April 2005
Manchester City v Birmingham 3-0
April 20th 2005 42,453
City under Stuart Pearce have just an outside chance of reaching a 7th UEFA place as long as they win all their remaining games and others in the running either draw or lose. With Shaun Wright-Phillips back to fitness and a comfortable run to the end of the season it is not beyond their present form and capability. I am sure a more conservative Pearce will not agree in public but deep in his heart there will be the desire to make it and it will not be for the lack of effort. Though the players have not changed the way they are playing has dramatically improved and the timing of Kevan Keegans departure was good in that it gave Stuart the time to prove to the board his name should be on the door. We can look forward to a good time in the Premiership next season despite the financial limitations.
City welcomed back SWP for his first start since his injury. Otherwise City were unchanged, youngsters Jordan and Onuoha continuing at fullback.
There was an odd look to the City kick-off with a strong emphasis on the left wing.
City should have scored in the very first minute. Kiki Musampa fed Robbie Fowler who shot past Taylor.
The ball hit the foot of the post and ran towards SWP who shot well over the bar from the edge of the 6 yard box.
Jailbird Pennant has his progress arrested by Jordan while the linesman acts as probation officer
Sick note Anderson blasts a free kick at the City wall
The ball evaded the wall and James failed to hold the ball but fortunately for him and City, Morrison put the rebound wide.
City were gradually getting on top and were putting pressure on the visitors goal.
Sibierski heads wide from a City corner
Birmingham suffered a blow when Clapham was injured and had to be replaced by Lazzaridis a few minutes before half time
The Birmingham defence under more pressure from City at one of their 8 corners. It was interesting to see a more varied approach at corners under Stuart Pearce.
The City defence unit once again proved too good for the odd Birmingham City attack
Half time came with City marginally on top but with no goals to show for it.
Birmingham started the second half with a similar formation to City's start. Had Steve Bruce nicked Stuart Pearce's notes at half time
SWP puts the visitors defence under pressure early in the second half following a short corner
After 54 minutes Pennant crossed for Morrison to score. Pennant who only served 30 days of a 90 day jail sentence has only just finished a 2 week spell of electronic tagging and night curfew.
The Birmingham team and supporters had their jubilation halted when they saw the linesman's flag raised. It was a near thing and a warning to City. Morrison was lucky not to be booked for his protests to the man with the yellow flag.
Worse was to follow for Birmingham City. A cross from Kiki Musampa found the head of Robbie Fowler who found the post and the rebound went into the net via the keeper. City were one up after 55 minutes.
Robbie took the plaudits of the crowd and his colleagues and some might say it was an own goal it was all Fowlers work with a little help from Musampa.
SWP gave us some glimpses of his old form as he dashed down the wing to torment the visitors defence.
Taylor has a problem challenged by Sibierski
Robbie Fowler attempts to turn Melchot at the edge of the area but fails to get a shot in.
City were now well on top and were looking to add to the score
Taylor punches clear under pressure
Sibierski is brought down by Cunningham
From the free kick Dunne got goalside of his marker Heskey and headed low past Taylor to give City a two goal lead after 80 minutes.
There were great celebrations for Richard Dunne who had scored his first goal at the new stadium
Five minutes later City went further ahead. A corner taken by SWP bounced in the area and Clinton Morrison (19).........
...... handled the ball as it rose. What a gift.
The Birmingham players protested.....
... and Morrison got a yellow card for his trouble.
Having waited patiently during the protestations Sibierski took the penalty....
.......and ht the back of the net despite the dive of Taylor.
City 3-0 up with minutes to play and cue for the visiting supporters to leave in droves.
Birmingham had a final token attack and shot which went just wide. At least it gave David James some exercise!
With moments to go SWP was subbed by Lee Croft
Yet another good home display by City under the direction of Stuart Pearce who mixes a nice mix of passion to keep his players on their toes with much more tactical awareness. It was a good team performance , hard working, a high percentage of accurate passing and we now look like a team capable of reaching a top 8 position. I would be amazed if Pearce does not get the managers job
James 6: Onuoha 7, Dunne 8, Distin 7, Jordan 7: Shaun Wright-Phillips 7, Reyna 7, Barton 7, Sibierski 6,Musampa 7, Fowler 7
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