2 Sunderland 1
March 5th 2006 att 42,200
cold day at the City of Manchester Stadium for the visit of bottom of the table
Sunderland and their manager, ex City player Mick McCarthy. After the poor City
first half display against Liverpool in their last game it was hoped City would
return to winning ways. However after the first quarter of an hour when City scored
twice the game descended into a battle as the visitors fought for a point and
City's passing and tempo went off the boil. It should have been an easy three
points especially after the great start but it was all hard graft from then onwards
and at least we move back into the top half of the table. On this form a European
place is but a dream.
made a welcome return after injury for the suspended Barton. Vassell came in for
Sibierski and young Richards was at right back for Mills
team of 'old' City players was introduced to the crowd before the game. This is
Dave Bennett coming out. You can see some pics of them playing at Maine Road at
started at a high temp with attacks down both flanks with Sinclair and Riera making
inroads into the Sunderland defence
took just 9 minutes to open the scoring. It was a terrible error by Danny Collins
who lingered on the ball to be dispossessed by Samaras who then ran on to crash
the ball past Davis at the near post from a narrow angle with his right foot .
He had got the option to pass to unmarked Vassell but chose to finish it off himself.
young Greek player celebrated and looks to become a City favorite. His recent
two goals for the Greek national side has lifted his confidence.
briefly went on attack but the combined efforts of Dunne and Jordan held out
minute later City went two up. A long ball from Reyna was well controlled by Sinclair......
he centered the ball to the waiting Samaras who smashed the ball home with his
had begun the movement in midfield and then finished it off. Two goals in ten
minutes and I was calculating what the final score would be when I was brought
down to earth by remembering I was watching City!
the City players celebrated the Sunderland supporters were silenced . Relegation
now looks pretty certain for the visitors.
James has to rush out of his goal and head clear in an isolated Sunderland attack
now without his protective mask caused problems for the visitors down the right
catches a City corner and from his clearance Richards gives away a dubious free
kick. The ball is lofted in and Breen outjumped Samaras at the edge of the 6 yard
box . Kyle bundled the ball in to give Sunderland a fighting chance.
40 minutes Vassell is fouled by Whithead but Musampa's free kick is blocked by
continued to press winning corners and Riera had an effort just before the half
time whistle but his left foot shot went just over the bar. So it was 2-1 to City
at half time.
catching a City corner
centers despite the efforts of Danny Collins
has a shot blocked by Gary Breen
shoots at the keeper who saves when he should have done better
were having more of the play and James had to be on the ball to keep City in the
flying through the air after a one to one clash with Davis. Some refs would have
given a penalty
Wright Phillips who replaced Vassell after 60 minutes in a clash with Nosworthy
clears Sunderland attack
player McCartney is obviously thinking of changes sports and going in for Rugby
City goal has yet another narrow squeak as the final whistle approaches.
Sinclair is caught off balance and another chance is lost
the ref no option but to send him off as he had been booked in the first half.
catches the ball from a Whitehead shot following a free kick and as he throws
the ball out Breen stupidly handles it...
the first ten minutes or so this game went downhill and Sunderland will be a little
disappointed they didn't get a point off this game. City's high tempo start fizzled
out and in the end it was a hard won three points. Good pointers from the game
included the improving skills of Samaras , the continuing form of Richards who
does not look out of place in the Premiership. Musampa has been given a new lease
of life in midfield though he must keep up his form for 90 minutes. Riera seems
to be a 45 minute player. He must raise his game in the second half.
6.5: Richards 7, Dunne 7, Distin 7, Jordan 7: Sinclair 7, Reyna 6.5 (Ireland 6)
Musampa 7.5, Riera 6.5 (Sun 6) Samaras 8, Vassell 7 ( Bradley Wright-Phillips