v Norwich City 1-1
November 1st att. 42,803
visit of bottom of the league Norwich City gave City the chance to improve their
goal difference and to give the team more confidence prior to next weeks derby
game at PLC. Some chance! After a fair first half in which City mainly dominated
an equalizing goal ten seconds into the second half - missed by many - knocked
the stuffing out of City and with City's midfield - with the exception of Flood
- giving a good impression of a Sunday morning Age Concern side Norwich were able
to get away with a point despite a good penalty shout. The injuries to Barton
and Jihai Sun are costing City dear. We badly need an injection of cash in January
to bolster the squad.
before half time City took the lead against the run of play. A run by SWP down
the right and good cross led to Sibierski's goal. A poor first half ended with
some reward on this cold afternoon.
the 'attraction' of the game being live on Sky there was a good crowd and Norwich
brought a fair number of supporters despite the long journey from Norfolk. The
City squad had a bare bones look to it and gave full debuts to Flood and Jordan
clears following a free kick given for a foul by Jordan
first of many dashes down the wing by young City star Willo Flood who is rapidly
becoming a City favorite.
played well first half and was always prominent but alas his second half performance
was not so good as he gets tired after 60 minutes or so and there was no Barton
to replace him.
ten minutes City took the lead. A long cross by Shaun Wright-Phillips - put through
by Sibierski- was met first time on the volley by Willo Flood. His surprise shot
caught Green napping and he let the ball go over his outstretched hands.Almost
an identical error to that which cost David James 's England place in the game
the 'Flood Gates' open we wondered as Willo caused problems to the Norwich defence.
his earlier clanger young Green was anxious to make no more errors from this Flood
makes a catch from a corner
19 year old Willo Flood had scored on his full Cup debut and now he had made it
a double with notching another on his full league debut. Bosvelt looks pretty
happy about it all.
kept the Norwich defence busy but failed to make good clear-cut chances
the whole Darren Huckerby, once a favorite at Maine Road was pretty quiet and
didn't have many of his runs at goal
Willo Flood run wins a corner as City had yet another 'Run of Flood'! Some of
his first touches were excellent.
blocks a shot by Charlton
manages to clear as Anelka and SWP attempt to put him off.
lost a boot during play. Distin pleads to the referee asking for a show horn
makes a great save from Anelka put through by SWP
protestations of his innocence Sibierski gets booked for a late tackle on Jonson
. I wondered how long it would be before Mr 'yellow card ' Bennett showed his
hand. The game had been a little like a vicarage tea party so far.
double save by David James after a slip by Bosvelt in midfield. First he saved
at the feet of McKenzie and then had to follow-up moments later with a second
save - all in first half extra time.
the half hour a surprise volley from Shaun Wright-Phillips following a throw-in
nearly caught Green napping.
drives at the City goal with Danny Mills in close attendance.
ghastly mistake by Mills within seconds of the restart let in Francis who easily
scored as City were caught cold. I guess quite a few supporters were too, returning
to their seats to find the score 1-1.
mid air clash with Distin left McKenzie the worse for wear as referee Bennett
checks from all angles for forensic evidence. Obviously a big fan of CSI Miami.
catches a centre from Anelka
Norwich goal had a narrow escape when Willo Flood -who else- hit the inside of
the post from a narrow angle and the rebound was put out for a corner. Green might
have just pushed it onto the post. SWP made the chance.
extraordinary penalty episode with 8 minutes to go. Top left - Fowler wins ball
and the ball runs to Anelka (top right) whose shot is blocked and it runs to Fowler
again who shoots (above left) and his shot is blocked on the line with a hand
(above right). The ball eventually goes for a corner but it should have been a
The lack of pace in midfield especially after the break let Norwich
have too much of the play and a bit of bad luck at times cost us the two extra
points. Perhaps its our turn to get the run of the ball next Sunday. One can only
6: Mills 5, Dunne 6 ( Onuoha 6), Distin 6, Jordan 6: Flood 8, Bosvelt 6, Sibierski
6, McManaman 5 (Fowler 6): Wright-Phillips 8, Anelka 7:
v Blackburn 1-1
November 13th att. 45,503
the heroic 'backs to the wall' display against United last week I suppose we were
expecting another bravado display against bottom of the league Blackburn but knowing
City , the 'The Dickov Factor' and the fact it was the 13th we ended up with a
dismal game doomed to be last on 'Match of the Day' at about 1-0 in the morning
- way past my bedtime. It was awful with very few positive things to come out
of it. The continued City injury list grows and it is not a good idea to have
all this extra pressure put on the youngsters. The experienced players must start
to earn their keep. The magnificent support that fills the City of Manchester
Stadium will start to wane if the home form
and Faz overlook the pre-match warm-up and wonder what the next hour or so has
had the best of the early exchanges and the City defence were kept busy with the
visitors forcing several corners. This season we are dealing with these a lot
City goal has a narrow escape as a Blackburn effort goes wide.
Flood showed some early form but fell away later when he was moved to the left
to let SWP move out there.
mistimed back pass nearly let in Paul Dickov but a last second clearance by David
James saved the day.
were unchanged from their no score draw at PLC the previous Sunday so the youngsters
had a further chance to show their skill.
Friedel had difficulty in dealing with this shot from Willo Flood.
a lone striker Anelka was close marked and City rarely got into the visitors penalty
managed to save this free kick from Anelka after the City forward had been fouled
just outside the penalty area.
