Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 22 August 2009, 15:00 KO
City: Given, Richards, Dunne (c), Toure, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Barry, Robinho (de Jong 83), Tevez (Bellamy 72), Adebayor
Unused: Taylor, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Petrov, Weiss
Goals: Adebayor (17)
Referee: Lee Mason
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry
The match started with City looking in full control. Both Dunne and Toure were comfortable in possession and they both saw a lot of the ball, as the home side knocked it about, leaving Wolves chasing shadows.
The first chance of the game wasn’t forthcoming, as City were struggling to get that final pass through – the best opportunity being a pass towards Tevez from Adebayor that was cut out by the Wolves defence.
And in fact, it was City’s first shot of the game that put them into the lead. After a Bridge cross was flicked on by the Wolves defence, Carlos Tevez knocked down a superbly cushioned pass to Adebayor, who smashed the ball past Hennessey at his near post.
With the goal, City lifted their game. Adebayor had another chance, but Hennessey was well placed to make the save, before Robinho failed to connect properly with a shot from the edge of the box and it was comfortably saved.
Robinho was fouled whilst in full flow towards the Wolves penalty area, and the resulting free-kick was hit into the wall by Tevez. His follow-up shot from outside the box was comfortably held by the Wolves keeper.
Just before the break, Robinho tested Hennessey from the left side of the box and the Welsh keeper did well to put the shot out for a corner. A minute later, Jarvis is steaming towards the City goal and his curling effort was superbly pushed over the bar by Given.
On the stroke of half time, it should have been 2-0, when Tevez was found by Barry from the left, but his header from six yards was just wide, with Robinho sliding in to try and make contact. City’s first half dominance wasn’t really reflected in the half time scoreline.
And after the break, they could and perhaps should have been made to pay. Kevin Doyle threw himself at a cross into City’s box, but failed to connect with the ball. It was a warning shot across the home side’s bows.
On the hour mark, Stephen Ireland should have made it 2-0, after he played a neat one-two with Robinho in the box. He took a touch on the return to control, but then stabbed the ball wide of the post, when Hennessey dived towards him. Adebayor then smashed a half-volley just over the bar, after Tevez had played him in.
On 66 minutes, Adebayor had a chance to put City further ahead, as he rounded the keeper, but took it too wide on his weaker foot and his shot hit the side netting. A minute later, the City fans thought Robinho had doubled their side’s lead, but he was offside from Shaun Wright-Phillips’s cross.
With 20 minute to go, Wolves were almost level. Hennessey smashed the ball upfield and Toure didn’t get enough on his header. The ball fell to Doyle, whose shot slammed into the crossbar, with Given beaten.
It’s all Wolves pressure now, as Given saves well from an Elokobi shot and Dunne gets up well to clear the resulting corner.
With ten minutes to go, Robinho smashed in a low cross towards Bellamy. The Welsh striker slid in to try and connect, but he was just millimetres away and Adebayor and Tevez couldn’t quite catch it, after Hennessey missed it.
City then had two golden chances to round the game off. First, Bellamy delayed his pass for too long on the break, with Ireland and Adebayor steaming into the box, and the Wolves defence stole the ball. Then, Wright-Phillips was found in the box by Adebayor, but he was crowded out before he could get his shot in.
A huge punt downfield from Hennessey, with minutes to go, forced Richard Dunne to head behind for a corner, before a cross from the Wolves left bounced through City’s box with nobody connecting.
City were hanging on at the final whistle, but they should have been miles ahead after the chances they had missed in the first hour of the game. Nevertheless, Hughes will be pleased with the way the team held on and it’s two games and two wins for City, this season.