Date:Saturday January 31 2009
Rory Delap was sent off yet City only managed one shot on target as they slumped to another away-day defeat to Stoke.
The game started quite good for the Blues. City managed to keep the ball well and dominate proceedings without managing to penetrate any sort of final ball. Stephen Ireland did have a good chance though after good pressure by Bellamy led the ball straight to the boot of the Irishman, but his volley flew wide of Sorensen`s Right post.
Stoke managed to get a foothold in the game after City`s spell of dominance. A variety or successive corners and throw-ins produced two good chances for Stoke with Shawcross heading over the crossbar and then managing to flick the ball towards goal from two Delap throw-ins.
Man City took advantage of the pressure and broke with style. Ireland found the ball and pushed forward with the ball, before releasing Bellamy who squared the ball to Robinho, but the little Brazilian`s shot was scuffed and rolled straight to Sorensen.
The game was then paused briefly as Onuoha and Amdy Faye clashed heads. The Stoke player came off worse after originally seemed to lose consciousness but after a short time, he was back on his feet and ready to continue the Stoke cause.
Nobody could question Stoke`s passion for the cause as they were hustling City when they had the ball and getting their foot stuck in. However Delap went one step to far on the 37th minute and saw red after kicking Shaun Wright-Phillips who had been tripped by him moments earlier. City fans waved the Stoke player off the pitch but City were lucky to still have eleven players on the field after replays revealed Wright-Phillips retaliated by kicking Delap back while on the floor. A lucky escape for the "wee" lad.
City then went on the attack but through all their possession they could not manage anything worth shouting about, in fact it was the Stoke City fan`s who found themselves screaming moments before the halftime whistle.
Good play by Stoke and bad defending by Richards and Bridge gifted Stoke a goal, as the cross came in from the right which Richards should have blocked, but it found the head of Beattie who flicked the ball into the bottom corner. Question marks over Bridge`s positioning but either Way City went in at half-time behind.
Halftime: Stoke City 1 Manchester City 0
City kicked off the second half, as Stoke made one change. Fuller was replaced by Cresswell.
Stoke seemed more than happy to have "parked the bus" for the second half as every member of the stoke side seemed to be in their half. A long ranged shot by Robinho was all there was to shout about as Hughes made his first change.
Zabaleta was replaced by Elano who was booked within a minute of coming on. Some sort of record maybe?
Half chances came and went for City with another couple of long-ranged shots. Ireland was then unlucky to reach Elano`s shot come cross, but City never looked likely to break the wall of Stoke`s defence.
Robinho had a volley from just inside the box but it flew over, as Hughes made this second change. De Jong was sacrificed for Caicedo as City went to try and find an unlikely goal.
Bellamy was next to fluff his volley over the bar, but the Welshman then had another long range effort which silenced the Stoke fan`s for a split second before the ball whispered the top of the bar and out of play. A good shot after good work from Caicedo to present the opportunity to Bellamy.
A late shout from Richards after a tangle with Griffin was unsuccessful as City failed to produce anything more.
Final Score: Stoke City 1 Manchester City 0
The City performance resembled the mornings when your car won`t start. You`re willing it to kick into action but it just doesn`t want to work. I don`t get why the same team can play well against Newcastle at home but fail to produce anything away from Eastlands? It needs sorting out otherwise we can prepare ourselves for a mid-table finish.
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Date:Saturday January 31 2009
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