Manchester City v Walsall 2001 to 02

 walsall home 2001 to 02 prog


Nationwide League Division 1

25th September 2001

Attendance 31,525

scorers Benarbia(24), Goater(41), Wanchope(60 pen)

City Weaver, Wiekens, Pearce, Howey, Dunne, Etuhu, Benarbia, Tiatto, Granville, Goater, Wanchope – subs Colosimo(unused), Horlock(78), Huckerby(71), Nash(unused), Shuker(71)

Walsall Harper, Chettle, Barras, Brightwell, Gadsby, Curtis, Bennett, Simpson, Aranaide, Wrack, Byfield – sub Tillson(69), Leitao(79), Matias(87), Herivelto(unused), Walker(unused)

What The Press Said


 Walsall Led A Merry Dance By Algerian Wizard Benarbia

PETER Reid will never cheer up if Ali Benarbia continues his uncanny impression of a footballing wizard.
The Algerian magician was up to his tricks again against mesmerised Walsall last night, leaving Sunderland fans to wonder how Benarbia slipped through their fingers and into Kevin Keegan’s outstretched arms at Maine Road.

walsall home 2001 to 02 action
At times so far this season, the road back to the Premiership has threatened to be of the long and winding variety but with the Algerian as a welcome travelling companion it looks like being paved with gold for Manchester City fans.
Had the Blues managed to capture his signature 12 months ago then there is a fair chance that they would still be in the top flight.walsall home 2001 to 02 action 2
There is no doubt that he has already transformed the team play galvanised individuals and made believers of the crowd – and he has only played four games!
In each of the last three of those outings he has found the back of the net and in total probably made at least eight of his side’s 12 goals. All that and Keegan swears he will be even better when fully fit. It is an awesome prospect.

walsall home 2001 to 02 action3
Not that Benarbia had things all his own way as cavalier City clocked up a fourth straight three-goal home win.
Unsung hero Gerard Wiekens, who might not have got back into the side except for the less than reliable recent time-keeping of team-mate Richard Dunne, was outstanding in snuffing out what little threat the Saddlers offered and in helping the side build impressively from the back.
In the last three seasons, the uncomplaining Wiekens has been shunted from defence to midfield and back again, seldom receiving the acclaim he deserves for a string of solid performances.

walsall home 2001 to 02 action 4
That changed last night as the Maine Road crowd recognised a thoroughly professional job by the Dutchman.
Dunne himself was not far behind in the man-of-the-match stakes. It is not easy to picture the Republic of Ireland man rampaging down the flank but he did so to some effect in the absence of the injured Richard Edghill. There was nothing wrong with his timing, either, when it came to tackling.
The big defender can infuriate managers with his laidback manner, but there is no malice whatsoever in the likeable 22-year-old who has quickly worked his way back into Keegan’s good books following last week’s soonforgotten contretemps.
Just behind Dunne in the `who did what’ stakes was Paulo Wanchope, who is quickly establishing himself as the new penalty king at Maine Road after scoring twice from the spot in as many games.walsall home 2001 to 02 action6
When Wanchope adds sweat to his skill he is a formidable force and Walsall’s massed defence will be happy they do not have to face him more than once more this season.
The Costa Rican, who is heading for the World Cup finals with his country, scored one and made the other two in what was a comprehensive team performance.
For 24 minutes, the Saddlers drew their wagons into such a tight circle that one wondered if City would ever find a way through.
Every time the Blues advanced over the half way line, there were nine or ten red shirts forming an over-crowded welcome party.
Typically, it took Benarbia to find the key to unlock the conundrum, but he had plenty of help along the way. First Dunne fired in a low cross from the right which Wanchope juggled deftly between his feet before firing in a shot that cannoned against the foot of a post.
As luck would have it, the rebound fell nicely onto Benarbia’s right foot and it was soon nestling in the back of the net, the third time in as many games he had scored City’s opener.walsall home 2001 to 02 action 5After both Wiekens and Howey had threatened to add to the tally linking up with Benarbia on storming runs from deep, the advantage was finally doubled in familiar fashion.
Four minutes from half-time, Wanchope fed Benarbia who tried to repay the compliment. Defender Tony Barras decided to intervene but only succeeded in heading the ball against Wanchope – and then watched aghast as it deflected into the path of Shaun Goater who made it 12 for the season with his left foot.
If the game wasn’t all over at that point it certainly was approaching the hour mark.
That was when Wanchope raced after Wiekens’s classy through-ball only to be upended by Steve Chettle. The striker quickly regained his composure to slide the resulting penalty into the bottom corner and take his own tally for the season to six. Thereafter it was a case of damage limitation for Walsall who didn’t offer a shot on target all evening.
City slightly irritatingly eased off allowing substitute Chris Shuker a first home appearance and cameo roles for Kevin Horlock and Darren Huckerby








 walsall home 2001 to 02 goat


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