City v Middlesbrough 1-1
May 15th 2005 47,221
mosaic to Joe Mercer on Mercer Way was unveiled last Thursday and received a lot
of interest from fans. Perhaps in the future there will be one to a man called
hope this little girl has been warned about talking to strange animals!
made just one change -Robbie Fowler was back for Macken -
prematch huddle took on a new look as some bright spark decided - for commercial
reasons - for City to wear their new away kit. Alas it clashed with the referees
kit and on at least three occasions City players passed to the referee.
took the initiative immediately and Kiki Musampa was soon in action.
forced an early corner and put the Borough defence under pressure.
Pearce was also in action early - training for calling for a taxi into Europe
looks as though Joey Barton is having his pocket picked at this corner.
packed stadium for the last game of the season and all to play for. Elsewhere
4 clubs were battling for one last place in the Premiership and for once City
were well out of that relegation struggle. At the City of Manchester Stadium Middlesbrough
and City were fighting for 7th position and a place in Europe. Three points ahead
of City but with an inferior goal difference all Borough had to do is draw. City
needed to win and they would be through providing Spurs did not beat Blackburn
by more than two goals. The atmosphere was electric and with Stuart Pearce's boys
on a roll this was the game of the season. Who would have thought that at the
turn of the year we had a chance of playing in the UEFA cup next season.
This was to be a titanic
game with no quarter given or taken. Let battle commence.
minutes and Shaun Wright -Phillips was proving a handful for Frenchman Franck
Queudrue and after bringing the City player down early on he was given a wigging
from Rob Styles.
minutes gone and Sibierski chests the ball down, takes the ball to the line but
his cross flashes across the 6 yard box without anybody able to finish the move
Hasselbaink took the kick with only 2 players in the wall he struck the ball such
power that it flew like a dart into the top corner with David James well beaten.
Few would have bet on him scoring from that distance - a good 35 yards out.
Jimmy and the visiting supporters celebrated there was silence from the City faithful.
Middlesbrough who had hardly set foot in City's half had scored. We needed two
35 minutes once again Queudrue brought SWP down but this time Mr Styles would
have nothing of his pleas of innocence and he got a yellow card.
all Robbie Fowler had to do was to score from the spot but note just as he is
about to shoot-
a. Schwarzer has already moved off his line and b. Quedrue
is a yard or so inside the box so a good referee would have ordered the kick to
be retaken if a goal is not scored.
7: Mills 6, Onuoha 8, Distin 8, Thatcher 7: Shaun Wright-Phillips 7, Reyna 7,Barton7
Musampa 8, Sibierski 6, Fowler 7 - subs Weaver 7, Bradley Wright-Phillips 6, Lee
minute later and City should have scored when Shaun Wright-Phillips breaks through
gets a wall pass from Fowler and with only the keeper to beat.......
sends the ball just wide of the far post. City were to rue that miss in a match
of few chances.
way through the first half City conceded 2 free kicks well out side the area.
The second foul conceded by Fowler was to have dire consequences.
42 minutes Distin joins the yellow card club. Rob Styles with well over a thousand
yellow cards this season has had more bookings than our local travel agency!
picture of innocence Ray Parlour pleads no foul. More later of this
manage to clear another City corner.
on half time Zenden is the 4th player to be booked while Mills delicately places
a pass from Barton Kiki Musampa in the first minute of the second half bursts
through he Borough defence
slipped the ball through the legs of Schwarzer for his third goal for City ..
and what an important goal it was.
with everything to play for the City faithful were ecstatic and the noise level
grew again and do I see an American flag in the crowd. The chap obviously had
a 'glazed' look on his face. Sorry!
53 minutes Sibierski pulls a muscle and has to be replaced by Bradley Wright-Phillips
while Middlesbrough replace Nemeth with danger man Downing
Wright-Phillips was soon in action
Shaun uses his height against Mark Schwarzer
booked Parlour floored Bradley Wright-Phillips by the touchline and he is very
lucky to let off without being sent packing with a red card
City players let the referee know what they think of the situation and keeper
James tells the linesman a joke... or was the decision a joke.
Parlour is let off with a ticking off City manager Stuart Pearce is not a happy
bunny. Moments later Middlesbrough manager McLaren agrees and substitutes Parlour
before more damage is done and Rob Styles loses his patience.
Pearce appeals for the free kick
forward David James in action - he needed a load of defenders to watch him but
his tackling was not too good.
minutes extra time and the two managers prepare for the final duel.
tries his hand at heading.
Stewart Downing broke away substitute keeper Weaver saved with his legs.
from Weavers save BWP linked with Barton and as the latter's cross swept across
the box Quedrue handled
and Fowler appeal for the penalty
pleads for mercy despite Rob Styles's finger pointing to the spot. Lee Croft is
already hoping he can find his passport
is the close-up of Schwarzer moving off the line just before the kick. He has
also anticipated the direction of the kick
slight advantage enabled the keeper to save
the realization that all was lost the City supporters were in a state of shock.
Talk about the ecstasy and the agony. But we're talking about City here .. and
its all part of the rich tapestry of supporting City.
poor Robbie Fowler at one end would have been devastated at the other Middlesbrough
supporters could not believe their luck. With only seconds to go Middlesbrough
with the 1-1 draw were in Europe
last fling from David James and it was all over. The managers shook hands after
a great match that was a credit to both sides. Chances were few and far between
and the second half was one way traffic with the Middlesbrough defence managing
to hold out.
thin yellow line separating the Agony and the Ecstasy
Dunne is presented with his award for Player-of -the Year
Chairman John Wardle presents SWP with yet another award. It looks as though Shaun
will be staying with us despite the interest from other clubs.
team reappears to say a fond farewell to the season
crowd gave the players a great reception despite the disappointment of the result.
wave from new Manager Stu Pearce and part of his army
was good to see Nicky Weaver back in action after his long absence through injury
and away from the rest of the party -presumably waiting for his young family,
Robbie Fowler says a sad good-bye to the fans. He will not be the first to miss
an important penalty - a lot have gone before - his manager being one of them
that's it for another season. We can look forward with great optimism to next
season with the makings of a solid squad playing as a team. Perhaps with the addition
of a few new faces we can again go for Europe. Roll on the fixture list and you
can be sure we will not be playing a PLC from Old Trafford. We may not have all
the money of some clubs but this remains a good family orientated club and long
may it reign. I just hope we never again turn out at home in an away kit for commercial
reasons. That stupid decision on somebody's part will come back to haunt them.
I will raise the issue at the next AGM.
just two minutes of normal time to go Pearce made an amazing last ditch decision
replacing Reyna with another keeper Weaver, David James moving upfront.
body on the left and a body on the right - the siege of the Middlesbrough goal
were near to conceding on several occasions and is that a hand ball -above right-
when the ball was cleared off the line.