Daniel Bogdanovic (84mins)
Martin Petrov (87mins)
- Match reports
- 01 August 2009 17:12
- Posted by Chris Bailey
City avoided the chop at Barnsley thanks to Martin Petrov’s late equaliser.
The Bulgarian substitute side footed home from barely a yard after Craig Bellamy flashed a shot across the face of goal three minutes from time.
His effort cancelled out the home side’s opener from Tykes’ replacement Daniel Bogdanovic in the 84th minute of an entertaining contest that City dominated for long periods hitting the bar twice and forcing keeper Luke Steele into a series of fine saves.
If anyone wanted a graphic illustration of the revolution taking place at City then this visit to Barnsley provided all the evidence necessary.
A year and a day ago City fans trekked across the Pennines to Oakwell to watch the start of what proved to be a lengthy and entertaining Uefa Cup campaign.
The opposition from the Faroe Islands was summarily dismissed 2-0 that summer evening and so have seven of the starting eleven from the win over Streymur.
Gone permanently are Vedran Corluka, Michael Ball, Gelson Fernandes, Elano, Darius Vassell, and Daniel Sturridge whilst Joe Hart has exited on loan.
Micah Richards, Richard Dunne, Michael Johnson and Martin Petrov are the survivors and only the first named of that quartet was on view from the start of this contest. It is a decent discussion point as to how many of the four Blues followers will see on a regular basis in this season’s assault on the Premier League.
After chopping and changing during the course of the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa which ended in a disappointing final defeat to the Kaizer Chiefs and only one goal being scored in the three matches, boss Mark Hughes unleashed a strong formation against the Championship side that begins its league campaign at neighbours Sheffield Wednesday next weekend.
Although summer additions Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz were left on the Red Rose side of the border to continue with their fitness programmes, a smattering of the big money buys made the trip to Oakwell. Kolo Toure was handed his debut in a 4-4-2 formation that utilised Nigel de Jong and Stevie Ireland in the middle and Manu Adebayor and Craig Bellamy as the forward duo.
Richard Dunne (knee) and Wayne Bridge (resting) joined Vincent Kompany (toe), Tevez, RSC and Gareth Barry (foot) on the sidelines.
Robinho, though, was in full cry and a couple of mesmerising stopovers in the seventh minute left Bobby Hassell wearing a look that matched his surname though Luke Steele in the home goal palmed away the final shot from a tight angle.
There ensued a period of shooting practice for the Premier League side. Bellamy had one effort blocked for a corner and Robinho was off the radar with a second stab.
Former City ace Jon Macken twice went close for the home side but Shay Given was nowhere near as busy as his opposite number Steele who pulled off another fine block to his left to deny Bellamy and then an even better stop to deflect an Adebayor follow up that looked net bound.
Given’s hands were warmed for the first time six minutes from the interval by Jacob Butterfield and having at last come out of their attacking shell The Tykes went mightily close to a half time lead when Butterfield curled a beauty from eighteen yards against the bar.
Adebayor’s second half effort that kissed the same section of woodwork was less spectacular – and he somehow missed the rebound – then Robinho also tested the frame of the goal with a curling effort with the outside of his foot.
Toure’s afternoon ended early when he limped from the fray twenty minutes into the second half but the injury is not thought to be serious and the two sides continued to trade blows without finding the net.
Bellamy hit the side-netting when clean through after a high speed break in the 75th minute then Ireland curled his effort over the bar and Bellamy almost atoned for his miss with a delightful free kick clawed out of the top corner by Steele.
The Blues were, however, hit with a sucker punch six minutes from time when sub Bogdanovic took advantage of some sleepy defending to fire a superbly hit low shot beyond Given’s right hand. Petrov’s late strike prevented the Premier League side’s blushes.