CITY 1 MIDDLESBROUGH 0
FA Barclays Premiership
30th October 2006
City Weaver, Distin, Dunne, Richards, Thatcher, Reyna, Barton, Beasley, Sinclair, Samaras, Dickov – Subs Vassell(71), Corradi(85), Hart(unused), Trabelsi(81), Hamann(unused)
Middlesbrough Schwarzer, Parnaby, Huth, Woodgate, Pogatetz, Cattermole, Boateng, Rochemback, Downing, Euell, Yakubu – subs Bates(22), Morrison(66), Maccarone(74), Turnball(unused), Arca(unused)
WHAT THE PRESS SAID
PEARCE LIFT AS CITY GET IT DUNNE AT LAST
Richard Dunne emerged from one of the worst weeks of has career to score the wmmng goal and ease the pressure on under-fire Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce. Dunne was the fall guy in Citys 4-0 defeat at Wigan nine days earlier scoring an own goal before Pearce singled out his captain for criticism, But last night Dunne atoned by leading from the front and scoring with a header as Citys players provided Pearce and their fans with the perfect response following their mauling at the JJB Stadium.
Pearce described City’s drubbing at Wigan as his worst experience as a manager and another defeat would have nudged him further towards the exit door. A public attack from City chairman John Wardle increased the pressure on Pearce but his players produced a disciplined and passionate display, combined with two huge slices of luck, to win and climb to 13th in the Premiership. Middlesbrough substitute Massimo Maocarone twice hit the same post in the dying moments as City seemed determined to throw away victory with some typically Slack defending.
The four minutes of added time must have seemed like an eternity to Pearce, who went through his full repertoire of theatrics on the touchline, throwing a water bottle down in disgust and going berserk at his side`s failure to take the ball to the corner flag. Ultimately Dunne‘s 23rd minute goal was enough, along with a fifth successive clean sheet at home this season, to give Pearce’s side victory.
While City cannot win on their travels, their home form is providing them with some respite. Middlesbrough were dreadful and never looked remotely like making it a, hat-trick of Premiership victories following wins over Everton and Newcastle.
Ben Thatcher`s recall to the City lineup following his eight-match ban for a brutal forearm assault on Portsmouth’s Pedro Mendes ensured the focus was not solely on Pearce. But Thatcher was a. model of restraint throughout, the former Wales defender evading controversy with a disciplined and impressive performance which showed he can defend with passion without resorting to thuggery.
While there was a recall for Thatcher the axe fell on Beanie the horse. the fluffy toy Pearce’s seven year old daughter Chelsea had given to her father as a mascot. Beanie had proved his worth in the win over West Ham and draw at Everton but the defeat at Wigan meant Pearce dispensed with the cuddly toy”s services.
Yet City had no need for mascots or lucky charms. Dunne set them on their way. to victory with a powerful header from Joey Barton‘s corner, The Republic of Ireland international rose above Lee Cattermole to power the ball into the net.
City hung on to their Slender lead throughout a second half in which they continually Iost possession when going forward, inviting the late scare of Maccarone’s double strikes against the woodwork.
DAVID MCDONNELL WRITING FOR THE DAILY MIRROR 31ST OCTOBER 2006