We have a carried-over ‘live’ report from the Newcastle game as well as an Ipswich ‘live’ report and one from The Daily Telegraph courtesy of Rob Clarke. I arranged a swap with an Ipswich contact but he had his 21st on Monday so it will probably scrape into Friday’s issue.
Well, that’s the last three games won, not in spectacular fashion but these are teams we have to get a result from if we want to finish high up the table. Arsenal and West Ham are the next two games; the former are somewhat off form whilst the latter are languishing down near the bottom. It’s important to get good results here as the Yuletide games can only be described as a severe test! Blackburn, Liverpool & Newcastle (plus CC Cup) are obviously not my idea of a fun Christmas-time and I can’t see us getting too much joy from these games.
Next game Arsenal at home, Monday 12th December ’94
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs NEWCASTLE UNITED, CCC4, Weds 30th November.
Ever since the draw had thrown us up against the Geordies in the CCC, I’d had a sense of exciting times to come… From the outset however, my attempts to get to The Academy to see the game ran into problems. Initially, my frustrations lay with the MCFC ticket office who never seem to have an unengaged phone. After a week of almost constant trying I managed to get through and obtained a ticket via Dial-A-Seat. Excellent thought I, now to transport… As I don’t own a car it was going to have to be bus or train, but to my complete and utter F**kin’ amazement the last train back to London, from Manchester, on a weekday night was 8.00!! Unbelieveable! I was travelling to the game with a London based Toon Army fan so supporters’ coaches were also out of the question. By this stage I was close to going crazy but we finally managed to hop on board a National Express coach, the return leg of which took 7 hours to get back to London (and it was called “The Overnight Express”!!). Anyway, on the day of the big game me and my Geordie mate boarded the bus and headed off to Maine Road. All’s well?… not one F**kin bit of it. The incompetent git driving the coach went sooooooo slow that we arrived in Manchester over an hour late (7.15pm). Not a taxi was to be seen at the beautiful Chorlton Street Coach Station …panic… So, running up to Piccadily railway station we finally managed to hail a cab and speed off to the game. End result being I eventually got to my seat 5 minutes after kick-off (not one single beer had I managed the time to drink!), and just in time to see those bloody Geordies score!.
Anyway, onto the game. After all my trials getting there it was reassuring to see that City were doing their usual trick of not competing for the ball in the first 15 minutes. I’m afraid to say that an early goal looked inevitable and it duly came after 10 minutes. A four man passing movement masterminded by Beardsley split the City defence and when Clark drilled the ball in from wide on the right, Jeffrey was on hand to sweep it into the net. At this stage I had to kick myself to remember that Newcastle were short of at least 7 first team regulars. Fox, Howey, Lee, Sellars, Peacock, Kitson, and Albert were all missing. However, this was a cup tie and Newcastle’s youngsters were making the most of their chance to impress Kevin Keegan. Newcastle’s goal did have the welcome effect of waking City out of their slumber and efforts from Flitcroft and Quinn showed that we were coming back into the game. Almost instantly, however, Andy Cole had the chance to kill the game off. A mesmerizing shimmy and turn of pace enabled Cole to advance upon the onrushing Dibble. However, Cole’s deft chip cannoned off the upright and, luckily, back into Dibble’s arms. As half time approached City began to look increasingly impressive, although the lack of speed in both full-backs (David Brightwell and Andy Hill) was causing us serious problems on the flanks. Hill limped off just before the interval allowing the crowd’s favourite Uwe Rösler to come on. Mystifyingly, Lomas, who had been industrious in midfield, was pushed back into defence while Summerbee, who played in defence for Swindon, continued on the wing.
Brian Horton’s half-time talk obviously worked ’cause City looked much more impressive after the break. Rösler’s runs troubled the young Newcastle full-back Neilson and both Quinn and Walsh looked hungrier for the ball. Urged on by a packed Maine Road, the equaliser arrived in the 70th minute. A superb Beagrie corner was flicked on by Quinn for Rösler to power home a header. Having got back on level terms City then appeared to let Newcastle off the hook, and realising that City weren’t going to finish them off, Newcastle ended the game the stronger. All in all it was a cracking match, even having a minor ruck between Cole and Curle to keep the troops entertained. City stars were Ian Brightwell and Keith Curle who did excellently against Cole and Beardsley.
