Cool Collymore

Nottingham Forest1 Collymore 18 Manchester City0 Attendance: 28,882
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The Independent Online
The River Trent alongside the City Ground sparkled in the end of season sun. One could make out strange, light blue shapes moving in slow, repetitive patterns through the heat haze. But enough of Manchester City - Forest made this a one-sided game and Stan Collymore, almost certainly playing his last home match in Nottingham, used the first half for an international-class exhibition.

Collymore had the ball in the net after two minutes but was narrowly offside. City's dilatory defence were pressured into mistakes, especially by the indefatigable Steve Stone, who just failed to reach a subtle reverse pass by Collymore. Stone then gift-wrapped a chance for Ian Woan, who headed high. Woan took advantage of a misjudgement by Nicky Summerbee to crack a deflected shot wide.

Forest were rampant, breaking at speed to overrun the visitors. City are attractive as ever, but their formation leaves them vulnerable to any opposing midfield which values expediencies such as tracking back and compressing space as much as it cultivates fine passing and weaving runs.

The procession towards John Burridge's goal continued until Collymore won the game with a slightly freakish 19th-minute goal. Using his upper body strength to hold off Keith Curle while juggling a bouncing ball twice on his head, Collymore mishit past Burridge and in off the post.

Jason Lee, who replaced Bryan Roy after he injured himself in a collision with Burridge, went on to make a nuisance of himself in the Collymore mould, dropping deep and turning to run at defenders.

City, who had only a clutch of unconvincing Niall Quinn headers and two shots from a distance, sorely missed Uwe Rsler, out with a groin strain.

Collymore's brilliance established, he showed his other side in squaring up to Alan Kernaghan. Collymore sometimes gives the impression of weeping at a split fingernail, but one would love to see him unpicking defences in next year's Uefa Cup. The betting is, however, he will leave the Trent behind him.

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