City power past Leicester in the FA Cup

Manchester City hit four past Leicester City in FA Cup thriller.

Picture courtesy of Sky Sports

Manchester City finally overcame Leicester in a six-goal spectacular after the poor showing against Sven Goran Eriksson’s side last week.

Goals from Carlos Tevez, Patrick Viera, Adam Johnson and Aleksander Kolarov sent City through to the next round, although a penalty from Paul Gallagher and a late Lloyd Dyer strike, as well as a Tevez penalty miss, did worry the blue side of Manchester for a few brief moments.
City made a clear statement with their starting line-up, with Roberto Mancini putting out a strong first eleven including captain Tevez, playing his second game in four days, with David Silva and Adam Johnson on the wings. Leicester, without new loan signing but ineligible Yakubu, played with Steve Howard as a lone striker.
Leicester started the better side and, after a cross seemed to cause confusion in the Manchester City defence, midfielder Andy King’s shot went over after the bar after good work from Howard, while centre-back Sol Bamba had a effort saved by Joe Hart just seconds later after the resulting corner. It was City, though, who had the best chance of the first five minutes –Johnson wasting the perfect opportunity to put Mancini’s side in front after he was put through on goal by Tevez. The former-Middlesbrough midfielder’s weak strike went straight at Leicester ‘keeper Chris Weale although Johnson seemed to be slipping as he steadied himself to shoot.
It wasn’t long though before City started to get a foothold in the game and, after a Jerome Boateng throw-in seemed to evade anyone in a yellow shirt, Tevez darted in and out between two Foxes defenders and fired into the far corner, past a helpless Weale.
A response was needed from Eriksson’s side, and a response is what came.  After Patrick Viera brought down Lloyd Dyer in the penalty area referee Mark Halsey didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot, allowing Gallagher to thump the ball into the back of the net from the spot.
The game seemed to quieten down for a while but, as half-time approached, two goals in seventy-seven seconds soon got Eastlands rocking once again. First Viera tapped home after a David Silva shot was saved by Weale to make up for his earlier mistake, and then Johnson performed his special move, drifting in from the wings, ghosting behind the opposition defence and slotting home to give City a comfortable lead at the break and give City fans the chance to perform the now famous Poznan celebration.
With City comfortably winning, both sides seemed to become tighter in midfielder but, after a rare lapse of concentration from former Liverpool defender Jack Hobbs, Tevez had the chance to double his tally for the game and effectively put the game to bed. Hobbs took Tevez’ legs away from him after a turn inside the area from the Argentinean but, after much delay, Tevez, who was easily the best player on the pitch, lazily fired the ball straight down the middle at Weale, giving Leicester some hope at least. 
With very little happening in the game, City seemed to be in control and looked to be cruising to an emphatic victory but, with under ten minutes to go, Dyer managed to escape the offside trap and, with Hart bearing down on him, slipped the ball into the back of the net to make sure that the last few minutes of the game would be nervous ones for Mancini and his side.
Nervous they were, but costly they were not. A fine strike from left-back Kolarov from just outside the box guided City into the next round, where they will face League One side Notts County at Meadow Lane in a competition which is certainly winnable from a Manchester City point of view.
     Man City
Tevez 15
Vieira 37
Johnson 38
Kolarov 90
  Gallagher (pen) 19
  Dyer 83

Southport dreams shattered by ruthless Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday put their off-field problems behind them as they defeated Southport in the first round of the FA Cup.

A solitary Gary Teale goal in the first half had given Wednesday a half-time lead, but a mad fifteen minute period saw Southport equalise twice, only for Wednesday to take the lead and then extend the difference.
Two goals from Clinton Morrison and strike partner Neil Mellor helped Wednesday to reach the second round, while Chris Spurr sealed the 5-2 victory after Paul Barratt and Matty McGinn had both equalised respectively for a defeated Southport.
At a time when many football fans are turning their backs on overpaid, overrated Premier League stars, a traditional FA Cup tie was just what was needed as financially-struggling Sheffield Wednesday faced a Southport side who hadn’t won in three games.
The tie was a traditional David versus Goliath encounter, with three-time FA Cup winners Wednesday fifty-six places above Southport in the domestic pecking order. The difference in quality, though, did not worry the yellows, with left-back Chris Lever firing over within five minutes after strong attacking play. It was Wednesday, though, who broke the deadlock in front of a packed Haig Avenue.
After a game of head-tennis in the Southport penalty area, Morrison volleyed the ball across goal to find Teale at the back post. The former Derby County midfielder tapped home under little pressure to give the Owls the lead, with Southport all the more aggrieved as centre-back and captain Adam Flynn was forced to leave the field shortly before the goal to receive treatment for a head injury.
Southport didn’t lose heart, though, and, after various Sheffield attacks were broken down by the determined Sandgrounders’ back line, midfielder Paul Barratt, who saw a lot of the ball out on the right-wing, fired a volley wide from just outside the area.
Highly-rated midfielder Giles Coke then hit the bar for Wednesday after a neat lay-off from a free-kick. The experience that Sheffield Wednesday boasted in their side seemed to give Alan Irvine’s side the advantage, especially in thwarting any Southport attacks. Matty McNeil was quite frequently all on his own as the midfielders failed to support him, leaving Darren Purse and Mark Beevers the easy job of clearing long balls that came their way. Purse probably should have scored five minutes before half-time, side-footing a volley high and wide from inside the area.
Irvine’s side also had vast experience going forward, with Morrison and Teale both practiced Football League players, while Neil Mellor, who blasted two decent chances over the war and dragged another wide before half-time, used to play for Liverpool, among other Championship and League One sides.
While Southport managed to keep the score at 1-0 going into half-time, their defence was too easily breached and, had Wednesday’s attacking options been more potent, the score line would have read very differently. The lack of chances created by Southport was another issue for manager Liam Watson to raise during the break, with Sheffield Wednesday’s ‘keeper Nicky Weaver barely troubled in the first forty-five minutes.
Southport came out of the changing room with much more purpose and, within seven minutes, Barratt brilliantly lobbed Weaver after Liam Blakeman’s perfect ball through. A small pitch invasion soon ensued as a giant killing seemed to be on the cards.
The ecstasy didn’t last long, though, as Mellor, who was taunted throughout the first half, tapped home after Morrison turned-and-shot expertly, only to see his shot hit the post and bounce into the path of Mellor.
Watson clearly wanted his side to add something extra to their play and, as Matty McGinn and Tony Gray came on for Liam Blakeman and Chris Simm, Southport equalised once more. McGinn’s long throw was headed back out to the midfielder, who rifled a volley through a crowd of legs to take the scores level. A classic cup-tie was now on the cards.
Unfortunately for Southport, though, Sheffield Wednesday came back and took the lead for the third time, Morrison rounding the ‘keeper to score his first goal in thirteen games after a fine pass from Teale. Morrison then doubled his tally and his side’s lead just a minute later after good work from Mellor on the wing set up Morrison, who was now on a hat-trick.
It was defender Tommy Spurr, though, who scored Wednesday’s next goal, firing in from close-range after he calmly controlled the ball in the penalty area from a corner. Spurr’s goal ended an incredible twelve minute period which saw six goals.
With the game effectively over, the teams seemed to sit back and, Southport especially, became tighter at the back as they looked to keep the deficit as small as possible. Wednesday did hit the bar with a few minutes to go but the win was theirs, setting up an exciting second round FA Cup draw.

Southport 2 – 5 Sheffield Wednesday

Barratt 52            Teale 11
McGinn 57            Mellor 54
                            Morrison 60, 61
                            Spurr 64