Peter Beagrie was again extremely impressive. The banter between the fans was superb, with both sets singing renditions of “Where were you when you were s**t?”. A final note… would the tossers in the North Stand who constantly spew forth a torrent of abuse at their own team kindly f**k off and die. Some of our lads may not be perfect but they try, and we’re supposed to be supporters, not knockers. Also, maybe a few more chants for the rest of the team; Rösler’s not our only player!! Now to that 7 hour return bus ride…
Final Score: 1-1
(Replay at Newcastle December 21st)
P.S. – Managed to pick up a “Rösler’s Grandad Bombed Old Trafford” T-Shirt on the way out of the ground. Classic!!
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
IPSWICH TOWN VS MANCHESTER CITY 3rd December 1994
Trips to Ipswich haven’t brought City much success in recent years, the last win being a 4-2 success back in August 1961, so this visit to the side propping up the Premiership table looked like a great opportunity to rid ourselves of one of our ‘bogeys’ and pick up three useful away points into the bargain. The day started off with cloudy skies and rain as we headed South down the M6 and it didn’t get much better until about half an hour before kick-off when the sun came out. As we took our seats in the Portman Stand it became clear that this wasn’t such a good thing as the sun would be in our eyes whenever the action was in the left hand half of the field. As it happened, this proved not to be a problem…
The City side had only one change from the side that finished the Coca-Cola Cup tie against Newcastle on Wednesday, Richard Edghill replacing Steve Lomas (suffering with a ‘flu-like virus) at right back. The Ipswich side was missing the belligerent ex-Oldham striker Ian Marshall, veteran defender John Wark, slightly younger defender Mick Stockwell and the much younger striker Chris Kiwomya. If ever City were going to win at Portman Road, this would surely be the day.
City were on the attack straight from the kick-off, playing towards the goal on the right. In the first half hour Ipswich showed virtually no ambition, seemingly playing for a goalless draw. The ball was almost permanently in the Ipswich half and the bright sunshine coming over the stand opposite was causing nobody any problems. Despite all the possession, City didn’t create much in the way of chances and it was Ipswich who nearly took the lead in the fifteenth minute. There was a mix-up between Keith Curle, David Brightwell and Andy Dibble who all seemed to leave the ball to each other. Ruben Sosa’s Uruguayan strike partner Adrian Paz stole in between the three of them and poked the ball just wide of the left hand upright. The little South American was a tricky customer and looked to be the most likely source of an Ipswich goal.
This scare sparked City into creating a few more openings, one of which led to the first goal. Peter Beagrie cut in from the left, his low ball into the penalty area was blocked by Steve Sedgley but it rebounded back to Beagrie who fed it into Garry Flitcroft’s path; Flitcroft rifled a low, hard shot from 25 yards just inside the left hand post to put City one up in the 21st minute. City continued to attack, encountering very little resistance from the home side. Richard Edghill, playing his first game since the derby disaster seemed eager to impress after his spell in the reserves. He made some good runs down the right where he was finding a lot of space and was causing problems for the Ipswich defence. It wasn’t until half an hour had been played that Ipswich started to make a game of it, and even then they only managed a speculative effort from 22 yards which was comfortably gathered by Dibble. This shot and Paz’s effort 15 minutes earlier were the only two shots on goal Ipswich managed in the whole of the first half.
City went two up in the 41st minute; Quinn held up the ball and then threaded it between two defenders to Summerbee, who then hit a glorious chip diagonally over the square Ipswich defence to Rösler, who volleyed it home first time from just outside the corner of the six yard box. City were completely dominating the game with Flitcroft in particular being inspirational. Ian Brightwell was booked for a late challenge just before the break, slightly unluckily in my opinion. At half time the lads went off to jubilant applause from the visiting fans who were no doubt expecting more goals in the second half and some significant repairs to the damage done to our goal difference in the derby.
