Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 17 October 2010, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Boateng (Richards 75), Kompany, Lescott, Bridge, de Jong, Barry, Milner, A. Johnson (Vieira 85), Adebayor (Silva 64), Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz
Goals: Tevez (69, 79), Silva (90)
Booked: Tevez, Silva
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: David Silva
With the City fans singing the name of perhaps the club’s greatest coach, Malcolm Allison, the game got off to a ferocious start at the seaside. With two minutes gone, Tevez slid the ball across the box, looking for a touch into the net, but that touch didn’t come, before a scathing Johnson shot needed touching over the bar by Gilks.
Shortly after, the hosts had their turn, with DJ Campbell breaking away and firing wide, before Hart was called into action to palm away a low cross, leaving Kompany to clear the danger.
With 13 minutes gone, Tevez fluffed his lines inside the box as he ran on to a Gareth Barry nod down – the City skipper should have done better, but it didn’t matter as his team-mate was penalised for a push.
Kompany headed into Gilks’s hands, before Charlie Adam, who had seen a lot of the ball in the opening stages, fired a right footed shot well wide of Hart’s goal. Varney then tried his luck from range, but his effort was also wide, as Blackpool looked to get the early goal and began to control possession, even if Hart was mostly untroubled.
Adebayor was then flagged offside inside the six yard box when he looked to have been level, but it didn’t matter as his header down from Johnson’s cross was well wide when he should have hit the target.
On the half-hour, the hosts broke with speed after a quick free kick and the ball broke to Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box. But the Blackpool man tried to measure his shot around Lescott and he couldn’t find the target, scooping it well wide of the goal.
A diving header from DJ Campbell should have at least found the target, but it was another wasted effort and well wide of the goal, before Hart took his time clearing a Lescott back-pass and was close to being embarrassed by Varney.
On the stroke of half time, City could have taken the lead as a Milner corner was collected by Boateng and he squared for Johnson. His clip towards the back post found Adebayor and Tevez challenging. The hosts were perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty for a push on Adebayor, before Tevez was unlucky to see the ball bounce off his chest and into the hands of the goalkeeper.
The last action of the half, saw Tevez slide Johnson through down the left flank. He squared low for Adebayor, but he couldn’t connect and the ball ran harmlessly out for the throw-in on the far side.
City should have taken the lead with the first chance of the second half, too. Johnson swung a corner in from the City left and Kompany was unmarked in the six yard box – he dived, connected, but his header was well wide.
Shortly after, the home side should have been in front. Both Kompany and Lescott were drawn towards the ball and DJ Campbell was free in the centre. The ball found him, Hart came racing out and made it difficult, but Campbell could only prod the ball wide of the post when he should have done much, much better.
A minute later, Blackpool did have the ball in the net, but it wasn’t going to count. Taylor-Fletcher raced onto a long ball over the top from an onside position, but the swing for the ball by Grandin in an offside position caused the linesman to flag.
Just before the hour mark, Lescott tried an ambitious over-head kick on his weaker foot from a City corner – it would have been one of the goals of his career had it found the net – before DJ Campbell attempted a chip on Joe Hart, but it was over the bar, as the game continued at a break-neck pace.
Charlie Adam then had an effort from 20 yards out that required Hart’s fingertips to knock over the bar, before Taylor-Fletcher sliced a shot wide from a corner and Eardley had a long range effort that needed turning around the post by the City keeper, as Blackpool began to dominate the game.
But then, City made the crucial change – David Silva came on to replace Emmanuel Adebayor and immediately it spurred the visitors into life. Milner fed Silva down the left and the Spaniard found Tevez in the box, who flicked the ball into the back of the net, hugely against the run of play.
The home side could have equalised immediately through Charlie Adam, whose free-kick had Hart’s dive beaten, but flashed just wide of the post.
With 20 minutes to go, the game showed no signs of slowing down, as Milner twice almost doubled City’s lead. First, he chipped the ball over Gilks as he dived for the ball, but it didn’t have enough pace to beat Eardley on the line, before the City midfielder hit the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.
Eight minutes later, Blackpool were on terms. A superb delivery from a free kick by Charlie Adam left Marlon Harewood to flick the ball to the back post, leaving Hart beaten. But, Blackpool caught out still celebrating, perhaps, Tevez put City straight back into the lead.
Tevez picked the ball up on the edge of the box and swung a shot at goal with his left foot. It took a deflection and beat Gilks into the bottom left corner of the net and the visitors were back in front.
With three minutes to go, Tevez could have secured his hat-trick. He did well to hold onto the ball in the box, before turning and firing a shot at goal. It took a deflection before a superb save from Gilks tipped it onto the bar and over for a corner.
As the game entered the final minute, City looked to have secured the victory. Milner took a quick free kick to Silva on the right flank and the City midfielder cut into the box, beat three defenders, and curled the ball expertly to the back post and into the net.
But, just as the City fans were relaxing and thinking about the tie with Lech Poznan in midweek, Blackpool pulled a goal back. A right wing corner found its way to the edge of the box and was powered back towards Hart’s goal. Gary Taylor-Fletcher couldn’t have missed as it fell to him and he found the back of the net.
But there wasn’t enough time for the hosts to mount another attack and City were victors after a fantastic game at the seaside. Blackpool were unlucky, but City showed their Premier League experience.