Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Sunday October 1 2006
City grabbed their first away point of the season, in dramatic style, as Micah Richards grabbed an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time.
With stunning symmetry to his only other goal for the club, Richards pounced on 94 minutes to give the blues the point that their late pressure deserved.
It probably should have been different however, with Everton squandering numerous chances to seal the game as City produced another away performance in keeping with the colour of their shirts.
Pearce opted for a safety first strategy of five in midfield, leaving Samaras upfront on his own. Stevie Ireland was the player brought in to beef up the midfield with Corradi dropping to the bench.
Perhaps in anticipation of a City midfield five, Everton boss David Moyes chose to revert to 4-4-2 with James Beattie brought in to partner Andy Johnson.
The less said about the first half the better. City seemed content to play a cautious, defensive game and Everton showed little of the form that had kept them unbeaten so far this season. The stupour was broken on 44 minutes when Johnson found some space in the City box and saw his shot deflect off Distin and into the City goal.
The second half was an improvement once City changed their formation. Corradi replaced Ireland as City reverted back to 4-4-2 which created more space in the midfield. Everton had a number of chances but found Nicky Weaver in the sort of form that once had him tipped as a future England keeper. His save from Lescott was particularly spectacular and was as important an intervention in securing the point as Richard's late winner was to prove to be.
Everton eventually seemed to run out of ideas when the second goal wouldn't come and Moyes resorted to a series of defensive substitutions to secure the points. As a result the toffees sat back and invited City on. Samaras hit the post before Richards arrived with the last kick of the match to secure the point that may yet turn City's season.
Despite the dramatic nature of City's equaliser all the post match talk focused on City midfielder Joey Barton and his decision to bare his backside to his abusers in the Park end of the ground. What needs to be borne in mind was the level of abuse Joey had endured from Everton's support throughout the game and the context of the late equaliser. Perhaps his actions were rash but they were harmless and done purely tongue in cheek. Everton's support has a history of making complaints to the police and it is perhaps time they questioned the nature of their support before attempting to claim any moral high ground.
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Date:Sunday October 1 2006
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