English Premier League
Saturday 29 October 2011, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri (Balotelli 71), Aguero (Savic 76), Silva, Dzeko (A Johnson 65)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Milner, de Jong
Goals: Dzeko (52), Kolarov (67), Johnson (90+1)
Booked: Barry, Dzeko
Sent Off: Kompany
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Kolarov
City kept their five point lead over their rivals with a hard fought victory over a tough Wolves side. It was a difficult first half for the hosts, who began brightly as Hennessey was called into action to tip a dipping shot over the bar for a corner. Aguero blasted an effort wide of the post when Richards droved down the right flank and forced a low ball across, and he should have done better.
The referee bore the brunt of the crowd’s anger as he produced a yellow card for a Gareth Barry foul as Wolves looked to break, but ignored what appeared to be two fouls through the back of Silva either side of the City midfielder’s booking. Toure tried to get his name on the scoresheet, but his effort was belted well over the bar.
Dzeko wanted a penalty with 36 minutes on the clock after it seemed Stearman had wrestled him to the ground and the fans were again up in arms with the referee when the whistle didn’t blow and play was allowed to continue. A brilliant save from Hennessey kept the scores level soon after, as he got a Dzeko shot over the bar as the City forward broke clear in the box.
Soon after the break, it was the hosts who got their noses in front. Hennessey, who had played well for the visitors, dwelled on the ball for too long on the edge of his box and his rushed clearance was blocked by Aguero. The ball landed kindly for Dzeko just outside the area and, faced with an open goal, he was never going to miss.
A neat move between Silva, Barry and Aguero fashioned a shooting chance for the Argentina international as he made his way across the box, but his volley sliced off his boot and curled out of play for a throw-in. And the introduction of Adam Johnson proved to be the difference shortly after. He ran at the Wolves defence and slid the ball to Silva. His shot was pushed out by Hennessey and Kolarov was in the right place to slot the ball home.
With fifteen minutes to play, though, City found themselves a man down and facing a penalty. A shot from the edge of the box was parried by Hart and it looked like Doyle was going to be first to the rebound until he was pulled back by Kompany. The referee gave the penalty and had no choice but to show a red card to the home side’s skipper. Hunt stepped up and sent Hart the wrong way, halving the deficit.
For a while, the ten men were on the backfoot as the visitors took advantage of their extra body with some possession in the City half. Hunt fired a shot well over the bar, before Lescott was needed to put in a strong tackle on the edge of the box. Johnson gave away a free kick on Wolves’s left flank, but the visitors couldn’t get a shot in from it.
But, as the away side looked to pull themselves level, the hosts went on to win it. The ball was cleared to halfway, where Balotelli nicked the ball and was able to run through at goal. He checked back as the defence got back into position and tried to send Toure through. He, though, found Johnson and, from 30 yards, he curled the ball into the bottom corner of the net and sealed the points for blues.