Another double issue; I had a staggering 24 messages waiting for me this morning and it took quite a while to wade through them doing 5 mins here and there. We have another match report for the Liverpool game as well as a good, objective one from the Blackburn list. They also sent me several smaller mailings from their list which, although I haven’t included them in MCIVTA, show what an impartial and non-bitter lot they are and that’s not always the case.
There’s also plenty of opinion and a Why Blue. Talking of Why Blues, I already have another for the next issue and if anyone else wants to try their hand, please go ahead. Did anyone listen to Phill Gatenby on GMR yesterday? If so, any chance of doing an article (needn’t be long) on what he had to say?
The WWW page has been altered slightly so that the newly created Join the Manchester City Mailing List link now contains MCIVTA info, the current month’s issues and a link to the back issues. The Maine Road Diary link now contains a chronological day-by-day update of MCFC events and happenings (for the entire season) closely tied in with descriptions of the contents of all MCIVTA issues. All the links anyone could ever need are in here and this page should be invaluable to anyone wishing to see what happened when and which MCIVTA contains the relevant information. There’s also a History of MCIVTA page in there! Many thanks to Paul (Howarth) for all his effort and research.
This one goes out to 232.
Next game Newcastle United at home, Saturday 29th April 1995.
MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’
MANCHESTER CITY vs. LIVERPOOL, Friday 14th April 1995
Coming into this game I was still concerned about where the vital points would come from to save City from relegation. City haven’t exactly had a recent good run of results against our Merseyside neighbours, so I couldn’t see City getting anywhere in this game. City started unusually(?) well and could have scored in the first few minutes when Gaudino controlled the ball, beat a couple of defenders and then tried to chip James from about 8 yards out. Unfortunately the ball cleared the bar; I think a straightforward shot would have been better. Although City showed some fight they once again gave Liverpool far too much time on the ball, which with the likes of Barnes and McManaman could have been fatal.
City got the upper hand after 18 minutes, when Gaudino played a through ball for Summerbee, who ran into the box and hit a low, hard shot past James into the far corner. So City had deservedly gone 1-0 up; now would the defence manage to keep them in it? It was only a matter of minutes before Liverpool responded. McManaman got the ball on the left and as the City defence stood off him, he played a one-two with Fowler on the edge of the box before picking his spot in the far corner. So City had managed to stay in front for all of three minutes. When will City learn? The defence seems as useful as a chocolate teapot sometimes!
So half-time came and the scores were level. Although City had shown the better determination, I still felt that Liverpool would come out and do their usual job of beating City, especially if they were given as much time and room on the ball.
Another of Horton’s half-time talks was evident as City set about beating Liverpool, who in all honesty didn’t seem to have the heart for the game. The game turned into a procession of chances for City whilst Liverpool didn’t get to bother TC. David James was commanding his box and came for nearly every cross City threw into the box. He pulled off two superb saves. The first was from a Foster header following a corner; the ball was heading for the bottom corner until James somehow managed to fingertip the ball away. The second chance came from a Flipper volley which he managed to turn over the bar.
Inbetween these chances Rösler had missed a glorious chance to restore City’s lead when he headed wide whilst unmarked, from a Walsh cross. It just looked like City would never score. Then the German connection worked. Rösler picked the ball up on the right, ran into the box and crossed into the middle; his cross was met by Gaudino and his header flew into the top corner, giving James no chance. So, would City manage to hang on to this lead, especially with 17 minutes left? Although Liverpool played some neat football they never really tested City, so City managed to hang onto the lead for some much needed points.
Although City won 2-1 and showed some fight and determination, they still looked shaky in the attack. The defence needs to stiffen up or else better teams will take them apart. City won basically because Liverpool never really looked that interested in the game. I’m sure any other season would have seen Liverpool beat City quite comfortably.
Final score 2-1
Here are my comments on the match from my usual position on the Riverside (Walker Steel).
Rovers 2 City 3
Shearer 6 Curle (pen) 31
Hendry 39 Rösler 56
Berg Pearce Hendry Le Saux
Kenna Atkins Sherwood Ripley
subs: Batty (Atkins 78), Gallacher, Mimms
Foster Curle Kernaghan Edghill
Summerbee Simpson Flitcroft Walsh
subs: Beagrie (Walsh 78), Brightwell, Burridge
The match was an 8 o’clock kick-off to accomodate Sky Sports coverage.
The game started in the usual bank holiday drizzle with Rovers kicking off towards the Blackburn end. Rovers pressed initially but City seemed to come to terms with the conditions first and threatened with a succession of corners. The Rovers came back into it and, with the City back four pushing up, looked to exploit the space behind the back four. Kernaghan was booked for a through the back challenge on Shearer and looked the weak spot in the City defence.
On 6 minutes Curle turned the ball back to Coton under pressure and his right footed clearance (Coton is left footed!) was straight to Shearer 30 yards out. Shearer hit the ball first time and it nestled into the bottom left corner with Coton scrambling across goal too late. The feeling of the City players at this point seemed to be summed up by Edghill who just stood disbelieving shaking his head from the moment the ball hit the net until City kicked off.
