We’ve got several match reports which certainly helps in getting a balanced view of what really went on during those 90 mins. Thanks to those who laboriously copied them out. As far as I know the FAQ should appear next time around as should this address in Thomas Esamie’s mailing list information, I promise I will then desist from posting to RSS! If anybody wants a copy of the FAQ they can mail me, it will probably be a little longer than the one appearing in RSS.
This weekend’s game is Norwich at home.
MATCH REPORT 1 (The Independent)
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY vs MAN CITY
FRANCIS FINDS RELIEF IN WEDNESDAY’S POTENTIAL
Nobody knew whether to be frustrated or relieved. Trevor Francis was in one mood because his side belatedly rescued a point, in the other because they should have had more. Brian Horton, on the other hand, could scarcely conceal his delight that his team had got a draw they scarcely merited, while rueing their inability to hang on to their lead.
Both the pattern of the match and the comments afterwards perhaps reflected the extent of the sides’ ambitions. Wednesday were anxious to please on the pitch, aware that something more was expected of them than they have so far delivered. City were there not to concede a goal, or at least not to try anything daft, and to try to steal a lead through their confident, under-served forwards.
Francis talked of how Wednesday had worked hard in training to make the team into a unit, of a growing belief, but most of all how he was heartened by a performance which had everything but the necessary. He was expansive.
Horton was pragmatic. He had left nothing to chance by telling his two wide midfield players not to push too far forward, but then wondered if the whole side had been too deep in the 2nd half, eager to hold onto an unexpected lead.
Wednesday are making a tradition of beginning seasons badly before realising their expensive potential towards the end. There were at least signs here that they may peak earlier this season.
[Stuff about Wednesday players deleted]
Unambitious City took the lead seconds before half-time through an underworked Paul Walsh. They absorbed much later, and Tony Coton looked unbeatable until the deserved equaliser came from the sub, Gordon Watson, a bouncy individual effort from the right of the penalty area.
Final Score: 1 – 1
City: Coton; Edghill, Hill, Vonk, Lomas; Sumerbee, McMahon, I Brightwell, Beagrie; Rösler, Walsh.
Sub: Quinn (for Rösler, 85 mins). Foster, Dibble not used.
MATCH REPORT 2 (from the MEN)
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY vs MAN CITY
If ever a player deserved a win bonus last Saturday it was Tony Coton. TC to the players and fans wasn’t just Top Cat but top class at Hillsborough with a wonderful display of agility and bravery which earned City their 1st away point of the season. Coton pummelled the pitch in display when he was finally beaten in the 76th minute by Gordon Watson’s equaliser.
Brian Horton understandably settled for a less adventurous approach after the two successive 3-nil defeats away from Maine Road. Nick Summerbee pulled back to help Steve McMahon and Steve Lomas in midfield. That slight switch worked to a tee with Richard Edghill and Andy Hill coming in in place of the injured Keith Curle and Terry Phelan forming a determined defensive barrier in front of Coton. At the height of Wednesday’s first half bombardment, the three saves which Coton pulled off against David Hirst (twice) and Andy Sinton had to be seen to be believed. It’s a pity Terry Venables wasn’t there because to continue to ignore Coton’s claims for an England spot is a travesty.
However Saturday’s performance wasn’t just about Coton’s brilliance or the gutsy backs-to-the-wall display from the Blues defence. The Blues looked potent themselves when going forward with the lively Peter Beagrie smashing a volley inches wide of the post and Owl’s goalkeeper Pressman forced to come haring out of the area to save at the feet of Summerbee.
Oddly enough after their best chances coming in open play, it was set piece which provide the lead. Beagrie’s left wing corner was met by a towering leap from Vonk whose header seemed to strike Rösler before rebounding to Paul Walsh who swivelled away from his marker to hoist a shot into the roof of the net for his 5th in 6 games this season, looking a bargain at 750,000. The only criticism of a City performance in which everybody ran themselves into the ground was the way City pulled in their horns to protect a slender lead but the ploy almost worked. It is a compliment to the team to say the 9 million pounds of talent in Curle, Phelan and Flitcroft sitting in the stand was hardly missed. It took an inspired substitution by Trevor Francis to breach City’s defensive barrier. Andy Hill got his angles wrong as Watson cut in from the right and not even Coton could stop the curling shot going in the bottom corner.
“We needed to get something out of this game after losing our first two away fixtures and the players deserved a point. I though we dropped off them a bit too much in the 2nd half when the lads were trying to get away with a 1-nil win. I still played two wingers so there was nothing negative about our approach although we did try to be a little tighter than in our opening games. Tony Coton showed what a class keeper he is and Richard Edghill and Andy Hill did very well after returning from injuries. It was a tough decision leaving out Niall Quinn but he took it brilliantly. It is vitally important that we start winning away matches but I’m happy with a point because Wednesday are a decent team”
City: Coton; Edghill, Vonk, Hill, Brightwell; Summerbee, Lomas, McMahon; Beagrie Rösler, Walsh.
Subs: Quinn, Foster, Dibble.
Contrast this positive (MEN, biased?) report with the Wednesday WWW one; apparently it was the same match.
