No Comfort At City

City Of Manchester Stadium

FA Barclays Premiership
City of Manchester Stadium
Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Gary Oliver reports


NEWCASTLE United's winless run in the Premiership was extended to six games as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

The hosts were always in control from the moment their Spanish winger Albert Riera cracked in a 14th minute opener from the edge of the Magpies' penalty area.

City doubled their lead seven minutes before the interval when Darius Vassell crossed from the left for Andy Cole to guide a downward header past Shay Given.

And the former Magpie returned the compliment for his strike partner to wrap things up in the 62nd minute, brushing aside Jean Alain Boumsong to finish with ease.

Defeat means Newcastle have now managed only one point from the last 18 available in the Premiership.


90min+1 - Alan O'Brien wins a stoppage time corner off Trevor Sinclair, but Nolberto Solano's left-wing delivery is easily gathered by David James.

88min - City try to end the game with a fourth goal, but sub Micah Richards is halted on the edge of the Newcastle box by Peter Ramage. At the other end, Albert Luque fires high into the stands from 25 yards.

81min - Newcastle make their last substitution and it's Emre who goes off to be replaced by Alan O'Brien.

78min - City make a third and final change with Micah Richards taking over in midfield from Joey Barton.

75min - United are almost handed a goal by former playr Sylvain Distin. Alan Shearer drills in a low right-wing cross that the French defender diverts just over his own bar and behind for a corner. City clear the danger and launch a counter-attack of their own that ends with Albert Riera firing wide from 20 yards.

74min - Newcastle are denied a way back into the game when Alan Shearer flicks a forward ball into the path of Nolberto Solano, but he is dispossessed in the penalty area by Sun Jihai.

70min - City make a second change as another of their scorers, Darius Vassell, goes off and Antione Sibierski takes over in attack. As City mount more pressure, Shay Given beats away a Trevor Sinclair drive before Joey Barton sees his attempt fly over goal.

68min - Celestine Babayaro concedes a free-kick on the touchline after bundling over Trevor Sinclair. Joey Barton swings in the delivery and his fellow midfielder is left unmarked but sends a header flying over the bar when he ought to have done much better.

65min - Stuart Pearce makes his first change as he withdraws Andy Cole and sends on new signing Georgios Samaras.

62min - CITY GOAL (3-0): The hosts turn defence into attack with great pace and increase their lead. Newcastle have the ball deep in the City half, but a wayward flick by Nolberto Solano sees Albert Riera lead a charge forward. The ball is whipped off his toes by Andy Cole who then knocks it forward into the path of strike partner Darius Vassell. The former Villa man shrugs off the challenge of Jean Alain Boumsong and advances to slip a shot under Shay Given.

60min - Darius Vassell gets a free header for City when Stephen Jordan crosses from the left. Thankfully, his effort lacks both power and direction and doesn't trouble Shay Given.

57min - A slick exchange of passes between Emre and Nolberto Solano looks as though it will create a chance for Alan Shearer. The skipper appears to be bundled over by Sun Jihai as he approaches the City penalty area, but referee Chris Foy waves play on.

55min - Andy Cole has looked threatening against his old club all night, and he's on the scent of another goal as he collects a Trevor Sinclair flick and holds off Jean Alain Boumsong to fire in an angled shot that Shay Given saves low to his right.

52min - Newcastle's two subs try to combine as Albert Luque seeks to set Nolberto Solano clear behind the City defence, only for Sylvain Distin to read the situation and steer the ball back to David James.

49min - Nolberto Solano concedes a corner from which City almost grab a third goal. Albert Riera's left-wing delivery is overhit, but Joey Barton hooks it back across goal and Andy Cole just fails to reach the ball at the far post.

Graeme Souness makes a double change at the interval. On come Albert Luque and Nolberto Solano, with Michael Chopra and Charles N'Zogbia making way.


Half-time comes with Manchester City applauded off by the home crowd, having netted twice during an opening 45 minutes in which they have been the dominant side.

45min+3 - Only the outstretched leg of Shay Given prevents City finishing the half 3-0 ahead. Darius Vassell finds himself in acres of space on the left and he cuts inside and delivers a low centre that comes back to Albert Riera. The Spaniard looks good for his second goal of the evening as he stabs a 10-yard shot goalward, but Given kicks it away.

43min - Newcastle are really up against it, and their efforts to  get back into the game during this first half are summed up as Emre fires well wide from 25 yards  in a bid to cut the arrears.

42min - More City pressure down the left sees Albert Riera feed the ball inside to Darius Vassell. His cross to the far corner of the box is controlled by Trevor Sinclair, but his looping half-volley cannot beat Shay Given.

40min - Play stops so Jean Alain Boumsong can receive treatment. In that time, Joey Barton clearly says something that referee Chris Foy takes exception to, and the City midfielder is booked.

