Football: City suffer another humiliation

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The Independent Online
Derick Allsop

Manchester City 0

Huddersfield Town 1

Just when Manchester City thought they could sink no lower, they were humiliated by a Huddersfield Town languishing bottom even after last night's triumph at Maine Road.

Rob Edwards' goal, 14 minutes from the end, was worthy of winning more distinguished matches, but he and his colleagues did their once illustrious club proud. Only three desperate late saves by Martyn Margetson spared City further ignominy yet not the wrath of a long tormented crowd, who sang: "You're not fit to wear the shirt" and filled the stadium with the boos and whistles as the players, head bowed, trudged away.

Two thousand City fans continued their protest outside the ground long after the match, demanding the resignation of the man they once hailed their saviour, chairman Francis Lee. He was conspicuous by his absence. It is understood he was committed to a business engagement.

An average attendance of 26,000 testifies to the commitment of their followers although some may consider it a compulsion bordering on the certifiable. There is an almost evangelical lure to Maine Road, and yet the faithful sent in the players at half-time with howls of derision ringing in their ears.

City's manager Frank Clark responded to his latest setback, the 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Port Vale, by plucking another youngster from the ranks, this time Ray Kelly, a striker.

Huddersfield deputed a man to mark Georgi Kinkladze in the belief they would improve their odds by playing 10 against 10. Jonathan Dyson duly tracked the little Georgian.

Jeff Whitley relished the extra space to run into and lifted the spirits of the natives merely by earning a corner. Kelly revealed a smart turn to cross and test the visitors defence, but his hit-and-hope effort was symptomatic of City's play.

Huddersfield fashioned attacks of greater purpose and City were thankful to reach half-time unscathed. Their most dangerous attack came courtesy of the ever-willing Paul Dickov, whose low shot was gathered by Vince Bartram.

Kinkladze at last shed his body warmer to line up a free kick, but the execution was uncharacteristically woeful. His delivery to Dickov was more menacing, the volley blocked. Whitley's long-range missile was turned away by Bartram.

Huddersfield confirmed City's worst fears by taking the lead with a stunning goal after 76 minutes. Paul Dalton crossed from the right and Edwards volleyed his shot from the left across Margetson into the far bottom corner.

Manchester City (3-4-1-2): Margetson; Symons, Wiekens, Vaughan; Edghill (Brown, 39 min), Jeff Whitley (Scully, 76), Brannan, Horlock; Kinkladze; Kelly (Conlon, 51), Dickov.

Huddersfield Town (3-5-2): Bartram; Gray, Morrison, Edmundson; Jenkins, Richardson, Dyson, Horne, Edwards; Dalton, Stewart (Lawson, 65). Substitutes not used: Burnett, Dyer.

Referee: G Frankland (Middlesbrough).