Fowler in action on his debut linking with Jensen.
The warning signs were there as early as the 10th minute when a completely unmarked Clement headed in from a corner. Fortunately Nash was alert and blocked the header with his feet - right. So who was supposed to be marking him?
minutes later and we had a replay. Another corner - different wing but this time
Clement using an arm to lift himself over Horlock scored. This time Nash blocked
by Roberts had no chance.
One nil to the Baggies and with their defence and the omens were not good
Its a few years since we had the 'Banana Craze' at Maine Road - well before this young man enjoying a snack and his very first game at Maine Road was born.
It was not going to be a game to be remembered in future years however.
In the second half we hoped we would see a reply of the Fulham game but it was not to be . Although City put on the pressure the West Brom keeper had little to do.
On the right Russell Hoult saves from Anelka.
After 70 minutes, a few minutes after Belmadi replaced a tired Benarbia a corner from the right was headed on by a West Brom player and Belmadi guarding the left post lost control of the situation and Moore scored the winner for the Baggies-pics on right. This was really annoying as from where I was sitting the ball was put out by a West Brom player and it should not have been a corner.
City threw everything at West Brom and were unlucky not to get a penalty when Foe was brought down in the area. However the referee who had not had a good game disagreed and though City brought on Goater for a final 20 minutes we were just not making good chances.
Hoult - on the left watching a corner did not have to make a difficult save all match. That is just not good enough.
We had a bit of a drama with ten minutes to go when a minor spat between Sommeil and Roberts ended with the West Brom forward being sent off on the say so of the linesman - sorry referees assistant . Down to ten men West Brom just continued to do what they are good at - defending in depth and City had no answer to this. The chance of moving into 6th place was gone. Now we have United and Arsenal next .
Nash 6: Sommeil 6. Howey 6. Distin 6: Dunne 5. Foe 5. Benarbia 6 ( Belmadi 6) Horlock 6. Jensen 6 (Goater 6): Fowler 6. Anelka 6:
Just before the final whistle City scored a consolation goal when Berkovic and Sun combined and the final cross by the Chinese player- left put pushed home by Anelka.
With a tough away fixture at Blackburn next it is difficult to see City moving into the top 6 this season unless something is done to sort out this defence. The defence played better second half with a flat back 4 but maybe awesome Arsenal had eased off a little by then. Not many positive things about this game save for the improvement in Fowler's display. A few more matches and he might start scoring!
United 1 Manchester City 1
I watched this game on TV and I must say City played really well in the second half to earn a point. Schmeichel dropped out at the last minute due to an injury while warming up and there was a tannoy message looking for Nicky Weaver . I wonder whether they rang round the local pubs! So we had the young Danish keeper Stuhr-Ellegaard on the bench. Berkovic came back after injury and was easily the man of the match and Jihai Sun returned to wing back. United as expected made the early running with Nash the busier of the two keepers. After 18 minutes United took the lead when a Giggs cross was met by Van Nistelrooy at the far post with both Nash and Distin helpless. Anelka gave Carroll a fright when a shot from outside the area swerved viciously. He managed to parry it for a corner. After United had the better of the first half and might have had a penalty on another occasion City dominated the second without making too many chances. Carroll did well to claw away a Foe effort and Distin made a world class last ditch tackle when it looked like Van Nistelrooy would score in a breakaway. Shawn Wright-Phillips came on for the injured Horlock, Jihai Sun dropping back into midfield. The minutes were ticking away and after 85 minutes City won a free kick on the right and promptly brought on Benarbia for Berkovic and Goater for Fowler who had done little in the game. Instead of putting the ball directly into the danger area Benarbia stroked the freekick square to Shawn Wright-Philips who chipped a delightful ball forward towards the the goal area. Up jumped an unmarked Goater who headed home to make it 1-1. In a hectic last few minutes City scored again through Goater but Anelka had handled. It was a good City display with Berkovic leading the way and Distin good in defence. Nash played his part too as did all the others. The quality of City's passing was excellent - much higher than the last game. A top 6 place is not out of the question. I just hope Fowler can raise his game before the end of the season!
Nash 8: Sommeil 7, Howey 7, Distin 8: Sun 7, Foe 7, Berkovic 9 (Benarbia) Horlock 6 (Wright-Phillips 7), Jensen 6: Fowler 6 (Goater), Anelka 7