Walker, Marsh (Watson 79), Green, Viveash, Pointon, Wrack, Keates, Porter, Ricketts (Evans 72), Rammell, Brissett.
Walsall’s unbeaten league record ended at Maine Road as Man City got back to winning ways in division two after two draws and a defeat. City started as if they would hamnmer Walsall but they failed to build on Shaun Goater’s 30th minute goal. Walsall were the better side for the first 20 minutes of the second half but two City goals in three minutes ended their hopes of a point. Goater’s second goal took his tally to six. Andy Rammell pulled a goal back with 11 minutes to go, but City were full value for their point.
CITY fans will soon be singing a new song. Forget Blue Moon – let’s tune in to Danny Boy.
Aussie teenager Danny Allsopp showed all the talents that are set to make him a Maine Road hero. His appearance from the subs’ bench had a galvanising effect on his team-mates.
City should have been winning by a mile when Allsopp replaced Lee Bradbury 10 minutes into the second half. But all they had was Shaun Goater’s 30th-minute header.
Then on came Allsopp, who promptly missed a sitter before setting up Goater and Paul Dickov for the killer double which clinched victory.
Three months ago, Allsopp, 19, was playing Aussie junior football for Port Melbourne Sharks.
Delighted boss Joe Royle said: “We are quietly chuffed with him.
“He missed a chance then did really well. He is certainly a good sub for us. He came on and took it away.
“He is so innocent and it is great to see. He was recommended to me by an agent. I told him we did not need another young forward – but then I discovered he was young and quick.
“He is a great finisher, very strong and positive and we are taking his progress slowly. He will play in the reserves on Thursday as it’s still an education for him.
“Danny was known in Australia – he won the Golden Boot in the World Youth Championship and almost went to West Ham. ”
City went in at half-time leading by Goater’s bullet header from a cross by Nick Fenton.
In the 71st minute Allsopp wriggled free on the right and crossed for Goater to tap in his sixth goal of the season.
Five minutes later Allsopp was a provider again and this time Dickov the receiver.
Andy Rammell grabbed an 80th-minute consolation for Walsall.
Royle added: “We dominated the match. I think we have made Maine Road a hard place to come to.
“We are only three points behind second place now, with just one defeat, and that is a useful position.”
WALSALL’S dreams of topping the Second Division were destroyed by a dazzling double from Shaun Goater.
The Midlanders could have gone top of the Second Division had they won but they were convincingly beaten by Joe Royle’s side.
Goater scored a goal in each half to bring his total for the season to six.
Two goals in three minutes finally broke Walsall’s resistance after they had trailed at the interval to a Goater header on the half hour.
Both City strikes were created by teenage Aussie substitute Danny Allsopp.
Allsopp had only been on the pitch for two minutes when he set up Goater for his second after 71 minutes. Then Allsopp crossed for Paul Dickov to score.
Five minutes later Walsall got one back when Andy Rammell cracked home a drive 11 minutes from time.
Express & Star
Such has been the positive vibe around Bescot this season that even a defeat can offer hope and encouragement for the months ahead.
A 3-1 reverse may not look particularly good on paper, but Ray Graydon emerged from his first tussle with one of the division’s ‘fat cats’ satisfied with his side’s efforts and encouraged by their never-say-die attitude.
On the debit side, Saddlers tasted defeat in a League game for the first time in this hugely encouraging opening to the new campaign, and saw their hopes of climbing into the top two well and truly scuppered.
And while it may, at times, have appeared a painful lesson the outing with the ‘other side’ in Manchester will act as an invaluable yardstick for Graydon to assess the progress made so far this season.
At times, especially during a rocky opening 45 minutes, his side’s shortcomings were exposed as the home side fully exploited the wide open spaces of Maine Road before a resurgent second half showing again fuelled the belief that Walsall are on the right road.
A high tempo opening from the men in blue set Walsall on the back foot and they never really came to terms with the pace or width of City’s attacking.
Backed by another huge crowd – City may be the poor relations on the pitch but on the terrace there can be few more loyal fans in the country – the game could and should have been well out of Walsall’s grasp as the visitors found themselves on the ropes against a barrage of blue attacks.
