FA Cup Third Round
Saturday 3 January, 2009, 15:00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Dunne (c), Richards, Ball, Kompany, Wright-Phillips (Vassell 24), Elano, Gelson (Hamann 60), Sturridge, Caicedo (Jo 70)
Unused: Schmeichel, Garrido, Berti, Clayton
City Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany
City unveiled their new signing, Wayne Bridge, before kick off and the home fans were in a confident mood. But given some of City’s recent performances, 8,000 away fans, no Stephen Ireland or Robinho and a Forest team with a new manager in the stands, an upset was always on the cards.
Forest had the first chance of the game, with Nathan Tyson crossed from the left and finding Lewis McGugan free inside the six yard box. Luckily for City, he headed wide.
Sturridge then forced Paul Smith into a comfortable save with a header from an Elano corner on 11 minutes, before the Forest defence cleared.
With 24 minutes on the clock, Shaun Wright-Phillips’s match was ended, when he pulled up with a hamstring injury. Darius Vassell came on to replace him.
On 37 minutes, Daniel Sturridge came closest to opening the scoring, when Darius Vassell kept the ball in play inside the area and knocked it back to the youngster, whose turn and shot forced Paul Smith into conceding a corner.
Less than a minute later, Forest had the lead. Richards could only nod a header out to the edge of the box where Nathan Tyson was waiting. He volleyed it back in, straight past the defence and straight past Joe Hart into the bottom corner.
And things got worse for the home side just before half time, when Pablo Zabaleta was caught in possession by the right side of his box and the ball was squared to Matt Thornhill. His shot was skewed well off target, but it was diverted into the net by Robert Earnshaw, who was just onside.
City were out early for the second half and it was them who began to press.
Kompany’s terrific run made sure the ball found its way to Caicedo on the edge of the box, who turned and shot, forcing Smith into a good save.
Caicedo then had a better effort towards the top left corner of the goal, but Smith bettered himself as well, touching the ball over the bar for a corner.
City were lucky not to be 0-3 down, when Paul Anderson sped past Dunne on the break, but his shot bobbled well wide of Joe Hart’s far post.
Richard Dunne tried to spur City on when he rode two tackles before breaking down the left flank. He then skipped past a third tackle, before cutting inside and squaring for Vassell. With the crowd baying for him to shoot, he held it up before finding Elano, whose low cross was put behind for another City corner.
With 15 minutes to go, Forest rapped the game up and secured their place in the round four draw, when Dietmar Hamann took a poor throw-in from the left. The ball didn’t reach Dunne and Joe Garner nipped in and scored with his first touch.
City played out the final few minutes as a beaten side and Forest could well have made it four. 0-3 was perhaps a little harsh on City, but Forest fully deserved their victory. Mark Hughes will have a lot of work to do to strengthen this team, with only a few of the regular first team rested.