6: Mills 6 (Bradley Wright-Phillips 5), Dunne 7, Distin 7, Thatcher 7: Shaun Wright-Phillips
6, Barton 5 (Macken 5), Sibierski 5, McManaman 5, Musampa 5: Fowler 5
a miss by McManaman. A good run down the right by SWP and Steve was splendidly
placed to slot home from the inside the six yard box. He put it wide and I wonder
whether that would be the last chance of his career as he is likely to quit at
the end of the season.
City players were devastated. It could have been three nil by this time ( 36 minutes).So
McManaman still has not scored a goal for City!
City 0 Manchester United 2
Feb 13th att. 47,111
their great effort against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with stunning displays by
City players James and Dunne, expectations among City supporters were high for
the 'derby' game against their rivals who had to win to keep anywhere near Chelsea
in the run-in for the Premier League Championship. However as we were to find
out City are City and nothing is certain.
pre-match presentation saw City favorite Shaun Goater present Paul Dickov an award
for the fans best-ever City goal - the all important equalizing goal against Gillingham
in 1999 -see here
tries to summon some passion from City supporters before kickoff
Bosvelt suspended McManaman filled his place.
Robbie Fowler was the lone striker
with 5 in midfield.
now familiar City pre-match huddle had that little extra significance.
was early action for Thatcher who I thought had a good first half - here in a
duel with Rooney.
now away from the left of midfield was more comfortable on the ball -except here
early shot on goal by Sibierski went wide but at least City were attacking.
Musampa now settling in well nearly scored in the 3rd minute but Carroll saved.
pass by Barton put Shaun Wright -Phillips away down the right wing but his centre
failed to find Fowler or Sibierski neither of whom had pulled away from their
markers to give a target. Another good chance down the drain.
Ferdinand clears a City attack
only effort early on was a free-kick by Rooney which was saved by David James
for a corner.
attack down the right by Fletcher ends with a good James save at the feet of Rooney.
United manager and bench watch impassively as their team fail to make any headway.
lively tussle between Barton and Keane is closely watched by referee Bennett.
clash of heads between Distin and O'Shea ended with the United player in some
distress. He later recovered and played on
does his best to avoid handling the ball in this skirmish with Rooney.
of bodies at this City corner but United survived again.
Barton and Roy Keane in another midfield battle.
like a painful block by Richard Dunne.
hits a long range shot just past the post.
O'Shea goes down a second time and is substituted by Ronaldo after just over half
the ongoing encounter between Barton and Keane I tried to lip read but just could
not decipher what film they were going to see tonight! Fowler and Ferdinand seem
to be more interested in other goings-on - was it an American flag being waved
at the North end.
brings down Richard Dunne and gets booked for the foul.
Ronaldo now on for O'Shea Ben Thatcher had more to cope with down the right flank.
good save by James at the feet of Rooney.
Half time and it was goalless but
City had the best of the chances and should have been ahead but it was the 13th.
after the restart a throw-in puts Wright-Phillips away. He beats Brown and when
Carroll beats out the cross there is Fowler to put the rebound wide! Another fine
64 minutes Giggs replaced Fletcher and what a brave man he was - appearing in
black tights! The City supporters gave him a suitable welcome on his 400th Premiership
hair raising experience for Musampa as Ferdinand heads clear.
Keane continued to give the referee lots of grief all match while the 4th official
has to restrain the United manager
68 minutes United took the lead. Musampa, caught out of position allowed Gary
Neville to slot through a good ball to Rooney who flicked it in the net via Dunne
foot. A similar position to McManamans miss! The deadlock was broken and City
few minutes later and it was game, set and match. Rooney crossed from the right
and Richard Dunne trying to clear put it over his own keeper for an own goal.
A great shame for Dunne who had played well and 99 times out of 100 he would have
cleared it hence no shout from James I presume.
tried to get back into the game. Musampa had a good effort saved by Carroll after
minutes later Fowler puts over the bar from a good position. It was not City's
now City were a spent force and despite putting on Bradley Wright-Phillips and
Macken they were unable to make inroads on the United goal. In fact United came
nearer to scoring with efforts by Ronaldo,Giggs and Rooney. In the latter stages
United brought on Philip Neville so we had the novelty of two sets of brothers
playing in a derby game.
Missed chances cost City this game. Territorially
United easily won on points but had City taken those early chances it might have
been very different. City supporters will be interested to learn that also today
Anelka scored one and made another in a 4-0 win for Fenerbahce against Istanbul
Sporting in his first full match. He also came on last week after 60 minutes in
a 1-1 away draw
So not exactly a poor performance. City had their chances but
spurned them all. Defensively Thatcher had one of his better games. Mills defends
well but passes badly, Distin played well as did Dunne apart from his own goal.
Sibierski looks happier in the centre of midfield. Musampa flits in and out of
the game and will get better as he comes to terms with the Premiership. Shaun
Wright-Phillips was well marked and we need a plan B and generally much better