MATCH REPORT 3 (Taken from The Telegraph)
BARNET vs MANCHESTER CITY
Barnet celebrated the greatest night of their four seasons in the Football League after beating Manchester City last night.
Sixty-two places separate the teams in the league, and although City came back strongly in the last 15 minutes, by then they could have been 3 or 4 goals down to Barnet.
Two Barnet heros were Dougie Freedman, who scored after 27 seconds, and goalkeeper Gary Phillips. A mistake by Andy Hill put away Freedman who scored with a left foot shot from 15 yards for his 10th of the season. City can claim they were without Keith Curle and Terry Phelan but they defending was erratic to say the least. Barnet would be disappointed that Freedman dragged wide in the 18th minute when completely unmarked. City had little width about them and their best chance in the 1st half camewhen Phillips tipped over a Rösler header. Freedman beat the offside trap just after half time and was one on one with Coton but he lost his nerve and steered wide of the right post. The arrival of Niall Quinn gave City’s attack more punch but Phillips (on his 33rd birthday) denied Beagrie, Summerbee and Quinn.
City: Coton; Edghill, Vonk (Foster 71), Hill, Brightwell; Summerbee, McMahon, Lomas Beagrie, Walsh, Rösler (Quinn 71)
So City add another Cup defeat to the ever growing list of dreadful defeats. Barnet score after 27 seconds and keep the lead for the remaining 89 and a half minutes!! I mean there’s three divisions between the teams, City should at least have been able to stick one away. At least there’s the second leg?
The list of defeats reads like a who’s not:
Halifax (a) 1-0
Shrewsbury (a) 1-0
Brentford (a) 3-1
Notts C (a) 1-0
Middlesboro (a) 2-1
Cardiff (a) 1-0
Wolves (h) 2-1
Brentford (a) 2-1
Middlesboro (a) 2-1
BARNET (a) 1-0
Are there any more performances I’ve missed?
So how badly did City perform against Barnet? The following are the marks given to each player by Paul Hince, City’s reporter for the MEN.
It says something about how badly the team performed when Quinn got 7 for only 20 minutes!
Ex City star David White has picked up a heel injury and will be out for a minimum of 3 weeks. This means he’ll miss the game at Elland Road on 1st Oct. This is unfortunate as it would’ve been good to see Davy Wavy play against his long time love. I know he’s a professional and they don’t care who they play for as long as they get enormous amounts of money – but it would’ve been fun – ‘Come on David, give us an own goal for old times sake’.
Oh well, at least we can look forward to the return of Sheron on Saturday. Hopefully, he’ll have a bad game.:)
Horton is trying to keep to his word about changes after the Barnet result! He wants to bring back Curle, Phelan and Flipper into the side. However this all depends on whether they are fit again. Somehow that sounds familiar!! It looks like the latest casualty of the changes will definitely be Uwe Rösler (local hero), he’ll most probably be replaced by Quinn. Does that mean we’re going to suffer the Route One football of the previous season? After all with Rösler and Walsh upfront, City have had to play it from the back which produced entertaining football (Arsenal excluded) which has made a refreshing change from the boring fare we’ve had to endure (no disrespect towards Niall).
So the threatened changes all depend upon players recovering from injuries, rather than fit, experienced players slotting straight in. A smallish squad doesn’t work does it?
If people care to take a look at the FAQ (when it appears) it becomes clear just how many players City have let go during the summer and early part of this season:
Alphonse Groenendijk (Midfield) To Sparta Rotterdam (Nominal Fee)
Karre Ingebrigsten (Midfield) To Lillestroem(Nor) (Fee Unknown)
David Rocastle (Midfield) To Chelsea (1.3 million)
Mike Sheron (Forward) To Norwich City (1.0 million)
Fitzroy Simpson (Midfield) To Bristol City (0.5 million)
Also, Alan Kernaghan’s fate is still in the balance.
Without doubt the squad was overly large and needed thinning out but surely as part of a balanced policy of replacement with promising and quality players? Personally I’m not shedding any tears over the above players except perhaps Sheron who certainly had talent even if it wasn’t converted to goals during his extended runs in the team last season. So far then, it’s 5 gone maybe 6 and only Summerbee brought in who can be described as fitting the above bill. The potential problems associated with a small squad are all too clear and result in panic buying to fill sudden gaps. Is this selling merely wage-bill driven or is it really an essential pre-requisite to new players being brought in. Perhaps I am too pessimisitic but I tend to suspect that the former lies nearer the truth.
Lee promised millions to rebuild but so far we’ve raked in double what we’ve given out! I can certainly appreciate the argument that quality players aren’t falling off trees but there are some out there and City should be in a position to afford them. The potential at Maine Rd is huge, witness St James’s Park which is now sold out every week and as far as I know may even be entirely season ticket. My last season as a season ticket holder at Man City in 78/79 produced average gates of around the mid 40,000s easily enough to sell the ground out at the present capacity. Naturally gates aren’t as high as they were nationwide but 32,500 is within easy reach, So, if success could be generated the rewards would be immense and worth the investment.
Would anybody care to name quality players who would be available (i.e not Andy Cole) who would fit in and form a successful team.
Thanks to Rob Clarke, Phil Knight, Martin Ford & Anthony Johnson