Wright-Phillips' rare headed goal brough City level just four minutes after falling behind
By Phil Dawkes
Manchester City ensured a fifth-place Premier League finish by taking a point from a tepid final game at West Ham, who finished the season in 17th.
Luis Boa Morte capped his return to the Hammers side by neatly chipping the home team into a first-half lead.
But just four minutes later, Adam Johnson crossed for fellow winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to head City level.
Former West Ham favourite Carlos Tevez came off the bench and could have won it for City but chipped over.
While Europa League qualification will be scant consolation for having missed out on a Champions League place to Tottenham, Roberto Mancini's side can take solace from their highest Premier League finish.
Italian managers share the love
Having also attained their highest number of wins in a Premier League season and beaten their previous mark for goals scored, it is clear why City's owners feel Mancini deserves another chance to achieve their lofty ambitions, backed by "all the tools he needs" according to chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak.
If the Italian's recruitment of winger Johnson in January is anything to go by, it will be money well entrusted.
Johnson was the stand-out player of what was an otherwise low-key, end-of-season affair and with Franco Baldini - the assistant to England coach Fabio Capello - watching on, could have played himself into England's World Cup party.
He was a constant torment to the home defence, switching wings with another England hopeful Wright-Phillips to great effect and also providing the cross from which his diminutive fellow winger scored City's equalising goal.
The former Middlesbrough man dug out an excellent cross from the right which found Wright-Phillips lurking at the back post to head the ball back across goal and in.
That strike came just four minutes after Boa Morte, on his first appearance since the final game of last season, latched on to a neat back-heel pass from Alessandro Diamanti to chip West Ham into a 17th-minute lead.
Johnson remained the key figure in the game thereafter, sparking unsuccessful penalty appeals midway through the half after tumbling under what was a well-timed Matthew Upson tackle and then later laying on a good chance for Emmanuel Adebayor, which was saved by West Ham keeper Robert Green.
However, West Ham have England hopefuls of their own including Scott Parker, who in typically industrious fashion kept his side competitive and demonstrated enough to suggest he could be worthy of inclusion if City's Gareth Barry fails to recover from an ankle injury in time.
Zola admits West Ham underachieved
Either side of half-time, Parker ran with purpose at the City defence before finding Araujo Ilan, but the striker struck the outside of the post with his 20-yard effort from the first opportunity and then saw a second shot blocked by City's on-loan keeper Marton Fulop.
Hammers co-owner David Sullivan implied recently that Parker was the Hammers most prized asset by suggesting he was the only player not for sale this summer.
However, he has been far less effusive in relation to manager Gianfranco Zola, using the programme notes to say that the team and manager have underperformed during a season that saw the Hammers finish fourth bottom.
Man City had chances to finish fourth - Mancini
If this was to be Zola's final game he can be proud of the way his players acquitted themselves, particularly during a second half in which they matched their opponents and had Carlton Cole or his replacement Guillermo Franco shown greater composure when shooting they could have signed off with a victory.
However, the three points could also have been heading back to Manchester had Wright-Phillips done better with another header from a Johnson cross or substitute Tevez been able to get his close-range chip on target instead of landing it on the roof of the net.
The miss was in contrast to three seasons ago, when Tevez saved the Hammers from relegation by scoring the winner against Manchester United on the final day of the season - a moment that must have been reflected on at full time as he donned a West Ham shirt to the applause of the home fans.
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola:
"I think it was a good game but it was obviously an end of season game between two teams which didn't need the points.
"This season has been one where the whole team hasn't achieved what it could have achieved.
"But I take a lot of positives because this season is one that has made me and all the players better."
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:
"I think we played a good game and had plenty of chances to score.
"It is important that we finished in fifth position and it is an important result for us.
"And our supporters were fantastic today so congratulations."
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