City Come Unstuck Against Resilient Everton
As talk of Christmas number one escalated around Eastland`s you knew what game to expect.
Following Manchester City has never been easy, the ups, the downs and the chances like last night slipping by are the usual emotions.
Top of the Barclays Premier League by Christmas would have been astounding for a City side built by Roberto Mancini and earlier Mark Hughes in a short period of time, but as always, as the chance of greatness or opportunity arises for City something is certainly set to go wrong.
City`s 2-1 home defeat to Everton last night courtesy of Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines goals, kept us two points behind table toppers United having played on two more occasions.
On a night the result was disappointing, but it could have all been so different.
Tim Howard, the ex-Manchester United goalkeeper and ex-City defender Sylvain Distin were like Robots sent on a mission.
Their relationship with the club gave them the added edge, determination and heart.
For 20 minutes they were clinical and dangerous, City were woeful, we hadn`t started and in that brief opening spell the outcome was decided.
Tim Cahill, unsurprisingly City`s nemesis again as he opened the scoring early on. For Everton it just got better, for a team that had only won three times this season, a victory at Eastland`s was a remarkable achievement. The victory was sealed by Baines whose right foot shot rounded off a clever Everton move, while City were still reduced to 10 men with Pablo Zabaleta receiving an eight minute long treatment for a gashed head.
With the game still fresh, however, City did have the time to mount a comeback, but desperation and determination from a sticky Toffee`s side, thwarted any pressure.
The chances for the home side were increasing dramatically by the minute, but after several handball appeals and missed opportunities, we had nothing to show for our efforts.
After mounted pressure and countless efforts, City were left frustrated. However, just before the hour-mark Everton were reduced to 10 men after Victor Anichebe first caught Joe Hart and then left Zabaleta in a heap - not for the first time.
The sense of urgency and willingness from ourselves was heightened and goal-mouth scrambles were becoming more apparent, the end result, unfortunately, never changed.
Nevertheless, City did continue to challenge and press and were finally rewarded on 72 minutes when Yaya Toure`s shot deflected of Phil Jagielka past the stranded Tim Howard.
Aleskander Kolarov was determined to net a City equaliser, but couldn`t find the back of the net with any of his four sizzling efforts.
The equaliser did look certain to come some after as Mario Balotelli raced through on goal with Howard. Balotelli`s chipped shot defeated Howard, but the Everton keeper had his post to thank and then responded quick enough to deny Tevez.
Kolo Toure made the numbers equal late on with two rash challenges, but on a day which promised so much, City failed to deliver.