City defence continued to earn their keep defending well at a free kick then James
had to dive to cover another Blackburn effort We were beginning to wonder who
was the home side especially as the home crowd were quiet.
keeper were called upon to make really good saves but both were kept busy. On
the whole the standard of entertainment was low with very few examples of good
passing and movement.
favorite Paul Dickov was always a danger and you ignore him at your peril.
James saving from Emerton
battles with Johansson
Jordan was the first City player to be booked for a bad foul on Stead
led to some confrontations between players
private argument between Brett Emerton and Danny Mills ended with a talking too
by the referee. Not a handbag in sight.
struck after 78 minutes. A free kick for City in midfield was wasted by Reyna
-on as sub for Flood ten minutes earlier. Dickov was put through and he was brought
down by last man Mills. Mills was sent off and Dickov scored from the penalty.
to ten men City were happy to survive the last ten minutes or so and James saved
well from Thompson in the final minutes. This was a game easily forgotten. Little
evidence of skill or thrills to lift the large crowd.
6: Mills 5, Dunne 5, Distin 5, Jordan 5: Flood 4 (Reyna 5), Bosvelt 6: Sibierski
6, McManaman 5: Wright-Phillips 5 Anelka 6
v Aston Villa 2-0
November 27th att. 44,530
pounced while Villa ponced. A great City TEAM performance with an extra pre-Christmas
cracker of a goal by SWP - who else. After the great away victory at Pompey City
made it two on the trot - the first since April 2003 - and leaped into the top
half of the table. If this is the way we play when Bert Trautmann visits then
we should have him every match!
Trautmann then and now. City's most favorite player of all time 82 year old Bert
Trautmann winner of an honorary OBE who I was fortunate to see on many occasions,
was a welcome honored guest at today's game. I shot the pic on the left in the
fifties. He still looks pretty fit today.
Road today. A pile of earth and puddles is all that is left of our great ground.
Memories still linger on. Visit City Past. I shall
be adding more pics there in the next few weeks.
by Old Mother Riley the two teams took the pitch with City making a couple of
changes from the Pompey game - Mills returning to full back and Macken was in
for the injured Anelka.
Stephen Jordan goes from strength to strength. His contribution to the team is
proving more than useful. It would not surprise me if he keeps his place when
Thatcher recovers from injury.
first of the many fouls against SWP and Old Mother Riley swings into action.
to the annoyance of the nearby Villa fans Jordan places the ball just on the outside
of the circle .
resultant corner is tipped over By Sorenson for another corner
to the fury of the visiting fans he does it again.
time the ball is headed clear by the Villa defence.
a hardworking Robbie Fowler shouts for a free-kick Barry delicately side foots
the ball to safety
the busiest of the keepers Sorensen catches well under pressure
28 minutes City took the lead. Fowler did well just outside the area and his pass
reached Macken who beat Mellberg well and finished with a low shot.
the rain swept the stadium City continued to press and Sibierski had a good shot
well saved by Sorensen
38 minutes came Shaun Wright-Phillips' goal. An attack down the left by Barton
and Jordan and started by SWP in his own half appeared to breakdown when the ball
was cleared from Jordans shot (above left). However the ball ran to SWP well outside
the area who cracked it in with his LEFT foot past a shell shocked Sorensen. Two
this lad has matured is amazing. Also baffling is why the England manager cannot
find a regular place in the international lineup for Shaun Wright-Phillips.
before half time Fowler was brought down at the edge of the area by Delaney who
got a yellow card for his trouble. Somebody forgot the prayer mat.
McCann is given some words of wisdom by 'Old Mother Riley'.
- one of the Villa defence has surrendered.
from the odd save James had precious little to do.
just manages to foil Robbie Fowler
is panelized for a foul on the keeper
and a Villa defender show the size of the fish they recently caught -well I think
that's what they're doing!
just three minutes to go and Distin off injured substitute Luke Moore broke down
the left. Dunne mistimed his tackle and fouled him right on the edge of the area
.The impetus of the players took them into the area and the referee gave a penalty.
Angel took the kick but the diving David James managed to block the shot
rebounded into the air and Angel dashed in to finish it off
David James struggled to get to his feet Angel headed towards an open goal but
he ball sailed over the bar and justice was done.
final seconds Hendrie fouled Mills and the two went head to head. Mills asked
him if he was going to the Disco later - Hendrie nodded and got sent off for head
butting! Mind you neither player has a reputation for ballroom dancing
started to rise and I wondered whether Ricky Hatton was going to be called for
to sort them all out. It looks as though Mellberg -at fault for both the goals-
is blaming the referees assistant poor soul.
the end of the round Hendrie made his lonely journey back to the dressing room,
sent off once again.
the final whistle the happy City supporters made their way into the damp Manchester
weather celebrating after a good performance by the blues
was a solid team performance. SWP worked his socks off and scored a great goal
-perhaps goal-of -the- month. He must have been really tired at the end of the
game. From James - who made one good save apart from the penalty save - to Macken
who also scored, the players worked well for each other and the passing was much
crisper and accurate than in previous home games. Anelka was not missed today
but dare KK let him go in the January sales. I doubt it. The return of Barton
has lifted the midfield and taken some of the defensive load off Bosvelt. Dunne
and Distin rarely let the Villa attackers settle so all in all it was a job well
done. The continuing progress of City's youngsters is now bearing fruit. We eagerly
wait for them to ripen. As I drove home down the M6 I passed all the Villa supporter's
coaches and I'm sure the road was just that extra wet from the tears pouring from
7: Mills 6, Dunne 7, Distin 7 (Onuoha 6), Jordan 6: Wright-Phillips 8+, Barton
7, Bosvelt 7, Sibierski 7: Fowler 6, Macken 6