Season 2005-06 Result
Manchester City 3-0 Newcastle United
 Riera 14,
 A.Cole 38,
 D.Vassell 62.
Date: 01/02/2006  Venue: City of Manchester Stadium  Competition: Premiership
Crowd: 42,413
Match Report Submitted on 08/02/2006 by Ian Gibson
Manchester Blues

Gary and James picked me up at half past three. I was well prepared for my task ahead (with my new note pad and pencil), but quite nervous at the prospect of making my debut as a match reporter for the Carrville Mags. I was a little lonely in the back of Gary’s car without my two usual partners in crime, Lee and Johnathon. As usual though I was full of confidence ahead of the match, with thoughts of Shearer making history, a win to kick start our push for a European spot and a trip to Wembley after our favourable cup draw.

By the time we got there it must have been about 6.30pm. We headed towards the ground. We ended up in a pub called The Manchester, which is directly behind the away end for a quick pint (no alchopops today – drinking with the big lads!). I got to my seat in the upper tier just before kick off. The view is possibly the best of any of the away grounds. The stadium itself is the best in the league in my opinion, apart from St. James’ Park of course.

The match kicked off with Newcastle lining up with a strange midfield, which appeared to have Clark sitting behind Parker and Emre, with Nzogbia down the left and no one at all down the right in front of the isolated Ramage. I was surprised to see a place in the City side for Joey Barton after his recent transfer request. We started away with a decent amount of possession, with Emre lively and always looking to create. We didn’t look like troubling City’s back four though, as in the final third of the pitch we are lacking pace and movement. City on the other hand looked dangerous every time they broke with the pace of Sinclair, Cole and Vassell. They were regularly capitalizing on the absence of a right sided midfielder by doubling up on Ramage. So when City opened the scoring after fourteen minutes it was no surprise it was their left winger Riera who scored. Barton was played in down the right and put over a dangerous cross, which maybe one of our centre halves should/could have cleared. The ball ended up on the edge of the box at the feet of Riera, and he fired an excellent shot to the left of Given right into the corner. The match started up again in similar fashion, Newcastle having plenty of the ball in defence and midfield but showing very little as an attacking force. Man City’s second goal came after 38 minutes, Vassell picking up the ball inside our area and allowed to chip a perfect cross to Cole who rose unchallenged to head easily past Shay Given. This just is not good enough. Firstly there has to be some sort of challenge on the cross and secondly no player should be unmarked in and around your six yard area, especially a forward with the goal scoring instincts as Andy Cole. This prompted a small section of fans in the upper tier to unveil a ‘Souness Out’ banner which accompanied chants of ‘Souness Out’, ‘Souness For England’ and worringly, ‘We’re shit and we know we are’ – what’s the point of singing that? Half time came and I remained in the stand sitting freezing cold in my seat thinking maybe my Dad, Billy was right all along, I must be mad!

Out came the players for the second half with a double substitution – Solano and Luque for the anonymous Nzogbia and ineffective Chopra. Yet again we passed the ball around alright, but basically went nowhere with it. There was some nice link up play between Emre, Solano and Luque but ultimately no end product. The third goal came from a high ball over the top by Cole for Vassell to chase along with Boumsong, Vassell got the first touch on the ball and then drilled it low past Given – a very good finish. My view of the goal at the game and later after seeing replays on TV is, although Vassell beat Boumsong to the ball, our centre half was close enough to deal with it (possibly force him wide). Therefore I think Given needlessly came off his line to close Vassell down, had he stayed on his line it would have been a lot harder for him to score. Cue a few more anti–Souness chants which were quickly drowned out by chants of ‘We love you Newcastle, we do…’ by the majority of the supporters. The rest of the half was pretty uneventful, with the highlight being Barton clattering into the Referee. City’s pace, movement and desire was far superior to ours and they deserved their victory.

I left the ground with about 5 minutes to go to meet James and Gary to make our way back to the car. The journey back in contrast to the journey down was full of thought of who could be our next manager if Souness gets sacked and worries of the unthinkable – relegation. I for one am not sure how much we’ll gain from changing managers at this stage of the season, but something has to change to halt our slide towards the relegation scrap. If we do change managers it is essential we get the right man for Newcastle United this time. Kevin Keegan, Martin O’niell and Terry Venables all got mentions as possible future managers. No mention of Mick McCarthy surprisingly!

The Portsmouth game is now massive, we are desperate for a win and three points. Things could be worse, we could be bottom of the league with 9 points. Let’s all laugh at Sunderland!!