Manchester City 2 Newcastle 1

Barclay’s English Premiership
Wednesday 28 January 2009, 19:45 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Zabaleta (Gelson 81), de Jong (Elano 77), Ireland, Wright-Phillips (Caicedo 90), Robinho, Bellamy
Unused: Schmeichel, Vassell, Garrido
Goals: Wright-Phillips (16), Bellamy (76)
Booked: Wright-Phillips
City Man of the Match: Craig Bellamy

Guest report by Andrew Gartside

A debut goal from Craig Bellamy proved to be the difference at the City of Manchester stadium as Manchester City beat Newcastle United 2-1.

A first half strike from Shaun Wright Phillips, followed by Craig Bellamy’s first goal in a blue shirt was enough to see off a tame Newcastle side, but a late goal from Andy Carroll left the home fans on the edge of their seats.

City, fielding their two new January recruits, Nigel de Jong and Craig Bellamy, showed their intentions from the off as they dominated the first half with Newcastle finding it increasingly difficult to even get out of their own half.

Despite the dominance, City failed to create many clear cut chances. But their first real opportunity of the game came after 17 minutes and it resulted in them taking the lead.

A low cross from Wayne Bridge on the left hand side went behind everybody, until it fell to Robinho on the edge of the box. With his back to goal, the Brazilian took one touch to control and as he swivelled played a sublime through ball in-between the two centre backs to put through Shaun Wright Phillips. From the edge of the six yard box, the tricky winger slotted it calmly through the legs of the onrushing Steve Harper, to give City a well deserved lead at the break.

Newcastle came out for the second half with more purpose about them after their woeful first half performance and began to create a few half chances. The visitors then had a credible penalty claim waved by midway through the second half, as Micah Richards was caught out in the box positioning himself on the wrong side of Steven Taylor, who, from five yards, out was seemingly wrestled to the ground.

It was City who scored next, though, making it two on 77 minutes. A long ball from stand-in captain Vincent Kompany out to the right wing was nicely chested on by Shaun Wright Phillips to Pablo Zabaleta, who took it in his stride. The Argentine then cut it back to Bellamy on the edge of the box and City’s new signing controlled with his right foot before spinning and expertly finishing with his left into the bottom right corner with Harper left standing.

Within minutes of the restart, and with the game seemingly put to bed, Newcastle threw themselves a late lifeline after a Wayne Bridge gift. A long, hopeful ball down City’s flank looked to have been dealt with by the otherwise solid left back, but instead of putting the ball out of play, Bridge tried to turn and bring it out himself. But David Edgar read his intentions and nicked the ball from him inside the area, and a simple ball straight across the box left Joe Hart no chance and presented Andy Carroll with a tap in.

It had to be expected, as experienced City fans know the club loves to regularly cause some tension amongst their fans for the final few minutes.

Newcastle pushed for the equaliser in an attempt to gain an unlikely point, but City had it under complete control and could even have made it 3 when substitute Felipe Caicedo, on for the injured Wright-Phillips, was put clean through but chose to cut back instead of taking the ball on and allowed Newcastle to clear the danger.

But the score remained 2-1, leaving City four games unbeaten and up to ninth in the table. Mark Hughes will have been happy with the performance, but perhaps disappointed the scoreline wasn’t bigger.

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