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BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
reports from Maine Road
 real 14k

Manchester City manager Joe Royle
"I'm disappointed not to have won. We deserved to win."
 real 14k

Sunday, 17 September, 2000, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
City and Boro end all square
Jeff Whitley
Jeff Whitley rides a tackle in the midfield battle
Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough

The Maine Road crowd would have travelled to the match between Manchester City and Middlesbrough confident of goals seeing that neither side had recorded a clean sheet prior to the match.

The first half however was an exhibition of probing play with no end product.

The home crowd, apart from cheering moments of ingenuity from the lively Republic of Ireland international Mark Kennedy, had to content themselves with harrassing Paul Ince.

The former Manchester United player was frequently booed and only raised a cheer when he delivered a wayward pass.

On target

The first shot on target came midway through the first half when Boro striker Joseph-Desire Job fired in an effort from 25 yards straight at the City custodian Nicky Weaver.

Gary Walsh, making his second debut for Middlesbrough, was also called into action only once in the first half.


There's no doubting I felt we deserved to win the game. We improved as the game went on and on the balance of play we should have won the game, although it was not a sparkling performance
  Joe Royle, Man City manager
Wanchope broke from the halfway line, and as the Boro defence threatened to close him out, he shot along the ground from the edge of the box, an effort which Walsh comfortably saved.

The best opportunity to break the deadlock would have come from a penalty, but Stephen Lodge turned down three shouts for fouls inside the box.

City had the best case for a spot-kick when Danny Tiatto, a substitute for the injured Gerard Wiekens, went down under a challenge from Jason Gavin, but to a carcophany of derision from the home support referee Lodge waved play on.

Urgency

The second half began in pouring rain and both teams showed greater urgency.

Within five minutes Weah showed a glimpse of the magic he can provide when he collected a loose ball on the left hand side of the penalty area.

With his back to goal the Liberian controlled the ball, bringing it down with his right foot, before turning to unleash a powerful shot which flew over Walsh's bar.

Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy was a constant threat
Moments later the deadlock was broken by an unlikely source.

Following the failings of the strikers on show Gianluca Festa strode forward to meet a corner on the penalty spot which he stooped to head beyond the outstretched Weaver.

Reward

The goal inspired City and their efforts were rewarded within ten minutes.

Boro thought they had dealt with the danger when they half-cleared a City free kick, but it fell to Tiatto.

The Australian prodded the ball over a static defence which Wanchope latched onto, extending a leg, to prod the ball past the flailing Walsh.

City coninued to press against a Middlesbrough side ravaged by injury, and prior to leaving the action Weah almost gave City the lead on 70 minutes.

Kennedy, who was a constant threat on either flank, chipped in a corner which Weah met with a fierce header, only to see Walsh tip it over the bar.

Boro saw out the remainder of the game firmly on the back foot and as City pushed for a winner the midfield battle grew in intensity which resulted in seven yellow cards, five of them for the visitors.

With ten minutes remaining Jeff Whitley fired a shot, one of three long range efforts, against the corner of the post and cross-bar.

In light of the depleted nature of their side, Middlesbrough will take heart from the draw, although after two soft goals it is back to the drawing board for both defences in their continued search for a clean sheet.


Manchester City: Weaver, Whitley, Howey, Prior, Ritchie, Weah, Haaland, Wiekens, Horlock, Wanchope, Kennedy.
Subs: Wright, Dickov, Bishop, Tiatto, Crooks.

Middlesbrough: Walsh, Fleming, Festa, Mustoe, Ince, Deane, O'Neill, Job, Campbell, Cooper, Gavin.
Subs: Gordon, Ricard, Summerbell, Whelan, Bennion.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).

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16 Sep 00 |  Man City
Kennedy heeds advice
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