BLACKBURN ROVERS 2 CITY 0
FA Cup 6th Round
11th March 2007
Scorers Mokoena(27), Derbyshire(90)
City Weaver, Distin, Dunne, Sun, Richards, Barton, Hamann, Ireland, Ball, Vassell, Corradi – Subs Beasley(57), Mpenza(81), Isaksson(unused), Samaras(76), Trabelsi(unused)
Blackburn Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelson, Warnock, Bently, Mokoena, Tugay, Pedersen, Derbyshire, McCarthy subs Khizanishvili(45), Peter(81), Enckelman(unused), Gallagher(unused), Roberts(85)
WHAT THE PRESS SAID
PEARCE FACING THE AXE AS ROVERS SMASH POOR CITY
It doesn’t get any worse than this and Stuart Pearce knows It. His unique fighting spirit may l have been the hallmark of his career as a player, but surviving as Manchester City boss is one battle he is now destined to lose.
The City board assured Pearce that his job was not under imminent threat. but the manner of this defeat, and the merciless backlash from the fans against him and his players, means it is only a matter of time before he is relieved of his duties. Before this spineless loss. the word from City was that Pearce would be safe at least until next weekends clash with Middlesbrough
ntil next weekends clash with Middlesbrough. given that defeat at home to Chelsea on Wednesday is anticipated and would hardly constitute a major shock.
But it is surely only a matter of time before action is taken, City are now out of the FA Cup and could find themselves playing Championship football next season if the current malaise under Pearce is allowed to continue any longer.
If he manages to survive until the weekend, a win at Middlesbrough may prolong Pearces time in charge, but on current form that looks extremely unlikely. For it is now a matter of when, not if, he is sacked.
Yesterday marked the second anniversary of Pearce’s time in charge. during which he has taken the club backwards at a greater rate than his predecessor Kevin Keegan, something their long-suffering fans surely thought was impossible.
The emotion of it all became too much for one City fan. who broke past security and sprinted towards the technical area to berate Pearce? who stood emotionless as his accuser was wrestled to the ground by stewards and led away.
Chants of “You‘re not fit to wear the shirt” and “What the F*** is going on” rained down from City fans at. the final whistle.
…On the eve of the game City skipper Richard Dunne had criticised the lack of desire from the club’s foreign signings. And with Pearce fighting for his job, this was not an occasion for those of questionable attitude. So Pearce chose to field a side with a spine of seven British players, while the foreign flops were consigned to the bench. But the home-grown players proved just as ineffective.
…Predictably enough there was little quality. but plenty of ill-feeling and late tackles.
Joey Barton took Dunne`s call for more commitment too literally early on, subjecting Tugay to a malevolent stamp similar to the one he inflicted on Portsmoutbs Pedro Mendes which caused such outrage a month ago.
Given the scrappy nature of the game it was entirely appropriate that the opening goal after 28 minutes was an ugly affair, its only virtue being the assured finish from scorer Aaron Mokoena, who had waited 79 games to find the back of the net for Rovers.
When Morten Gamst Pedersen crossed from the left. there seemed little danger. But City failed to clear the ball and it fell at the feet of Mokoena, who drilled it across Nicky Weaver and into the net.
The goal drained City of what little endeavour and iight they had shown up until that point, and Pearce*s side played just as they have for most of the season, with no conviction and absolutely no goal threat.
The closest City came to scoring was in the 56th minute when Bernardo Corradi volleyed wide with a first time effort after Michael Ball and Stephen Ireland had linked up well to provide the Italian striker with the opening.
Over 90 minutes City did not manage a single shot on target, another shocking statistic which will contribute to the sealing of Pearce’s miserable fate,
The belligerent nature of the contest continued as the yellow card count rose to eight in the second-half. culminating with Mokoena`s 69th-minute dismissal for a second caution following an indefensible rugby tackle on Corradi.
Being presented with a one man advantage should have been the incentive for City to get back on level terms but the desperation in their play ultimately saw their own fans turn against them, just at the point where their support was imperative.
And when Matt Derbyshire swept the ball into the net to make it 2-0 in added time, City’s loyal followers could contain their anger no longer and unleashed their fierce venom on Pearce and his beleaguered players.
DAVID MCDONNELL WRITING FOR THE MIRROR 12TH MARCH 2007