville is having a minor tantrum
Barton walks way from the incident but referee Halsey calls him back for a booking.
of the linesmen was replaced by the 4th official so we had an unknown putting
up the changes in the second half . After 62 mins Croft replaced Musampa who had
just missed a good opportunity.
shoots for goal but misses.
were now having the best of the chances and Cole hit the side netting with this
when we were beginning to think Everton were going to get away with a point City
broke down the left and eventually the ball came across to the right wing where
Ireland and Croft interpassed and .....
ball came to Danny Mills who was some 30 yards or more out. He came forward and
blasted the ball at goal and it flew like a missile past a despairing diving Nigel
Martyn and into the back of the net. Pandemonium broke out as the City supporters
realized we had broken the deadlock with this goal of the season. How a goal can
change a villain into a hero at a stroke!
moments after you score require great concentration as jubilation takes over so
it was no surprise to see Everton hit back quickly and David James had to save
well from Kilbane. James did not have much to do but his kicking was really off
today one or two kicks nearly landed us into real trouble.
went near in this attack but he ended up hitting the post- well it makes a change
from the ball hitting it!
Everton having to throw everything forward to get an equalizer City were now able
to counter attack and went so close on several occasions with excellent passing
the Evertonians were stricken into silence the City multitude were lapping it
up. The first half had been such a drab boring affair that TV programme editors
would have been hard pushed to find any highlights at all. The game now came alight
as Everton had to push forward and the game became stretched.
Beattie and Ferguson were now upfront for Everton who came close after 88 minutes
but Distin saved on the line to keep the clean sheet
were now playing with greater fluency and after Ireland missed a good chance City
clinched the win with a second goal. A good move from Sun Jihai and Barton ended
with Vassell shooting past Martyn to score
it was celebration time for the second time and the run of 3 defeats came to an
end. Vassels goal was virtually the last kick of the game. If only City had scored
their first goal much earlier then I think they would have won by more than the
two goal margin.
Though Danny Mills will get the headlines for his match winning
goal, man of the match for me was young Stephen Ireland whose quiet unassuming
display of creative passing reminded me a little of another City player from the
'Emerald Isle' Peter Doherty. Stephen will have improve his goal scoring ability
to match Doherty's so young Ireland has a bit to learn first but the signs are
there. I'm sure Stu Pearce will be using his talent with efficiency. Incidentally
I'm glad the City programme has finally changed his birth date from 1988 to 1986!
Some web sites still have it at 1988 .
James 6: Mills 8, Dunne 7, Distin 8, Jordan 7: Sibierski 5, Barton 7.5, Ireland
9, Musampa 6 (Croft 7); Vassell 7, Cole 6 (Sun Jihai 6)
2 West Ham 1
October 16th 2005 att. 43,647
West Ham were the latest visitors to COMS and with their reputation for playing
open football we could expect a good open game on their first visit to our new
home. We were not disappointed .This was a cracking game, enjoyable to watch ,even
for the odd neutral who might have strayed in. Wallace and Gromit would have liked
it too. No Bobby Moore, Peters , Hurst or Brooking any more alas but West Ham
on a good run of form - 5 games unbeaten - will not be sitting back - I expect
James and company to be busy. Once again the announcer failed to give the visitors
team as the players came out and I wonder if this is a new PR tactic!
and Thatcher were injured so Onuoha played in the centre of defence and Jordan
stayed at left back. Reyna was back from injury ,Sibby dropping to the bench and
it was good to see Ireland keep his place after his display against Everton
giving out of blue confetti was the latest gimmick to create atmosphere as the
teams came out. I doubt the cleaners and groundstaff approved.
is pulled down by Repka early in the game but the referee failed to give a free
pace of Etherington on the left flank caused City some problems early on so the
choice of Barton on the right was no doubt influenced by this.
gets substituted with 4 minutes to go and gets a pat on the back by skipper Distin
after his efforts. With better finishing Musampa could have scored three.
began to take charge and forced several corners ,the second of which needed a
save on the line by Benayoun as Mills flicked on an inswinging Musampa corner
with Carroll helpless on the ground. I do wish he would move quicker to take corners.
Anyone would think he was approaching a dentists surgery!
17 minutes City took the lead following good work by Vassell who fed Andrew Cole
l who stroked the ball delicately into the top corner with Carroll utterly beaten.
A wonderful goal brilliantly taken. Sheer genius. It had been a great passing
move from defence.
celebrated his 179th goal in the Premiership
dangerous cross is cleared by Konchesky
Sheringham now 39 , rarely threatened as he was closely marked by Nedum Onuoha.
dives at the feet of Vassell to save West Ham
Musampa practices his kick boxing move as Repka prepares to dive for cover.
continued to press and the impressive Barton had a half chance but his first touch
let him down as the home side dominated play forcing more corners
Ham had another escape just before half time when Konchesky headed off the line
from a powerful Onuoha header from a corner
had some dancing girls at half tome - Pro Excel to celebrate ONECITY - tackling
excellent pass sent Etherington away pursued by three City defenders but James
was equal to the task blocking the wingers shot.
breaks through but his shot is saved by Carroll
55minutes City went two up. Barton passed to Ireland who fed Cole. The ball ran
to Vassell who almost lost it, but his persistence won the ball back and he passed
shot was saved by Carroll but the ball ran to Cole who slotted the ball home from
180th in the Premiership - He's chasing Shearers record but there's a long way
to go. Poor Anton Ferdinand (he has a brother who plays for some other team )
crawls away from the celebrations.
Ham could have reduced the arrears a couple of minutes later but Benayoun wasted
a good chance by hitting the side netting with his volley when well placed.
who was kicking far better than his last game punches the ball away at this corner
who was getting plenty of the ball and causing all sorts of problems hits the
side netting when he should have scored.
and Jordan arrange to swop Valentine cards in an exchange that referee Clattenburg
has to intervene. Jordan ended with a yellow card for his over enthusiastic challenge.
Cole who had celebrated his 34th birthday the previous day would have liked to
have scored a hat-trick.
inswinging free-kick nearly goes in the top corner.
breaks right through but fails to win a penalty.
minute into injury time and West Ham score through Zamora - set up by Benayoun
West Ham's goal City had a nervous minute or so before the final whistle .They
tried to keep the ball right in the corners -taking several very short corners.
It was a first rate team performance with everybody playing well. Mills continued
his recent good form. Ireland whilst perhaps not quite reaching his Everton game
level still did lots of good things quietly without fuss and had one good shot
saved. James was back to his best and Distin at the centre of defence was a master
of his craft. Upfront Vassell and Cole continue their good interplay and understanding
with Cole now upto 4 goals in 7 games. Barton though out of position still did
well and his discipline is first rate. It was good to see a visiting team come
to COMS and not decide to defend for the whole game. It could have finished 6-3
8: Mills 8, Onuoha 7, Distin 9, Jordan 7: Barton 8, Reyna 7.5, Ireland 7, Musampa
8: Vassell 7.5, Cole 9