Team: Mautone, Bernal, Swales, Williams, McPherson, Primus (Wdowczyk), Parkinson, Lambert, Asaba, Houghton, Meaker.
Report from Phil Newton:
OK OK, So it wasn't the best game you've ever seen, there were hardly any chances and we were 1 inch from losing, but it was far better than a 0-0 draw from the Q+G days of last season, better even than a 2-2 from last season (honest) It all started a bit poorly, Man City had everything of the 1st 15 minutes bar one wasted corner, but despite all their possession, we defended stoutly, er, apart from the one Skippy had to head off the line, no honestly ,we looked solid, Wotsit Kinkladze, all =A310 million pounds worth of him, was kept firmly under wraps by Parky, and even when he did spring clear Houghton was around to kick him over, as was the case throughout the whole game.
We started to come into it, but the only real chance we had was a brilliant dinky little
through ball from Houghton which Asaba ran onto, turned and buried beautifully, with the
keeper nowhere near it.
We had plenty of corners which came to nothing, mostly 'cos they were worked short,
perhaps as a result of Linvoys injury bringing on Dariusz after 10 minutes, and thus
reducing our aerial power still further.
Half time, and yes it was looking a bit dull.
The second half started in the same fashion, and was looking like a repeat of the first until the city full back, right on the line in front of their main stand, turned Lambert and was away. Our Jamie was obviously very upset by this and decided to cadge a piggy back off him down into our half, unfortunately the City Player wasn't expecting all 6-stone of Lambert to land on his back, and promptly collapsed, tut tut went the Ref,. The City fans didn't like it, nor did we (he did only want a piggy back after all), and there was a bit of atmosphere!, a bit of tension! The whole game stepped up a gear, Dariusz had a peachy free kick turned round the post, and was also booked for a dreadful 2 footed job on a striker who would otherwise have been in a very tasty position. Williams got kicked up in the air every 5 minutes, and should really have scored after a great run and cross from Swales.
At the other end most of the bother involved Dickov, who's a bit nippy, a couple of times he went through on the right, only to cock it up. Lee "3.5 million" Bradbury was woeful, certainly not worth more than our entire team, which apparently he is (possibly even more than our entire squad?).
Then after 83 minutes it could all have gone wrong, Dickov went through again, but his
control let him down and the ball had actually crossed the line out of play, Stevo was
obviously aware of this, but fancied diving into the mud anyway, "oooo 'ello" said
Dickov and did his best leap, fall and roll.
Kinkladze went almost back to the halfway line for his run up and walloped the ball low and hard, Stevo was almost there, but his old friend The Post fancied a bit of the action, and cleared it for a goal kick, good man.
A point was a fair result and we surely cannot be upset that our 2.7 million outfit were easily as good as City's XX billion lot, WE PASSED THE BALL, most of out players worked (except Meaker, who was looking a bit like lazy, obviously knowing full well that Skippy would do enough running for the 2 of them) we created chances, not many but it was far more encouraging than last seasons long ball garbage. Houghton had a great game, always running, and a few great little balls into the front 2.
The only problem was Stevo. Every cross he came for, and punched/flapped/looked generally unconvincing, he made a good save from Dickov late on, but certainly doesn't look as solid as last season. Still, at least we know he's good enough, and TB's got the credentials to bring out the best, especially if you imagine how a Q+G team with Swales, Meaker, Lambert, Williams and Parkinson would have looked last season!