Barclay’s English Premiership
Saturday 28 November 2009, 15:00 KO
City: Given, Richards, Lescott, Touré (c), Bridge, Ireland, de Jong, Robinho (Bellamy 75), Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Adebayor (Santa Cruz 67)
Unused: Taylor, Johnson, Onuoha, Kompany, Weiss,
Goals: Wright-Phillips (45+1)
Booked: de Jong
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Wayne Bridge
City went into the game knowing that if they didn’t end their recent run of draws then it would be a club record broken, something that both the fans and the management didn’t want.
The game started with the home side the better. There was only 25 seconds on the clock when Tevez slipped Robinho in on his return and the City forward won a corner, but it came to nothing.
Hull then caused a scare in City’s box, when a ball between the defenders and the goalkeeper had everybody like statues, watching it bounce across the six yard box. The return ball in was cleared by Richards after Given wasn’t able to gather it.
On 16 minutes, Stephen Ireland was unlucky not to give City the lead, as he threw a boot to volley a Micah Richards pass from the edge of the box. It had Duke worried, but it looped just over the bar.
Three minutes later, Robinho was close to scoring on his return from injury. He cut inside from the left and, after turning McShane inside out, he fired a low effort towards the back post and it was inches wide.
Tevez then should have scored, after some neat play from Robinho, de Jong and Adebayor, but his one-on-one from the left side of the box was saved by Duke for a corner.
With half an hour gone, Wright-Phillips hit the side netting with a cracking acrobatic volley. Tevez slipped Robinho in and the Brazilian played a sublime pass to the right wing and City’s academy product had a first time hit that was just wide.
Ten minutes before the break, McShane reminded City that there were two teams playing today, flashing a header from the near post into the side netting, when he was completely unmarked.
Just as the teams were preparing for the interval, Wright-Phillips gave City the lead after an advantage played by the referee for a foul on Robinho on the edge of City’s box. He had the ball on the edge of the box and had a go with nothing much on in the box, and, via a flick off Gardner’s head, it beat Duke and found the net.
Five minutes into the second half and there was a scare for City. Garcia beat Given with his dinked shot, but Lescott was behind his goalkeeper to clear off the line, preserving his side’s lead.
Some good work from Wright-Phillips in the Hull half saw him break into the box, but his pull back was just short of Adebayor and was intercepted. Making almost the same move two minutes later, he was unlucky not to have gotten a penalty, when Hunt appeared to pull him down.
On the hour mark, Ireland collected a great defensive header from Bridge and ran the length of the pitch to feed Tevez, but the Argentinian delayed too long and couldn’t get his shot or a cross in.
With 15 minutes to go, Robinho flashed another shot past the far post, after cutting inside from the left, but it was a good yard wide and Duke had it covered. Robinho then smashed a free-kick past the far post, as if he couldn’t decide on a shot or a low cross.
On 80 minutes, Touré took the game by the scruff of the neck, bringing the ball out of defence and carrying it the length of the pitch. He, though, was unable to get a shot away as he was crowded out by the Hull defence.
Two minutes later and there was controversy. The referee indicated a penalty against Lescott for handball, when replays showed the ball didn’t touch his hand. He then indicated a foul by Touré on Vennegoor of Hesselink, but replays too showed it wasn’t a foul. Nevertheless, it was a penalty and it was duly dispatched by Bullard, despite Given’s hand.
In stoppage time, Richards then headed over unmarked from a Wright-Phillips corner, after a City free kick came to nothing from a foul on Ireland. The referee then risked the wrath of the City fans further, by not penalising Hull’s time wasting when the ball was out of play and blowing up for full time before City could take a corner.
It was City’s seventh draw on the run, a new club record, and another disappointing draw after being in a leading position. Mark Hughes and City need to end this run soon, before it does irreversible damage to City’s season. It won’t be easy though; it’s Chelsea next.