Rovers looked to press home the advantage, helped by the ‘mare that Kernaghan was having, but didn’t manage to turn the pressure into a goal. As the ball was moved upfield by City a harmless looking cross was played into the box, Pearce grabbed hold of Quinn’s shorts and referee Keith Cooper gave the penalty. There was a lot of debate after the game, saying that the TV replay was not conclusive about the decision but from where I sat it was pretty plainly the right one. Curle stepped forward and stroked the ball into the bottom right corner with Flowers beaten.
The Rovers seemed to wake up a bit after this and really took the game to City. A period of pressure resulted in a corner on the right. This was hit near post by Ripley and deflected out to Hendry standing all alone to the left of the D. Hendry controlled the ball and lashed it into the bottom left corner. 2-1 !
Almost imeadiately the heavens opened and the drizzle turned into driven rain. City again adjusted to the change in conditions better, Walsh in particular making a number of runs at the the heart of the Rovers defence. By half-time the downpour had abated and Rovers went in with the lead intact.
The second half started with City making a couple of tactical changes. Curle and Kernaghan switched sides and the back four stopped pushing upfield as much. The match continued much as in the first half except that the loose ball always seemed to be picked up by City especially in the midfield area. With the ball over the top cut out by the depth of the City back four, Rovers seemed to be hitting long balls to the SAS at every opportunity with City picking up the pieces when they couldn’t control it. Quinn for City kept moving wide to receive the ball, drawing Hendry and Pearce apart. 56 minutes gone and a cross from Summerbee was headed out by Hendry to Rösler in the D; he hit it hard into the bottom right corner, 2-2.
Rovers pressed forward with more urgency, Kenna and Ripley switching wings, but still the loose ball was won by City. Four minutes later Quinn pulled Hendry wide and flicked the ball inside to Summerbee racing into the box. He shot low across Flowers who could only parry the ball out to Walsh. Walsh slotted the ball home to make it 2-3.
Another tactical switch followed with Le Saux moving to left wing and Kenna dropping back to left back. City though were rampant now; Flitcroft twice put the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for offside and a push. Rösler receiving the ball in what looked to be an offside position beat Flowers but the ball rebounded into the ‘keeper’s hands from the crossbar.
With 12 minutes to go Batty was introduced for Atkins and Beagrie replaced the injured Walsh for City. Batty’s introduction seemed to pep up the rest of the Rovers but he never really got into the game. The Rovers pressed for an equaliser but didn’t create a clear chance. The final whistle went after around 4 minutes of injury time with the City crowd jubilant and the Rovers disbelieving.
On the balance of play City deserved to win. Especially in the second half, City wanted the result more and were a yard quicker to the ball. The Rovers looked tired and somewhat reminiscent of the game against Trelleborg. The lack of a true left winger was shown as the Rovers were limited in ideas going forward and Kenna is not a winger. With Sherwood and Hendry missing for the game against Palace perhaps we will see Gallacher and Batty return to start.
Flowers had his usual good game, making a number of good saves and having no chance (from where I sat) with any of the goals.
Both full backs were troubled by the pace of City’s wingmen and Pearce and Hendry were pulled apart by Quinn and Rösler. This has to be the shakiest performance by the back four for a long time. They never seemed to work out how to play City. Some of this could have been the slippery conditions, but not all.
Both Sherwood and Atkins had poor games, the ball in the centre always being picked up by City. Sherwood’s passing was off and Atkins reverted to his form of the start of the season when things seemed to pass him by before he reacted.
Ripley had a good game. Tackling back well and always looking to create something when he got the ball. He played better when he got back onto the right wing and it is a shame that he didn’t do that in the first half when the Rovers caused City lots of problems on the right anyway. With Ripley there they might have been able to make something of it.
Kenna is not a winger. He is quite good defensively but his crossing was well below par. On a number of occasions he was in space on the right and couldn’t put in the required ball. At times he looked lost out there, reminding me of Warhurst on the left wing.
Shearer looked frustrated with the service he got, but worked hard as usual.
Sutton played well but was knocked off the ball by the City centre halves and looked tired. He did produce some good footwork to create a couple of half chances and probably worked harder than anyone else on the field, but looks in need of a rest.
It was good to see Batty back on the pitch. Almost instantly he was involved in a bit of a wrestling match with a City player. He looked fit but needed to get on earlier to make a contribution.
All in all a disappointing performance, especially in midfield and at the back. Here’s hoping that it’s a one off and spurs them to do better against Palace on Thursday.
Mike Sheppard (Blackburn Mailing List)
NEWS – ENGLAND SQUAD I
The squad for the England get-together this weekend (no Premiership matches due to Internationals next week) is:
Cole (Man Utd)
Edghill (Man City)
Stone (Nottm Forest)
Flitcroft (Man City)
Collymore (Nottm Forest)
Looks like an England “B” squad, with the exception of Anderton, who is now a regular first choice.
NEWS – ENGLAND SQUAD II
Both Flitcroft and Edghill have been called up as part of the senior England squad get-together this weekend. Lets hope their experiences with the England team are more positive than Curle’s or White’s (remember?)
COMMENT – DINO
Dino could miss part of the final relegation run-in to answer car theft charges. He is expected to fly back to Frankfurt later on in the month after the local prosecutor confirmed his involvement in the charges. Dino insists he is innocent; let’s just hope he is. Personally I don’t give a monkey dump whether he did it or not, just don’t let him end up in the Naughty Boys XI.
There is also news that Dino is ‘The Maine Man’ after City and his old club agreed on the