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Lightning Strikes Three Times

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12.45 GMT

Attendance: 47,019


For lightning to strike twice is unbelievable, a landmark occasion, for it to occur three times, well that`s bizarre. Manchester City succumb to another injury time winner against the Old enemy for the third time this season, Paul Scholes heaped misery on the home fans and left Mancini`s men distraught after his late goal earned United a 1-0 away victory to continue their push for the Championship. In contrast City slipped up in their own push for Fourth with Spurs breathing down our necks.

Today`s Manchester Derby received growing amounts of attention and was billed as "The Biggest Manchester Derby" for 30 years. Our usual objective is to harm their hopes of any glory and to earn local pride. However, for ourselves, the season`s end is fast approaching and the opportunity to play in the Champions League couldn`t be greater. An added incentive of the fuelled "Carlos Tevez" war as well as the heart-breaking defeats we have endured this season could be rectified if we managed a Derby Day victory.

The odd panic, the occasional nerve and the rare anxious moment is understandable, but today we were a wreck. From start to finish, the horror of another defeat against the enemy loomed and the anxiety surrounding this, as well as the pressure of Champions League football next year looked evidently nerve-wracking. United were far from their flourishing best, a team unbelievably over-reliant on talisman Rooney, have found it too difficult recently to cope, hence their decision to play the injured star. Rooney`s effect on the game was minimal, the watching eye was observing his ankle closely and he rarely entered first gear, missing several key opportunities to put the visitors ahead.

Scoring 11 goals in two games we couldn`t have enterted the game in greater confidence, however, the lack of creativity could have never been more apparent. We were lacklustre, lethargic and disappointed far too often, the outstanding performers were defenders, illustrating where our priorities lay. The 90 minutes brought unwanted similarities to the Liverpool game, slow, agitated and tense. The occasion was never going to decide who finished fourth or who indeed wins the Championship, but we felt disappointed after expecting so much.

For the majority of the encounter, the battling was between the two managers, the tampering amongst their own teams was to counter attack their opponent rather than force the issue. After being treated to some tremendous Derby`s this year, we couldn`t have asked for more; the ultimate comeback`s, the gut-wrenching hammer blows, the forgotten man proving so pivotal and most importantly free-flowing admirable football. Today was different, despite the sun beating down and the crowd in terrific voice, very little could encourage the players. Nigel De Jong`s destructive power and harrying of the opponents earned great applause, but more was needed, he wanted support.

United had the best of the opportunities in the first half, Darren Fletcher came very close from his dipping shot and Giggs and Rooney missed fantastic opportunities from 8 yards. For ourselves, Bellamy would have been pleased he was facing the ageing Neville and created a brilliant opportunity only for the ball to miss everyone. Near misses and the odd shout was the best we had been given, a slight applause from both fans at half time, portrayed how much more we wanted.

The second half again failed to create much, Tevez was willing to do his usual running but failed in his objective to score. He wasn`t getting the chances and neither were City, the final ball lacked the zip, the final move as indecisive and all that was won was territorial possession. The managers twitched nervously, their subs were hardly game changing, cutting out the opponent was far too easy. The counter attack looked the best opportunity for both teams to edge out a close-fought win but neither could manager that decisive blow.

As the game was nearing a close, City were hoping to avenge all the hurt with a late goal themselves, Somehow, we failed to witness the net bulge with Vieira having a goal winning chance that was finally cleared after a small exchange of pin ball. A draw was probably the most likely outcome and a fair result. Nevertheless, after countless last minute goals United are always confident of a late winner themselves and they had just that. Paul Scholes, scored another against us as he strode unwatched into the area, a far cross fell perfectly for the midfielder who headed home past Given`s despairing dive.

This was nightmare stuff. Three times we have had a draw/injury time result only seconds away, but again switched off at a crucial period. United didn`t, we were punished, the groans were deafening, squirming in our seats hoping to wake up, it was over, we had blew it.

