1-0 (Dunne 23)
- Match reports
- Mon 30 Oct 2006, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
City had the best of large parts of the game, with Richard Dunne's first half header from a Barton corner giving the Blues a deserved lead before the break. No visiting team has scored at the City of Manchester Stadium so far this season, but it was mighty close near the end as Maccarone rattled the same post twice in the dying minutes
The City side showed several changes from the one that lost at Wigan. Sylvain Distin shook off his injury and replaced Matthew Mills, Micah Richards returned to right back.
Ben Thatcher came straight back in following the end of his suspension to replace Stephen Jordan. Claudio Reyna was in for Dietmar Hamann, Paul Dickov came in for Corradi to partner Georgios Samaras, and DaMarcus Beasley made his first start on the left wing in place of young Michael Johnson.
The opening 20 minutes were quiet, but the first notable incident came when Paul Dickov ran on to a Barton through ball. Boro keeper Schwarzer raced towards the City striker, who flicked the ball over the Australian before going heavily to the floor. The ball rolled agonisingly wide of the post, and Dickov looked hurt but thankfully was back on his feet after treatment.
But the game burst into life two minutes later when City took the lead. Barton swung in a corner from the right, and after racing in from the edge of the box Richard Dunne rose to head the ball powerfully into the top corner of the net. It was a sweet moment for the skipper after his own goal at the JJB.
The goal clearly lifted both the home crowd and City, who now took the upper hand, with a Barton shot from just outside the box flying a yard wide on 35 minutes.
Reyna was next to chance his arm from distance, following good work from Samaras and Sinclair, but the American’s attempt was over Schwarzer’s bar.
Sinclair drifted into the box with just over a minute to go to the break, his header from Thatcher’s cross going over the corner of the post and bar.
Half time City 1-0 Boro
City had the best of it after the break, with Samaras having a good shooting opportunity, but the game became testy around the hour mark with a rash of bookings on both sides.
Boro replacement Morrison got to the bye line on 66 but Micah Richards intercepted his dangerous cross. A minute later Paul Dickov went close when he flung himself at a Barton cross from close range, but the ball went straight into Schwarzer's arms.
Nick Weaver had hardly been called upon all night until he palmed away a rebound on 70 minutes after he had stretched to reach a cross, denying the lurking Euell and Yakubu.
Thatcher broke out of defence with 12 minutes to go, but referee Webb did not give the decision City’s way when Samaras looked to be pulled back after running onto the left back’s pass.
Boro looked briefly threatening when Huth threw himself towards a cross with five minutes left, but the ball flew a long way over the bar.
But the visitors went even closer with 87 minutes on the clock, Massimo Maccarone controlling a long pass with his right foot and shooting with his left from just over six yards out. The Italian’s shot beat Weaver but hit the post and rebounded to safety to huge relief from the home fans.
Darius Vassell then had two glorious chances to seal the game as time ran out, going well wide with the outside of his right boot, then over the bar a minute later with an even better opportunity.
The dramatic finalé had another twist as the game entered stoppage time, Maccarone again rattling Weaver’s right post with a shot that had City’s keeper beaten.
Boro could scarcely believe their bad luck, and a grateful City kept possession well in the last few minutes to give them a much-needed win. Still no goals conceded at the City of Manchester Stadium this season.