But one thing the Saddlers have in abundance at the moment is character, and they simply dug in. And thanks to another top quality showing from keeper Jimmy Walker and some wastefulness from the likes of Paul Dickov, in particular they hung on in there.
Walker denied City a flying start with a point blank save to deny Dickov as early as the second minute before thwarting Richard Edghill a minute later. The keeper then raced bravely from his line to force Dickov into rushing an attempted lob, enabling Chris Marsh to comfortably clear before Lee Bradbury completely miss-kicked after being teed-up by Dickov.
The inevitable goal arrived 15 minutes from half time when Shaun Goater rose to majestically glance a Nick Fenton cross past Walker. However, rather than fold Walsall managed to up their game and a bright five minute spell just before the break, during which time Nick Weaver had to go full length to deny Dean Keates, gave an indication of what was to come after the half-time cuppa.
Whatever Graydon said in the confines of the dressing had the desired effect as Saddlers at last exerted some pressure on the home goal with Weaver twice called into action to deny Andy Rammell and Neil Pointon while skipper Gary Porter sliced a half chance wide.
But as the Maine Road faithful started to become restless their heroes responded with a crushing three minute spell that saw them score twice during Walsall’s best spell of the game.
Both the goals came from rapid breaks with Walsall being ruthlessly punished as they poured forward in search of an equaliser.
Substitute Daniel Allsopp was creator on each occasion, firstly racing on to a long clearance before teeing up Goater for a close range tap-in and then powering down the right flank before providing Dickov with an opening that even he couldn’t miss.
At that stage a lot of sides would have crumbled just as Notts County did two weeks ago when a rampant City hit them for seven, but Walsall are made of sterner stuff and finished the game on top.
Andy Rammell gained a deserved consolation for the visitors, and a just reward for his endeavour, when he provided a clinical right-foot finish 10 minutes from time before a spirited late rally gave the home side one or two anxious moments.
Defeat had to come sooner rather than later, but even this setback can’t dampen what has been a superb start for Graydon and his men.
Success at home to York next Tuesday will put matters back on track, and such has been the progress at Bescot this term that victory will be expected.
Man City Official Site
CITY moved up the Divsion Two table after two goals from Shaun Goater and one from striking partner Paul Dickov secured the points, as City ran out 3-1 winners against a previously unbeaten Walsall side.
After Paul Dickov wasted two early chances for the home side, the second when he couldn’t fire home after beating Walsall keeper Walker to the ball, City began to dominate the game. Shaun Goater just failed to turn the ball into the gaping net, after City full back Richard Edghill robbed a Walsall defender and delivered a low drive across the face of the goal on 20 minutes, but nine minutes later Goater grabbed his fifth goal of the season, heading firmly home at the far post from Fentons pinpoint cross to give the home side a deserved lead. Quick movement by Richard Edghill when he cut in from the right set up Goater again as half time appraoched, but this time he couldn’t finish and Danny Tiatto then broke quickly for Paul Dickov to shoot wide, as City threatened to run riot. Keats spurned the visitors best chance moments before the break, when Weaver was on hand to save from the Walsall player. After the restart City were again on the attack and Lee Bradbury swivelled and shot on the turn, but his effort was tipped round the post by Walker in the Walsall goal.
Joe Royle introduced young Aussie substitute Danny Allsop for Lee Bradbury in the 68th minute and he made an immediate impression when he squandered a chance to give City a two goal cushion, but his control let him down after Dickov had crossed. The tall striker made ammends a minute later when he crossed for Goater to grab his second goal of the game and surely put City safe. Safe they were moments later when Paul Dickov got on the scoresheet, with Allsop again the provider as Shaun Goater this time let the ball run for his strking partner to fire home at the far post. Although Walsall got on the scoresheet after Gary Porter put through Andy Rammell for the striker to pull a goal back for the visitors, Manchester City played possession football in the final 10 minutes to grab the three valuable home points.
