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Sunday, 21 April, 2002, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Pearce left red-faced
Manchester City's Stuart Pearce
Pearce has played more than 1,000 games
Manchester City 3-1 Portsmouth
  E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Stuart Pearce said goodbye to his playing career with a penalty miss in injury time against Portsmouth that should have clinched his 100th goal.

His chance looked to have come four minutes into injury time when Linvoy Primus was judged to have handled.

Up stepped Pearce to put the icing on a great day, but he managed to blast the spot kick over Dave Beasant's bar and the dream goal was lost.

Pearce's long career was notable for his spot-kick miss for England in Italia 90 as well his penalty triumph against Spain in another shootout in Euro 96.

At least Pearce, after more than 1,000 games, went into retirement with his first ever title winning medal.

And appropriately he received the championship crown - the City's first title since 1968 after a club-record 31st win of the season.

The fans celebrated long after the game as the players - plus cult hero Paul Dickov back to say his goodbyes too - took their bows.

108th league goal

Steve Howey opened the scoring for City powering home a fine header from 12 yards from a Pearce cross after nine minutes.

Darren Huckerby crashed another effort against a post from Kevin Horlock's cross before City claimed their second.

Player of the Year Ali Benarbia was the instigator yet again, threading the ball through on 26 minutes for Goater to stride away to belt his 32nd of the season past Beasant.

Pompey pulled a goal back when Prosinecki swung over a corner, Kevin Harper flicked the ball on and Courtney Pitt bundled the ball over the line at the near post.

Huckerby got the ball past Beasant on 72 minutes, but once again was given offside.

On 86 minutes when Niclas Jensen's ball into the box was guided past Beasant by Macken - City's 108th league goal of the season to equal their best ever haul.

Man City: Nash, Pearce, Dunne, Howey, Horlock, Jensen, Benarbia, Wright-Phillips, Tiatto, Goater, Huckerby. Subs: Royce, Jihai, Wiekens, Berkovic, Macken.

Portsmouth: Beasant, Buxton, Primus, Vincent, Wilson, Quashie, Prosinecki, Harper, Summerbell, Pitt, Vine. Subs: Tardif, Barrett, Miglioranzi, Cooper, Brady.

Referee: R Furnandiz (Doncaster).

BBC Sport's Stuart Hall
"Unrestrained joy for City"
Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.


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