The electronic scoreboard was a source of amusement during the interval; the half time scores included those of ‘Forrest’, ‘Aresnal’, ‘Chealsea’ and ‘Southhampton’. The scoreboard operator was obviously having as bad a day as the team. Ipswich had not allowed live radio commentary of the game, citing it as one of the causes of the poor attendances so far this season. The attendance of 13,504 was still one of their lowest of the season but I’d say it was more to do with the very poor standard of play from the home team.
City made a change at half time, Alan Kernaghan replacing Ian Brightwell who had apparently picked up a calf strain. He got a good reception from the City fans who thankfully seem to be giving him a second chance. Ipswich seemed to have changed the whole team. They came at City as if their lives depended on it. During the course of this season we’ve seen a number of ‘tales of two halves’ but this game saw the biggest turnaround of possession, if not goals that I can remember seeing for a very long time. On 49 minutes Ipswich were given a free kick just outside the box. I thought the Ipswich forward had taken a dive but referee Stephen Hodge thought otherwise. The strange thing was that the ‘foul’ clearly looked to be inside the box so this was a bit of a let-off for City.
Ipswich continued to press forward and decided to bring on striker Stuart Slater in place of defender David Linighan on the hour. When he was at West Ham, Slater looked to be an excellent prospect but since leaving the East End his career has gone distinctly downhill. Nevertheless, the extra man in a forward position helped the home side turn the screw and it seemed like a goal was inevitable. City’s defence had lost all shape; Edghill was getting caught out of position, clearances were just being hoofed up the field instead of being passed out to a City player and even Keith Curle seemed to be lacking in confidence, kicking the ball into the stand where he would normally dribble round the attacker. In the 70th minute Fitzroy Simpson replaced Paul Walsh; this looked to be a tactical move, replacing an attacking midfielder with a defensive one but Brian Horton said in a post-match interview that Walsh was suffering with ‘flu (as were several other members of the squad) and that was why he was replaced. Either way it made little difference and Ipswich scored four minutes later. Paz beat Curle, laying the ball back to Paul Mason whose low shot through a crowded penalty area beat David Brightwell’s attempt at blocking it, Dibble’s dive and Kernaghan’s last-ditch goal-line clearance attempt.
At this time an equaliser looked certain. It wasn’t until the last five minutes that I thought we might even get away with a draw, such was the turnaround in fortunes. City had a few chances on the break in the last few minutes though; the best fell to Quinn on 84 minutes after good work by Beagrie but the Irishman could only chip the ball into Craig Forrest’s hands. Beagrie also created a couple of chances for Rösler on 85 and 87 minutes; the first was a near post header which went over the bar and the second was a shot hit past the post. Injury time seemed to go on forever with the City fans whistling frantically for the final whistle. With three significant stoppages in the second half, nobody was really sure how long the match would go on. Ipswich forced a series of corners, pushing virtually everybody forward but it was not to be their day. At seven minutes to five the referee finally blew for full time and the City fans started singing ‘Jingle Bells’ (…Oh what fun it is to see City win away…). A hundred or so Ipswich fans ran onto the pitch from the right hand side and the City fans broke into the traditional ‘Sack the board’. This went down well with the pitch invaders who came over to the City fans and conducted the singing. Even the stewards were joining in.
So, three points away from home and a win at Ipswich at last. It made the long journey (over four hours each way, even using the A14, a dual carriageway which now runs from the southern end of the M6 all the way to Ipswich) worthwhile. Maybe we’ll win at Highbury or Old Trafford before much longer? Well, not on that second half performance we won’t. With games against Arsenal, Liverpool, Blackburn and Newcastle coming up, points are going to be a lot harder to come by methinks.
Final Score: Ipswich 1 City 2
IPSWICH TOWN VS MANCHESTER CITY 3rd December 1994
HORTON CAN AFFORD TO SMILE (Daily Telegraph 5/12/94 – without permission)
Manchester City manager Brian Horton said he was not ‘dizzy’ at looking down from his side’s loftiest Premiership position since he took over last season. “It’s so nice to get the points we deserved”, Horton said. “We had to battle in the end but we came away with three points and that is very satisfying.”
