Adam Johnson climbed off the substitute’s bench to score the winner and send the Blues into second place in the Premier League after a 2-1 win over Newcastle United.
In what was a difficult afternoon for the Blues, Carlos Tevez put City ahead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes, but the visitors levelled shortly after and generally made life difficult for Roberto Mancini’s team throughout.
The torrential overnight rain seemed to have dampened the enthusiasm of both sets of supporters for the opening 15 minutes or so, but in an incident-packed first half, the home and visiting fans soon had plenty to shout about.
Nigel de Jong set the tone for the afternoon with a crunching challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa after just three minutes, resulting in the Magpies’ play-maker being stretchered off with a suspected broken leg. The challenge was clumsy rather than malicious and the player received an ovation from all sides of the ground as he was taken to a waiting ambulance.
With neither side taking control of the game, City were gifted the chance of taking the initiative on 17 minutes when Tevez was put clean through on goal, but appeared to be hauled down by Mike Williamson as he closed in on goal.
Replays suggested the Newcastle man was unlucky to be penalised after appearing to touch the ball before Tevez, but Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot and the City skipper duly dispatched the penalty with a powerful shot that almost lifted the goals out of their fixings!
James Milner should have set Tevez up for a second four minutes later, but his cross on the break only found a defender with the Argentine striker waiting unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
Newcastle very nearly levelled on 24 minutes when Coloccini’s smart volley forced Joe Hart into a fine save, but within 60 seconds, they did equalise when Jonas Gutierrez followed up his own shot to collect a loose ball and smash a powerful shot in off the bar giving Hart no chance.
Gareth Barry was put clear on 36 minutes but as he neared goal, he seemed caught in two minds and he neither shot nor found Tevez and the chance went begging. The visitors ended the half – which saw five players booked - in the ascendency with the Blues looking strangely muted in all areas of the pitch.
The second period was always going to struggle to compete with such an event-filled first 45 minutes and the opening 20 minutes were largely uneventful, with the Blues prodding every now and then with only a Tevez shot that was well saved by Krul before the hour worthy of note.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Adam Johnson that the game exploded into life again. The England winger replaced Barry and just two minutes later he put the Blues back in front. Picking the ball up on the right, he jinked inside two challenges before unleashing a rasping low drive into the bottom left-hand corner.
Newcastle refused to lie down and should have had a penalty on 77 minutes when Joleon Lescott clearly brought down Shola Ameobi but the referee waved vehement appeals away. Then Williamson headed inches over from a corner as City continued to look uncharacteristically edgy at the back, but ultimately hung on for three points.