Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Sunday January 2 2011
How we've not taken a single point from our two games with Man City this season I'm not sure.
Yet again yesterday we gave them a run for their money and although they had to chances to score more than once, you can't help but feel that there was a point there for the taking for the 'Pool.
Indeed, 'Pool manager Ian Holloway said after the game that although he was delighted with how his team acquitted themselves, he felt that they didn't go after City enough early on; something I agree with.
Meanwhile, in the City camp, assistant manager David Platt admitted that the hosts were simply happy to secure the three points with the Seasiders enjoying the better of the game as it went on.
'Pool captain Charlie Adam returned from suspension to lead the side, replacing the injured Elliot Grandin. Meanwhile, City were able to recall captain Carlos Tevez as well.
And it was the two captains who got involved in the match in the opening seconds; a sloppy backpass by Adam being seized upon by Tevez, but the forward could only drag his finish wide in what was to be a miserable afternoon for him.
The Seasiders' sloppy passing was to be their undoing at times; City didn't really threaten unless they were given a helping hand by ourselves. Nevertheless the hosts are certainly title contenders, if only because the quality of the Premier League is so poor this season.
Ex 'Pool loanee Joe Hart showed what a great goalkeeper he is with the next good chance of the match; acrobatically tipping a curling Gary Taylor-Fletcher effort wide.
I've come to the conclusion that GTF isn't good enough to play on the flank 'at this level', but I do think he could do a job in 'the Grandin role'.
At the other end, Richard Kingson tipped a David Silva shot away. Kingson once again looked very nervy and hardly inspires confidence when the ball nears our goal, but yet again performed admirably. Silva on the other hand was a class above anyone else on the pitch. He truly was a joy to watch.
City did take the lead with their next attack though; GTF could only clear to the edge of the area, and Adam Johnson smashed in a shot that clipped Stephen Crainey's heels and deceived Kingson. 1-0.
Moments later, City had a penalty. Yaya Toure 'bought' a penalty off Luke Varney, but Tevez dragged his effort from twelve yards horribly wide.
Ollie (correctly, although he should have started) threw on Matt Phillips at half time, although bizarrely replaced Ludovic Sylvestre who had been having a good game.
With the introduction of Phillips, the Seasiders finally really got at the hosts, with the winger causing umpteen problems.
After Phillips skinned opposition full back Aleksandar Kolarov for the umpteenth time and forced a great save from Joe Hart, Robert Mancini responded by throwing on Pablo Zabaleta for the beleaguered Kolarov in a bid to keep Phillips quiet. Kolarov cost City about £15 million. That's how good Phillips is.
At the other end though, Tevez was having a nightmare. He curled a shot wide from the left, slipped when faced with an open goal, and fired wide from another good opportunity.
The last chance of the game fell to 'Pool's Neal Eardley who did something the rest of the boys in tangerine seemed not inclined to do; shoot. His rasping effort from just outside the area was brilliantly saved by Hart.
Brett Ormerod and David Carney made late cameos, but it was to no avail.
So, a defeat to mark the start of 2011, but make no bones about it; 'Pool pushed City all the way and showed enough to demonstrate that 2010 was far from an anamaly and that they truly are the real deal. Happy New Year everyone.
Date:Sunday January 2 2011
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