38min - CITY GOAL (2-0): City win a right-wing corner that United clear for a throw-in on the opposite flank. It is played to Kiki Musampa who in turn feeds Darius Vassell inside the Magpies box. The striker takes it on a stride and then stands up a super cross for Andy Cole, who evades his markers and guides a downward header past the right-hand of a diving Shay Given to score against his old club.

37min - Newcastle have a little spell of pressure buzzing around the City box, but they cannot find a breakthrough. The move finally ends when Peter Ramage crosses from the right and David James makes the catch.

33min - Titus Bramble launches into another challenge, but this time he earns a booking for his troubles as he cleans out Albert Riera near the corner flag on City's left flank. Joey Barton swings over the resulting free-kick that Shay Given takes off the head of Richard Dunne.

31min - City are controlling the game, and a nicely-weighted pass by Sun Jihai sees Andy Cole pick up the ball unmarked in the inside left channel. He tries to sweep the ball across the penalty area for strike partner Darius Vassell, but a sliding Titus Bramble is at full stretch to cut out the danger.

30min - The hosts launch another raid down the right, but when Albert Riera's cross is only half-cleared by Titus Bramble, the ball drops for Stephen Jordan who fires an angled drive wide across goal.

29min - A slick break by City sees Andy Cole touch the ball into the feet of Joey Barton, who in turn sends it forward for Darius Vassell to chase. The England international twists and turns Jean Alain Boumsong, but his final shot is well dealt with by Shay Given.

22min - Joey Barton picks up the ball in the centre circle and fires it out wide to the left flank where Darius Vassell has pulled away from his marker Titus Bramble. The striker comes back inside and works space for a shot off the United centre-back but he drags his 20-yard effort well wide of Shay Given's near post.

19min - Newcastle win a corner when Richard Dunne makes a timely challenge to deny Michael Chopra at the near post as he tries to reach a low left-wing centre from Charles N'Zogbia. The flag-kick, however, comes to nothing.

14min - CITY GOAL (1-0): Albert Riera starts and finishes a move that puts the hosts in front. The Spaniard hits a wayward crossfield pass that Trevor Sinclair does well to retrieve on the right flank. It is worked to Joey Barton - who has been jeered by home fans from the first whistle - and though his cross is missed by the wild swing of Andy Cole, it drops to Riera on the edge of the United box and he strikes a sweet left-foot effort beyond Shay Given.

12min - Alan Shearer leads a counter-attack for Newcastle that comes to an end when Emre blazes over from 25 yards. The move begins thanks to a superb tackle by Scott Parker in front of his own penalty box just as Kiki Musampa shapes to shoot.

10min - A clever turn by Emre in the centre of the City half sees the Turk then push the ball forward into the path of Michael Chopra, but the striker is outmuscled by former Magpie Sylvain Distin.

9min - A good first contribution by Jean Alain Boumsong as he outpaces Darius Vassell in the race to an Andy Cole headed flick and then wins a throw-in off the City forward.

5min - Newcastle get their first chance to trouble David James when Stephen Jordan flattens Alan Shearer on the edge of the home penalty area when challenging for a high ball and concedes a free-kick. Emre comes across to the right to take the kick, but it's straight at the City keeper.

2min - Manchester City launch the game's first attack with a right-wing burst from Trevor Sinclair, but his cross into the Newcastle penalty area is headed clear by Titus Bramble.

Newcastle, wearing their traditional black and white stripes, begin the game defending the end at which the travelling support is housed.


CHARLES N'Zogbia and Emre were both recalled to the starting line up for Newcastle's game with Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium.

N'Zogbia replaced Shola Ameobi on the left side of midfield, while Emre made his first start since the Carling Cup defeat at Wigan in November with Nobby Solano dropping down to the bench.

City boss Stuart Pearce included Joey Barton in his side despite the midfielder slapping in a shock transfer request earlier this week, while there were two familiar faces in the shape of Magpies old boys Sylvain Distin and Andy Cole.

Pearce's new signing Georgios Samaras, who appeared against Newcastle for Heerenveen in the UEFA Cup last season, was among the City substitutes.


Manchester City: David James, Stephen Jordan, Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne, Jihai Sun, Albert Riera, Kiki Musampa, Joey Barton (Micah Richards 78m), Trevor Sinclair, Andy Cole (Georgios Samaras 65m), Darius Vassell.
Subs not used: Stephen Ireland, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean Alain Boumsong, Titus Bramble, Celestine Babayaro, Lee Clark, Scott Parker, Emre (Alan O'Brien 81m), Charles N'Zogbia (Nobby Solano 45m), Alan Shearer, Michael Chopra (Albert Luque 45m).
Subs not used: Robbie Elliott, Steve Harper.

Referee: Chris Foy.
Attendance: 42,413.

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