Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Sunday, May 30, 1999 Published at 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK

Sport: Football

Shoot-out success for City

Carl Asaba threatens the Man City defence

Man City 2-2 Gillingham (aet)
Man City win 3-1 on penalties and are promoted to the First Division

Ian Brown: "There is something about Manchester and stoppage time"
Manchester City have been promoted to the First Division after a dramatic play-off final with Gillingham at Wembley.

The Blues emerged victorious from a penalty shoot-out when goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, who had already saved Paul Smith's effort, then blocked Guy Butters' spot-kick.

The young keeper then began a joyous sprint round half the ground as Joe Royle's men celebrated the end of a barren period for the other half of Manchester.

Manchester City Manager Joe Royle: "We should have gone up by right anyway"
During an era when fierce rivals and neighbours United have dominated English football culminating in their crowing as European Club Champions last week, City had fallen from the Premiership down to the Second Division.

And with just a minute left of normal time, it seemed like this would be another miserable day for City fans, with their side trailing by two goals to a Gillingham side which had grown with confidence during the afternoon.

[ image: Carl Asaba looked to have sealed it for Gillingham]
Carl Asaba looked to have sealed it for Gillingham
Carl Asaba, who struck on the 81st minute and Bob Taylor's goal five minutes later, seemed to have condemned the Blue half of Manchester to a torturous summer.

But Kevin Horlock reduced arrears to 2-1 with the 90 minutes were virtually up.

With five minutes of injury time announced, there seemed a very small chance that City could still force the game into extra time, and former Arsenal player Paul Dickov strike in the dying seconds of normal time sent the City fans, including rock stars Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis, into ecstasy.

It was heartbreaking for Gillingham, managed by Tony Pulis. They had appeared worthy winners at 2-0, but were forced to regroup and force their way through extra time.

The game had been largely been ordinary until the final minutes, with both sides clearly feeling the weight of the occasion.

It was Asaba who played the significant role in both goals, starting and finishing the move which gave The Gills the lead, rounding off a superb move with a shot into the top corner past Weaver.

[ image: Micheal Brown and Nicky Southall do battle]
Micheal Brown and Nicky Southall do battle
And it was his header which set Taylor free forty yards from goal, and the balding striker advanced to the penalty area before hitting a low, powerful shot past Weaver.

Those two strikes left City with no option but to attack, and the pressure caused the first cracks in the Gillingham defence, with Horlock driving a left-footed shot through a crowd of players.

And with time running out, Shaun Goater used his physical presence to play Dickov through, and the diminutive striker curling a rising shot past another former Gunner, Vince Bartram.

When it came to penalties, Gillingham missed their first two efforts, while Dickov also failed to hit the target.

With City 3-1 up, Smith needed to score for The Gills, but his shot failed to get past the diving figure of Weaver, and left his side to reflect on a match that had looked harder to lose with just a minute remaining.

Gillingham: Bartram, Southall, Ashby, Smith, Butters, Pennock, Patterson, Hessenthaler, Asaba, Galloway, Taylor. Subs: Hodge, Saunders, Carr.
Man City: Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Wiekens, Morrison, Horlock, Brown, Whitley, Dickov, Goater, Cooke. Subs: Taylor, Vaughan, Bishop.
Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City)

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Football Contents


Relevant Stories

20 May 99 | Football
Football's promotion play-offs

In this section

Collins calls it a day for Scots

Derby double swoop fails

From Special Report
Keegan accused over late night

White Rose rivals meet again

McIlroy tipped for NI role

League to rule on Sky shares

Keane talks to resume

From Special Report
We'll be back for World Cup - Brown

From Special Report
Keegan insists England can triumph

Irish to appeal after brawl

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

From Special Report
I've rarely seen anything worse

From Special Report
An almost unbelievable turnaround

SA kidnap shocks soccer coach

From Special Report
Police claim play-off success

From Special Report
England book Euro 2000 place

From Special Report
We've a long way to go - Keegan

Turks bury Irish dream

From Special Report
We deserved to qualify - Hendry

Slovenia to make Euro debut

From Special Report
England v Scotland - picture gallery

From Special Report
What they said