Horton said the 2-1 win was the first for City at Portman Road for 33 years and joked: “That’s one up on the chairman”. Francis Lee, of course, played Ipswich many times in his City days without travelling back from Suffolk with a victory.
The season to date has given Horton plenty to smile about. He was not a ready joker during last season’s long campaign for survival but his pack have this time cast memories of that crisis aside.
City consigned Ipswich to bottom place for another week with first half goals from the excellent Gary Flitcroft and the hard working Uwe Rösler. Flitcroft’s came after 20 minutes when he neatly converted a nicely laid-back ball by Peter Beagrie, after excellent work from Paul Walsh, and Rösler added to the Ipswich problems in the 41st minute when he volleyed past Craig Forrest from a floating cross by Richard Edghill.
On the first half display, City looked worthy of a hatful of goals against a woeful Ipswich. While the home side struggled to string more than two passes together, City with Walsh – playing despite illness – Beagrie, Niall Quinn and Rösler combining effectively were driven on by the ever present Flitcroft.
At the back, Keith Curle was rock steady and Edghill, rarely needed in defence, was an effective wide runner on the right. In the second half, Ipswich responded to the chorus of boos they received at half time and looked a different team. They immediately began probing with Bontcho Guentchev, Adrian Paz, Geraint Williams and Paul Mason asking some sterner questions of the hitherto pampered City defence. Curle got booked for a tackle on Paz and Ipswich got a deserved goal through Mason but as they pushed for an equalizer, City came back and Rösler went close with a header from a Beagrie cross minutes from time. It was largely a containing game for City and Curle and David Brightwell had to work hard to keep the desperate Ipswich at bay.
City: Dibble; Edghill, Brightwell(I) (Kernaghan 45), Curle, Brightwell(D); Summerbee, Rösler, Walsh (Simpson 71), Quinn, Flitcroft, Beagrie.
Sub not used: Margetson.
Steve McMahon, who stated that he wanted to add ‘more steel’ to Swindon, was sent off on his début for them in their 2-0 defeat at Southend.
City have been drawn away to Notts County in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Those who were there for our last Cup game at Meadow Lane will hardly recognise the ground now as three sides of it were redeveloped a couple of years ago, leaving the Magpies with a smart-looking ground. One thing that hasn’t changed is their goalkeeper Steve Cherry, who performed heroics for County as City crashed out to a late Gary Lund goal.
John Lyall has resigned as Ipswich manager.
The ‘flu virus which affected Steve Lomas and Paul Walsh on Saturday is apparently spreading through the squad.
What’s happened? City have won the last three league games on the trot including two away games. This includes an away win at Portman Road (first time in 30 odd years) and are now up to the giddy heights of sixth in the League!!! Will some of the criticism aimed at Horton now start to diminish or will it re-start the minute City suffer another defeat?
Flipper and Rösler scored in the Ipswich victory, which by all accounts City should have won at a canter, but insisted on making life hard by conceding a late Ipswich goal (typical City?). It looks like the bug that had affected seven of the youth team could have spread to the senior squad. Lomas has already succumbed to it and it looks like Walsh, Griffiths, Foster and Finney are all now suffering. Other news from the Ipswich game is that Ian Brightwell and Edghill have both picked up injuries.
Firstly, James Nash mentioned that the last time City appeared at Wembley was in the Simod Cup; just to correct him I believe the trophy was known as the Full Members Cup (not that it makes any real difference, it’s still Mickey Mouse when compared to the other trophies!!).
Steve McMahon managed to get sent off in his first appearance for Swindon in a 2-0 loss at Southend. After their 2-1 win in the CC Cup, he wanted more ‘bite’ and determination in the Swindon midfield. He set a pretty poor example by getting dismissed for using an elbow!
There’s been more speculation about the future of two of City’s out of favour defenders. Firstly Michel Vonk has been linked with a move to Boundary park; this depends on whether Royle takes Jobson to Everton. Phelan is the other defender; this time it’s Kevin Keegan who could be interested, even with the asking price near