MANCHESTER CITY’S early, tentative steps in the Nationwide League second division were replaced by a more positive stride at Maine Road last night. Three goals, two from Shaun Goater, put paid to the flimsy challenge of Walsall and lifted City into the upper reaches of the table.
Walsall, who had won their first two away matches of the season, had no answer to this feverish display and Joe Royle, the City manager, will be hoping this success will usher in a consistent run of form.
Less than a minute had gone when Paul Dickov beat the offside trap and forced a sharp save from James Walker in the Walsall goal. Dickov then latched on to a long pass from Pollock, but, after rounding Walker, he scuffed his shot.
Lee Bradbury also fluffed a marvellous opportunity ten minutes later and the mood of the home supporters was hardly helped when Jason Brissett found himself with a chance to put Walsall ahead. He was unmarked at the far post when Gary Porter’s pass arrived, but his header was woeful.
However, just as City were threatening to lose their way, the breakthrough came. With half an hour gone, Nick Fenton, the England Under-18 centre back, drove in a cross from the right and Goater, with four defenders hesitating, attacked the ball in majestic fashion and headed into the bottom corner.
Allsop’s embarrassment at missing from six yards midway through the second half did not last long. After toying with Pointon, he drilled a low pass to the unmarked Goater, who accepted the simplest of chances – his sixth goal in six games.
Allsop’s next surge produced a chance that Dickov converted and, after two successful strikes on goal in four minutes, City supporters were able to forgive the mistake by Fenton which led to a goal for Walsall by Andy Rammell.
THE masses of supporters who have remained remarkably faithful throughout Manchester City’s embarrassing slide from Premiership big shots to Second Division makeweights were last night given the key to the club’s potentially glittering future.
The 24,021 who thronged to Maine Road for as unattractive a fixture as any held there in living memory were told to look out for leaflets at next week’s match against Bournemouth outlining the club’s plans to move to the new Â£90 million stadium being constructed for the 2002 Commonwealth Games a couple of miles away. A total of 50,000 leaflets – one for every seat in the new Eastlands Stadium – will be distributed around supporters’ clubs.
Officials of the struggling but eternally ambitious club are anxious to repay the loyalty of the fans by seeking opinion on the plan to desert what has been a famous home since 1923 but chairman David Bernstein is insisting that it is “an offer we can’t refuse”.
“It’s a state-of-the-art 21st century design, a beautiful creation,” said an enthusiastic Bernstein who expressed optimism that he would be taking the club there in 2003 restored as a Premiership force. “The model is very exciting and when our supporters see it they will be very excited by it.
“But I must stress we haven’t yet made a final decision. We have signed non-legally binding terms with the city council but it’s dependant on us consulting our supporters and getting their full support.”
The last thing City needed was an adverse reaction from their crowd to their performance against Walsall but it was apparent early on that Joe Royle’s team were comfortably superior to their higher-placed visitors.
A single goal by Shaun Goater – a splendid header from Nick Fenton’s cross for his fifth goal of the season – was nothing like a fair representation of City’s dominance in a first half which could easily have seen the 7-1 Worthington Cup scoreline against Notts County repeated.
City carved out chances galore before and after that 30th-minute breakthrough, but all too frequently produced Second Division finishes to first-rate openings.
Lee Bradbury provided the most obvious example of their frailty in front of goal by sidefooting wide after Richard Edghill had laid on a tap-in from six yards out.
Paul Dickov was also culpable. After shooting tamely at James Walker in the first minute, the striker failed to find the target after beating the out-rushing Walsall goalkeeper to Jamie Pollock’s through ball.
Dickov shot badly wide from a position created by debutant full-back Danny Tiatto in a first period which saw Walsall restricted to a solitary shot by Dean Keates.
The second half also featured a succession of classic City misses, notably by Bradbury and his replacement Daniel Allsopp, an Australian teenager, before the increasingly restless fans were finally able to relax.
Allsopp refused to allow an appallingly fluffed shot from 10 yards to unsettle him as he set up two goals inside five minutes for Goater and Dickov from low crosses.
Walsall had made a better fist of matters after the interval and eventually did reply through a neat low shot by Andy Rammell.