Match Report vs MAN CITY

Sat 3 May 1997 (League)

Att: 27,000

The last league game of the season! (sniff!)

Report comes to you from Phil Newton:

Sunshine, big stadium full of 27'000 Mancs (well, a few hundred of us as well) last game of the season and a carnival atmosphere. The team lined up was positive: Nev and Byron retained, Meaker strutting his stuff down the left, Williams falling over on the right and Ben Smith on the bench. All we needed was the perfect start, and from the kick off the ball went to Meakon, who skipped past a couple of mancs probably still recovering from a heavy night in the Oasis suite, beats another on the edge of the area and fires in a great shot that obviously would have gone in anyway but nobody was complaining about the monster deflection that looped it over the goalie (whom wasn't Tommy Wright, shame) 57 seconds........... YES!

That gave the R's a bit of confidence and they played well, passing it about patiently and with an attacking outlet with a bit of PACE, yup, our Nev looks business, his first touch was superb, and with a bit of experience he'll be able to beat the offside trap and latch nicely onto the long passes that Williams was sending down the line when he could stand up for long enough. A few free kicks on the edge of the area were thankfully left to Caskey despite Bodin chewing carrots menacingly nearby, and they were all suprisingly close, but all wide. We were looking tasty from set pieces how ever, especially with Blatherwick the Man Mountain looming large at the far post. After some nifty jinxing down the right Glasgow was kicked up in the air by a manc and from the resulting "even better than a corner" type free kick the ball was bundled in after the keeper failed to hold a header. Blatherwick went dancing up the pitch like a cure for baldness had just been discovered, but all the papers gave it as an OG, awwww, can we give it to him anyway? He had a great game and certainly looks like a bargain at ?200,000, with Hunter fit we'd have at least three great centre backs and then maybe we could take Bodins knees and fit them to Dariusz to solve our "sit in front of the back 3 like wot Geordie used to do" problem (Assuming Sir Jimmy see's sense and flogs Parkie)

Anyway, the mancs were all upset 'cos they thought Little Byron dived, and they were even more upset when Mr Scoreboard thought that Blatherwicks dance was worth a goal itself and promptly displayed the score as 3-0 to the R's, obviously the players were looking at it too 'cos City ran down the other end and scored, Dickov nodding in after plenty of "binging around in the area" type action up the other end. No problem, 'cos we were looking gooood, and able to create chances. Archie was actually winning balls in the air, which, wait for it..... Nev was running on to!, 2 strikers who seemed to understand each other!

A cross from the left saw Archie rise almost Quinn-like to get a good header on target which the keeper spilled to trickle agonisingly in front of goal, Nev recovered it superbly to flip it back in front of goal but everybody else had given it up for dead and was wondering back towards the half way line, even the keeper was suprised. Half time, and game over for the R's.

The mancs came out to Wonderwall having obviously got some serious midget bottom lip action from Frank Clark. They ran the second half and were it not for Minesterone we would have got wiped out, saving at the feet of both Rosler and Dickov on more than one occasion. Rosler also worringly outjumped both Macca and The Man Mountain to head an excellent cross straight at our goalkeeping hero. It wasn't long before a shot from outside the box was too powerful for said hero however, and Rosler followed up at the far post to send the manc boys into delirium, at least we finally got a different chant to the bloody Georgi Kinkladze drone, i mean, come on lads, he's gonna go, so you might as well start practising yer Nigel Clough chants while you've got a chance.

Anyway at the other end nothing much was happening, mostly 'cos Meaker was looking knackered, and thus was substituted for the completeley ineffective Nogs, whilst Ben "I used to play for Arsenal me so I'm allowed long girley hair" Smith came on for Little Byron, who had run around a lot but didn't really seem to know exactly wot he was supposed to be doing, kicking people up in the air?, jinxing? Neither did anything, and it was only a matter of time..... Free kick on the edge of the box saw our offside trap fail miserably (Bodin?) and half the mancs drew lots, had a quick fag and took it in turns to try and score, Heaney eventually succeeding.

They could have had more, the manc supporters burst into song and all the R's fans went green: End of season, mid table nothing game against, lets be honest, one of the minnows of the FIRST division and you still get 27'000 fans filling the place and all singing their hearts out, jeez, lets hope Mr Madj has a pretty tasty marketing plan worked out for his new toy (How about buy some decent players to play for a decent manager playing decent football, get promoted and the rest writes itself??), so we can get some of that, meanwhile heres to visits to The Riverside, Sunderland and Forest next season, and thank christ Grimsby went down, I ain't going there again.


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