English Premiership

City keep pace with United

2011-01-02 10:54
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini (File)

Manchester - Adam Johnson's goal was enough for Manchester City to record a 1-0 win over Blackpool on Saturday that kept them level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Johnson scored the only goal of the game - his third in the league this season - in the 34th minute at Eastlands.

Carlos Tevez then missed a penalty and a host of other chances to set up a nervous finish as Blackpool pressed for an equaliser.

But Roberto Mancini's side held on for a third successive victory that saw them maintain a strong position ahead of their trip to English title rivals Arsenal on Wednesday.

Only City have a better away record than Blackpool and, despite the two clubs being poles apart in financial terms, Tangerines manager Ian Holloway will feel frustrated his side went away with nothing.

City knew they could not move top of the table but they meant business from the start, with Tevez missing with a shot after just 22 seconds before David Silva also dragged an effort wide.

With both sides taking every opportunity to attack, Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher was unfortunate his pass for DJ Campbell was blocked after he surged into the area.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart was forced into a fine save from Taylor-Fletcher after Charlie Adam's thumping shot came back off Vincent Kompany.

Adam also just missed with an ambitious effort from 30 yards out but City should have taken the lead midway through the first half.

Tevez broke towards goal and fed Silva, whose first-time shot missed the target, before Argentina striker Tevez failed to beat Blackpool goalkeeper Richard Kingson from 25 yards.

As City began to take control, Silva sent a rising shot wide of goal from just inside the area and Gareth Barry also sent an effort wide after Adam's poor clearance.

Yaya Toure then broke into the Blackpool half and fed Tevez, whose dipping drive was tipped over the bar by Kingson.

But just after the half hour, City took the lead with a fine strike by Johnson. Silva's corner was headed away by Taylor-Fletcher and Johnson drove in, via a deflection off Stephen Crainey, his fifth goal of the season.

Just two minutes later, City won a penalty when Yaya Toure's burst into the area was halted by Luke Varney.

Tevez failed to take advantage, however, rolling the resulting spot kick past the post.

Matt Phillips came on for Ludovic Sylvestre for Blackpool at half-time and immediately caused Aleksander Kolarov problems, sending in one impressive cross that was glanced wide by Varney.

As the encounter opened up, Phillips had a shot turned away by Hart after he beat Kolarov with ease before Varney headed straight at the City goalkeeper.

Yaya Toure almost added a second when Kingson came out to block after the Ivory Coast midfielder had run half the length of the field.

Tevez should have made the game safe when he was sent through by Yaya Toure but, after skipping past Kingson, he slipped before he could get a shot away.

He also prodded wide from a James Milner cross as City struggled to kill the visitors off.

They almost paid for those misses when Neal Eardley had a shot turned over the bar by Hart, who also had to palm away a header from Brett Ormerod.

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