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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 21:55 GMT
Man City 0-0 Watford
By Jonathan Stevenson

Watford keeper Richard Lee makes a save at Manchester City
Richard Lee makes a fine save to keep out Manchester City
Watford earned a priceless point in a lively contest at Manchester City.

After Nicky Weaver saved brilliantly from Damien Francis, City piled forward and Richard Lee had to be alert to deny Micah Richards and Georgios Samaras.

Watford posed problems but lacked a cutting edge, Dan Shittu's header that hit the crossbar their best chance.

City had more opportunities to win it and Lee pulled off a super stop to tip away Joey Barton's free-kick before he denied Bernardo Corradi from six yards.

606: DEBATE
MH

The hosts produced an enterprising end to the game, but in truth Watford did enough over the 90 minutes to deserve a point.

City boss Stuart Pearce had the luxury of naming an unchanged side after their stunning 3-1 win at Aston Villa last week.

They started full of confidence too, though Watford nearly caught them with a sucker-punch when Weaver magnificently clawed Francis' header away.

City's response was to attack with gusto. Richards' low drive was saved by Lee and the keeper had to be alert again to parry away Samaras' close-range header.

As the rain continued to pour down Watford gradually began to assert their authority and a succession of corners gave City plenty of defending to do.

It was turning into a ferocious encounter and Gavin Mahon was perhaps lucky to escape any reprimand for a shuddering challenge on Barton, who was flattened in the process.

Hameur Bouazza forced a smart reflex save from Weaver before the visitors came within inches of going ahead, Shittu heading against the bar from yet another corner.

Watford's attacking tempo was proving difficult for City to handle and although Ashley Young was a real handful, how the little frontman was missing the presence of his partner from last season, Marlon King.

However much possession they had and however much they threatened outside the final third, Watford simply did not look like they had the weapons to go on and win the game.

City were by no means on top but still managed to create the best chances, as Lee magnificently saved Barton's free-kick and then parried away Corradi's rebound.

Shittu was more than earning his recall to the Hornets side and he made a brilliant diving block to stop Hatem Trabelsi's drive flying goalwards.

By the end it was all City and Shittu blocked a Richards drive before Lee produced another memorable save to stick a hand out and deny Corradi.


  • Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce:
    "It was a tough evening. They were organised and aggressive and it was like football in the 1970s and 80s. I wish I could have got involved.

    "They stifled us. Their keeper made some saves and Dan Shittu got in some blocks, but this is the Premiership - teams don't just come and lie down.

    "The referee was right not to give us a penalty right at the end, too."

  • Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd:
    "We played well before the break but had to defend superbly in the second half. They are in form so to get a point here is really good for us.

    "I can't question the commitment. We gave the ball away too much, but we're evolving, it'll take time to get there.

    "It's not crucial that we entertain. We have to take what we can as the Premiership is an unforgiving league."


    Man City: Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Trabelsi, Barton, Reyna (Hamann 80), Vassell, Corradi, Samaras (Miller 64).
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Dickov, Onuoha.

    Booked: Vassell.

    Watford: Lee, Chambers, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart, Smith, Francis, Mahon, Bouazza, Henderson, Young.
    Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, McNamee, Bangura, Mariappa, Priskin.

    Booked: Francis, Mahon, Chambers.

    Att: 35,915.

    Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).

    SEE ALSO
    Man City v Watford photos
    04 Dec 06 |  Football


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