FA Cup Fourth Round
Sunday 30 January 2011, 14:00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta (Kolarov 77), Richards (Kompany 88), Boateng, Lescott, Vieira, Barry (c), Milner, Y Touré, Jo (Silva 63), Dzeko
Unused: Given, K Touré, de Jong, Guidetti
Goals: Dzeko (80)
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Micah Richards
After negotiating a tricky tie with Leicester, City headed for another tricky tie in Nottingham. The home side would be up for the game and the pitch would be a difficult one for the Premier League side, still bearing the remnants of the rugby. And it was the home side that had the first chance of the game: Gow whipping a free kick just wide of Hart’s post. Hart had it covered.
With 8 minutes played, City could have been in front. Dominating the early possession, they worked it wide to Richards on the overlap and he fired in a low cross to the centre, where Yaya Touré threw himself at it. He connected with the ball, but the keeper flung out a foot to deflect the effort over the bar.
Dzeko then had an effort from range, but it was well over the bar, before City worked a free kick from deep, but nobody could connect to Boateng’s low cross. Hart was then almost on the halfway line to find Zabaleta, cutting out a ball over the top with a little dragback to avoid the onrushing Lee Hughes.
Milner then won the ball back well on the right flank, but his cross was too strong for Jo and it bounced behind, before an excellent tackle from Pearce denied Dzeko a chance to turn and shoot inside the box. A deft touch from Milner was then needed to set Dzeko up for a shot, but he didn’t get enough on it and he couldn’t find the big Bosnian.
City then should have done better with a breakaway, but Richards’s ball was behind Barry and Jo’s cross was cut out, before the Brazilian skied the rebound from the edge of the box.
Jo was inches away from connecting to a Milner cross as half time approached, before Milner himself was inches away from connecting to a Darby header back to his goalkeeper. County could have put City under pressure in stoppage time, but the free kick from the centre drifted over everybody in the box.
The second half began evenly, with Richards being alert to deny Hughes a chance to shoot, before a howler from the County goalkeeper Nelson gave City a cheap corner, but the visitors couldn’t capitalise.
With 53 minutes on the clock, Richards forced a low cross into the box, but it was hit over the bar as Dzeko tried to take the shot in his stride. Hart was then alert to catch a shot with Hughes lurking, before Milner’s corner was too deep for everybody in the box.
But then the home side took the lead. Hughes appeared to be fouling Zabaleta in the box, but the referee didn’t agree and that led to a deflection behind when Zabaleta might have done better unimpeded. Neal Bishop rose to nod the corner into the net ahead of Edin Dzeko and the visitors had it all to do.
City’s response was immediate: David Silva in place of Jo. Immediately, he put in a good delivery for Dzeko, but the big Bosnian could only flick it towards goal and it dropped onto the roof of the net.
With 69 minutes on the clock, Gareth Barry was denied a brilliant equaliser by a superb save from Nelson. A City corner was nodded as far as the edge of the box, Barry took a touch and fired in the shot towards the top corner, but the keeper got up well to flick it over the bar.
Then, as it looked like it was going to be another upset, City got their equaliser. Notts County were tiring and a long ball out of their defence was nodded to Boateng by Hart. The German then played in Micah Richards who, after a neat touch around the defender, smashed the ball across the six yard box and there was Dzeko to put the ball in the net for his first City goal.
County, though, could have won the game with a few minutes remaining on the clock. A free kick from 30 yards was whipped across the City area and nobody got a touch, leaving it to bounced behind for a goal kick, with Edwards at the back post inches from putting it in.
A good cross from Kolarov resulted in a moment of chaos in the home side’s box, but nobody could get the vital touch into the net, before Silva won the ball back and fired in a shot that found the net via the post. But it was ruled out for handball, as Silva had illegally won the ball back for the visitors.
That left City with another replay to fit into a busy schedule, but it was a better outcome than it looked like it was going to be for large parts of the second half. A victory in that replay will leave City with a home tie with Aston Villa.