- Match reports
- 30 July 2005 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
City have had to come from behind with only 10 men to win in the pre-season friendly at Stoke City.
After going behind early in the second half, City looked to be in further trouble when Jihai Sun was dismissed for bringing down Russell in the area. David James saved the resulting spot-kick, and City then scored twice through Cole and Wright-Phillips to take the spoils.
Andrew Cole and debutante Darius Vassell looked to have linked up well up front, with Cole appearing as sharp as ever.
City had the first chance of the game in the third minute when a Musampa volley forced a good parry from Simonsen in the Stoke goal. On 11 minutes Vassell used his pace well to get a cross in from the left, but Cole was just short of getting a touch.
It was a quiet first period in general, with the first scare for City coming on 14 minutes when David James mishandled a low shot but D'Laryea was able to clear the danger.
Stoke continued to keep City at bay for the rest of the first half, and Stephen Ireland, impressing in midfield, was able to force another save from Simonsen right on the whistle with a well-struck shot from inside the area.
But it was only six minutes into the second period when the home side brought the game to life. Henry's cross was met by substitute Bruce Dyer, who's diving header left James with no chance.
The Blues nearly equalised straight away, with Ireland again driving a firm shot at the 'keeper, and this time it was substitute Ed De Goey who preserved the lead.
And there was further woe for City on 66 minutes, when Jihai Sun brought down Russell in the area for a cast-iron penalty. Despite it being a friendly, the referee took the only course of action available and showed Sun the red card.
Thankfully, James turned the tide of the match, beating away Dyer's effort low to his right.
Vassell made way for Wright-Phillips, who on 70 minutes wasted a golden opportunity when his volley inside the area flew over, the teenager having found himself unmarked.
But only two minutes later Andrew Cole delighted the travelling fans, when he pounced on a wayward pass to leve De Goey floundering and level the scores with a low drive from a few yards out.
Wright-Phillips made amends with 10 minutes to go, when after combining with Cole in a one-two, he smashed the ball high into the net to give City the lead. The City fans found their voice again and are already chanting the name Wright-Phillips once more, to Bradley's obvious delight.
There were no more real scares for City, and they can take heart with the second half performance that saw them come back after the Sun dismissal. The only low mark for the day is the fact that Stuart Pearce, already dealing with several injuries, will now be without Sun for the opening of the Premiership season.