Manchester City v Birmingham 2001/02 Worthington Cup 3rd Round

birmingham home worthy cup 2001 to 02 prog


Worthington Cup 3rd Round

10th October 2001

Attendance 13,112

scorers Huckerby(10, 25, 81 & 89), Luntala(o.g. 15), Goater(54)

City Weaver, Wiekens, Pearce, Howey, Dunne, Etuhu, Benarbia, Tiatto, Granville, Goater, Huckerby – subs Wright-Phillips(75), Horlock(unused), Mettomo(61), Nash(unused), Berkovic(61)
Birmingham Vaessen, Eaden, Holdsworth, M Johnson, Burrows, Luntala, Sonner, Woodhouse, Grainger, Horsfield, A Johnson – sub Marcelo(45), O’Connor(63), Lazaridis(45), Hutchinson(unused), Barnes(unused)
birmingham home league cup 2001 to 02 huckerby 6th goal
Darren Huckerby scores City’s sixth and final goal
birmingham home league cup 2001 to 02 huckerby b 6th goal
 birmingham home 2001 to 02 worthy cup huckerby first goal
What The Press Said
SO now we know, Manchester City have the depth of character to match their charm and charisma.
The Blues’ bottle had been called into question in some quarters after a pair of tepid and tame collapses at the hands of West Brom and Wimbledon.
It was the 4-0 home capitulation to the Dons that most stuck in the craw, coming as it did after a glittering pair of wide-margin wins over Walsall and Sheffield Wednesday
Boss Kevin Keegan took that Maine Road defeat as a personal affront and challenged his players not to repeat it in this Worthington Cup tie. He even gave the same 11 the chance to exorcise their own demons, and it proved a master stroke for the impressive margin of victory did not flatter a home side which could have notched double figures.
And no one benefitted more from the huge vote of confidence than Darren Huckerby
The flying front man was transformed from anonymous bystander into an unstoppable cyclone, ripping Birmingham to shreds with his blistering pace and bagging four goals in one game for the first time in his career.
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Huckerby’s shining confidence grew with every fresh touch to the point where if the scared rabbits in Birmingham’s defence had retreated any further they would all have been sat in the stand.
Mind you, for all the protection they gave poor Nico Vaesen in goal the Midlanders’ defenders might as well have filled a few of the many empty seats.
That there were only 14,000 paying witnesses was a shame, for the stayaways missed a dazzling display of power and panache from the Blues of Manchester.
For once Algerian Ali Benarbia, who made such a dramatic debut in the league game between these two sides, was overshadowed – although that wasn’t quite the case early on as he quickly weaved his own brand of magic over a soggy, echoing Maine Road.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite find the finish to go with his artistry. His best chance in a busy, bristling opening came in the fourth minute when he failed to generate enough power to convert a six-yard header after Nico Vaesen had contrived to spill Danny Granville’s left-flank cross.
Benarbia, who would be forgiven a dozen such misses in a match such is his popularity with the home fans was still berating himself when Keegan’s side took the lead. The goal came in the 10th minute from Darren Huckerby, who quickly justified his manager’s faith by sliding home a left-foot drive from 12 yards.
While Huckerby took the plaudits, it was Shaun Goater who deserved an equal pat on the back after displaying persistence and then perception tion to catch the visitors’ defence flatfooted. When City score once at home, it is normal for them to notch a second pretty quickly and they stuck rigidly to the same formula three minutes later.
This time both Huckerby and Goater were involved in the build-up as Tiatto hared down the left flank.
The Aussie looked to have overrun the opportunity when he finally delivered an offbalance cross, but Tresor Luntala got the first deflection and Vaesen the second as the ball somehow ended up in the net.
In September’s league game, City were three up by the interval and it was a case of deja vu in the 25th minute when Huckerby, again using his left foot, collected Benarbia’s clever, instinctive pass and drilled a shot under the diving Birmingham keeper. It was a goal that prompted what must
be the earliest ever walkout of Maine Road by visiting supporters and left Birmingham’s fedup fans wondering when under-fire manager Trevor Francis will follow suit. The hardy pocket of Midlanders
that stayed to watch the torture unfold showed that they had not lost their sense of humour when they gave Andrew Johnson a standing ovation for producing his side’s first shot, albeit a tame one straight at Weaver, in the 39th minute.
birmingham home league cup 2001 to 02 action
How they must have envied the home side their firepower, which was soon to the fore in the second period as Goater reached 13 for the season in the 53rd minute.
It was probably the easiest of the whole lot – a six-yard tap in.
He had Huckerby to thank for the final pass and Tiatto and Etuhu to acknowledge after their tenacity had unsettled Francis’s side.
The rest of the game was little more than an exhibition as bewildered Birmingham chased shadows all over the the verdant green of Maine Road.
Keegan also proved that it is possible to accommodate both Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic in the same side.
The only disappointment would have been had Huckerby not completed the hat-trick, but thankfully he managed to achieve that feat nine minutes from time when he collected a cute header from Goater and drove the ball underneath the shell-shocked Vaesen.
And he topped off a great night for himself and his team in the last minute when Shaun-Wright Phillips’ sublime pass allowed him to round Vaesen and make it six of the best.
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