Star Player

Nigel De Jong- Rises to the big occasions. He was excellent, he harried, chased and darted everywhere. He was remarkable defending all over the place and a constant nuisance.

Player Ratings


Looked steady, but couldn't stop a well placed header.


Brilliant performance. Nedum, the boy blue, was fierce and resilient. He didn't give their attackers a sniff and thwarted several attacks.


Probably his best City performance. Strong, read the game very well and has played much better than expected recently.


Started the game very nervously, twisted and turned on several occasions, as well as slipping, VK found it quite tough.


Seen as a potential weak link Bridgey played well. He had the chance to win the game on two occasions and was unlucky, defended very well though.

De Jong-9

Rises to the big occasions. He was excellent, he harried, chased and darted everywhere. He was remarkable defending all over the place and a constant nuisance.


A steady performance. Sometimes gave the United midfield too much space, but he put his foot in when it counted.


After some tremendous performances, this was possibly one step too far. He found it difficult to beat Evra and his crossing was particularly poor.


Our bast attacking player. He didn't have the best service, but ran the line very well. Created 1 or 2 good chances but needed more support.


He ran and ran, but never came close to hitting his best performance. One close free-kick, but he was too deep and tried to do too much.


He wasn't the target man we needed today. He failed to produce his best performance and really put pressure on a shaky defence.


Had a great chance to score. Couldn't keep up defensively.


Our most effective sub, was hacked down as per usual.


Offered very little and didn't get involved.

Date:Saturday April 17 2010
Time: 4:47PM


Just can't believe it, done again. Concentration up in the air again. Two interesting things though: 1) Ireland's reaction to the goal: I'm his biggest fan but his face told it all, didn't give a *****, arms up in the air. 2) Tevez took 2 painkillers right infront of where I was sat after only 5 minutes of the match. Definitely carrying a knock
17/04/2010 17:02:00
That would explain a lot Scragg, as Tevez didn't seem his normal self today at all. It didn't click for us today, neither side really looked good for a win, but we switched off again and were punished.
17/04/2010 17:06:00
I really thought this would be a cracker, but it turned out a dud. Really disappointed for City. At this point in time, the difference between United and City is that United win these types of matches and City don't. It's not talent. It's not coaching. It's character. You're just not quite there yet and Stephen Ireland is the epitomy of what is still missing. I really think he's a talented player, but its obvious that he's not willing to do the little things required to win at the highest level. Tough day. Hope you still make the CL.
17/04/2010 17:18:00
you were the arichtects of your own downfall conceding possession so easily so late on! Thanks lads!
17/04/2010 17:21:00
yer bottles gone and fourth spot with it its ours for the taking now
17/04/2010 17:42:00
spudsrus, have you won at Chelsea then? cos we will be up for it when you lot come to Manchester..... then, if you get something now, then next week at the swamp and then our place, you will deserve 4th, until then shut it.....
17/04/2010 17:50:00
It was a very disappointing day. But once again it demonstrates what being a top team is all about. You have to concentrate for 90 or 94 minutes. Our central defence was nowhere to be seen and I thought Given should have saved it. We will still finish fourth though
17/04/2010 17:58:00
Spuds 2 CFC 0 at half time. Bad day for Chelsea to do an Arsenal (ie, roll over)!
17/04/2010 18:29:00
Bad results all round. League title race: United winning vs Chelsea losing. Fourth race: Spurs winning vs City losing. A bad day, but not the last day! Bring on next week already.
17/04/2010 19:15:00
United packed the midfield and their extra player worked - simples. With our best attacker having an off day and our midfiled overrun we just couldn't get the attack in order and ended up chasing the game. No great controversies, although I thought Gary Chuckle handballed in the area and I can't understand how Rooney wasn't booked at least once, but there you go, that's the advantage the rags still have - the refs are reluctant to penalise them. Draw would have been a fairer result (even according to a couple of rags I've spoken to), but that's life, and that's football. Think Steven Ireland will be sold in the summer, although SWP did quite well when he came on.
17/04/2010 19:30:00
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