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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Man City back to winning ways
Man City's Steve Howey tries to hold off Clinton Morrison
Clinton Morrison tries to challenge Steve Howey
Birmingham City 0-2 Manchester City

Manchester City's miserable run of six games without a win came to an end as goals from Sun Jihai and Nicolas Anelka gave them the points against Birmingham City.

City had struggled in recent weeks, dropping into the bottom three, but they battled hard for a deserved win.


Today I compromised my values a little, I put a team out to do a job and it worked
Man City boss Kevin Keegan

In a game with few clear-cut chances, they struck first after 24 minutes when Marc-Vivien Foe found Eyal Berkovic out wide.

The Israeli international whipped in a cross which Sun Jihai met with a diving header from 12 yards, giving Nico Vaesen no chance.

It was Jihai's first goal for the club and broke City's long record without a goal.

The visitors were good value for their lead and as Birmingham continued to press forward, the hard-working Anelka clinched the win.

He struck three minutes from time - his first goal in five matches and his fifth of the season - to secure the points.

The Blues had their moments but failed to capitalise, with Paul Devlin and Darryl Powell among those to spurn reasonable chances.

Steve Bruce's side finally started to build up some momentum towards the interval.

Birmingham almost equalised just on half-time but Carlo Nash, in for flu victim Peter Schmeichel, did well to save Clinton Morrison's left-footed volley.

Stern John and Nicolas Anelka challenge for the ball
Stern John challenges Nicolas Anelka

Keegan made a half-time substitution, bringing on Kevin Horlock for Niclas Jensen who had picked up a first-half knock.

Bruce would have been looking for a positive response from his side, but it was their opponents who were first to threaten danger after Goater has flicked on a long throw from Jihai.

Birmingham could not put their game together, with Distin cutting out a pass from Morrison towards John and then Nash easily holding a centre from Lazaridis.

The home fans were becoming increasingly frustrated by their side's inept performance, which mirrored that in the last outing at St Andrews against Newcastle three weeks ago.

Devlin was getting little chance to shine on the right flank against the solid and tenacious Danny Tiatto - back in the side after suspension.


I still believe we've got enough quality to stay in this division
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

And it was little surprise when he was replaced by Geoff Horsfield after 63 minutes.

Nash comfortably dealt with a low effort from John and as the game entered the last quarter there was little indication the home side could pull the game out of the fire.

John mishit a shot into the hands of Nash when Savage looked better placed to take advantage of Horsfield's pass.

Despite the pressure an equaliser did not look on the cards and Anelka's strike put the result beyond any doubt..



Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna (Hughes 79), Purse, Tebily, Powell (Kirovski 87), Devlin (Horsfield 63), Savage, Cisse, Lazaridis, Morrison, John.
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Carter.

Booked: Tebily, Purse.

Man City: Nash, Dunne, Howey, Distin, Jihai, Berkovic, Foe, Tiatto, Jensen (Horlock 45), Anelka, Goater (Huckerby 90).
Subs Not Used: Flowers, Wright-Phillips, Benarbia.

Booked: Jihai, Foe.

Attendance: 29,316

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Pat Murphy
"It was a puffing-at-the-cigar type victory"
Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan
"I think we deserved the three points"
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