1-1 Vassell 26, 2-1 Barton 45, 3-1 Beasley 70
0-1 Jones 23
- Match reports
- Sun 28 Jan 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
Stuart Pearce made three changes to the side that lost last weekend to Blackburn. Joey Barton returned from suspension in place of Trevor Sinclair, himself suspended, while Georgios Samaras and DaMarcus Beasley earned places in the starting XI.
New loan signing Djamel Abdoun had done enough to impress the boss and was handed a place amongst the substitutes.
Former City youngster Bradley Wright-Phillips returned to CoMS today, but had to be content with a place on the bench.
With names like Pele, Wright, Wright-Phillips and Dyer amongst the Saints squad City could be in for a tough test this afternoon...luckily it's not the most famous versions of those names, but the £10m-rated Gareth Bale starts for the Championship side.
There was a lively atmosphere early on and the team responded by going straight at the Saints. With a fully fit Trabelsi down the right and the nippy Beasley on the opposite flank along with Vassell and Samaras in attack, the Blues looked to have plenty of pace to trouble Southampton.
Bale's first action was to worry Trabelsi into giving away a free kick on the left wing after 10 minutes. The Welsh star picked himself up to deliver a dangerous ball in with his much talked about left foot, but luckily enough for the Blues nothing came from it.
On 14 minutes David McGoldrick produced the first real chance of the game. His tame 25-yard shot bounced up and Nick Weaver had to scoop the ball over his crossbar with a fine save. George Burley's men had started to get settled at SportCity.
City created a chance themselves on 22 minutes after fine play from Stevie Ireland saw him slip a through-ball into Georgios Samaras' path. The Greek striker just couldn't make a connection and how it was to prove costly less than a minute later.
The resulting clearance from Davis found its way through to Kenwyne Jones and with Weaver rushing out of his area, the Trinidad and Tobago hitman lifted the ball over him and with one bounce it was in the net. The travelling Saints fans went wild and while the City fans were left scratching their heads at what had just happened.
The Blues needed a swift reply and got it when Hatem Trabelsi beat Bale to the ball which fell to Darius Vassell, and back-to-goal he spun and turned the ball home to restore parity after 26 minutes.
The goal spurred City on and twice they could have took the lead. Firstly, a Samaras header landed on the roof of the net from a Barton cross. Minutes later the favour was returned as the Greek fed a low ball in for Barton, but his goalbound touch was cleared to safety. A cup-tie had broken out at CoMS.
Three minutes before the break City worked a good opening with neat play from Ireland and Dabo. The Frenchman dinked a ball over the top for Barton, but the England hopeful couldn't hold off Saints captain Baird and get a shot in on goal.
A second booking of the game came on 43 minutes as Vassell was carded for a typical dogged Darius challenge.
With City pressing to get the lead just before the break, more trickery from Stephen Ireland presented Joey Barton with the chance to do so...he didn't disappoint with a beautiful left foot finish into the top corner. In stoppage time the Blues had done it!
City slightly edge the first half in terms of goals and play to go in at the break 2-1 up.
HALF TIME: City 2-1 Southampton
No changes at the break for either side, but Bradley Wright-Phillips had warmed up with a good reception from the home crowd, so maybe a taste of what might come in the second half.
Kenwyne Jones was proving a handful and his cross gave the Saints their first chance of the second half nine minutes in. The in-form Rasiak was waiting to tap home but a great intervention from Sylvain Distin prevented the Pole grabbing his 20th goal of the season.
Jones himself picked up the third booking of the day, a rash challenge on Dunne as he mopped up forced Mr Clattenburg back into his pocket.
City's first opening of the half came from a good Trabelsi break and his ball to Samaras gave the Greek a sight of goal, unfortunately his shot clipped a Saints man on the way through and went out for a corner.
With Southampton having to come out for an equaliser, the chance of a City third from a break looked increasingly likely.
Burley responded with a double substitution, introducing Licka and Wright-Phillips with just over 25 minutes left to play.
But it didn't matter, as City got that third goal with 20 minutes to go thanks to DaMarcus Beasley. Davis made an ill-judged decision to come out after a ball over from the right and the USA international beat the keeper to the ball before calmly walking the ball into the net.
Pearce made his first change with 13 minutes to go as Ishmael Miller replaced Georgios Samaras. At this point a fourth for City was the more likely outcome rather than having to go through a nervy last 10 minutes.
Didi Hamann came on for the industrious Barton with four minutes left as City looked to close the game down. Minutes later Pearce made his final change and gave young Djamel Abdoun his first taste of a game at SportCity as the Blues eased to victory.
Miller could have made it four in stoppage time, but his header was palmed onto the bar by Davis, it didn't matter as the whistle went straight from the resulting corner.
City are in the hat for tomorrow's draw and we'll bring you the latest news on that here on mcfc.co.uk tomorrow afternoon.
FULL TIME: City 3-1 Southampton