Nottingham Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
MAINE ROAD was a foreigner-free zone for contrasting reasons and a contrary encounter was the result. Both sides resembled promising mid-table teams who looked on the verge of better times.
Forest, well short of their best, almost had to pay for Bryan Roy going Dutch this week, but they escaped with a point, while City should have won despite omitting Roy's compatriot, Michel Vonk, from a defence still lacking Keith Curle. Their attack lacked the injured German, Uwe Rosler.
The perversity of the afternoon was encapsulated in the confrontation between Stan Collymore, left to fend for himself up front, and Ian Brightwell. A 6ft 2in striker against a 5ft 10in centre-back does not look much of a contest, but the fact that the bigger man scored twice should not lead to the obvious conclusion. In fact, Brightwell coped with Collymore better than many have this season.
Frank Clark, Forest's manager, refused to speculate on the impact of Roy's absence, but it is unlikely that Clark would have opted for the five- man midfield, who tended to pass their way into a maze of their own making.
A rare, positive combination between Stone, Gemmill and Haland down the right brought Collymore his first goal from Stone's low cross, but, typically, Forest surrendered the initiative to a side who, until the second half, gave the impression of being more dangerous than they really were. Paul Walsh was as busy as ever and Peter Beagrie made a positive contribution on the left, but it was Niall Quinn who was the real reason that Forest's defence sometimes dissolved into near panic.
The tall, awkward Irishman volleyed in the equaliser after first getting his head to Beagrie's cross and thrust in his second leveller from close range as the match threw up yet another spell of Sunday morning park football that punctuated the entertainment. Mark Crossley's failure to cope with an innocuous corner had led to Quinn's second, while the failure of any City defender, including the stand-in goalkeeper Andy Dibble, to challenge after Crossley's clearance cleared Brightwell, had presented Collymore with his second shortly before.
Continuing the perversity, City's third goal, the best of the match - driven in by Steve Lomas after Quinn had chested Andy Hill's long centre into his path - was followed by the strangest.
So many City players threw themselves at Stuart Pearce's injury-time free-kick that they fell over each other, Dibble being knocked almost senseless by a collision with Quinn. They were still getting up when Ian Woan floated the ball back over them from the edge of the area.
Goals: Collymore (23) 0-1; Quinn (42) 1-1; Collymore (52) 1-2; Quinn (55) 2-2; Lomas (70) 3-2; Woan (90) 3-3.
Manchester City (4-4-2): Dibble; Edghill, Brightwell, Hill, Phelan; Summerbee, Lomas, Flitcroft, Beagrie; Walsh, Quinn. Substitutes not used: Mike, McMahon, Coton (gk).
Nottingham Forest (4-5-1): Crossley; Haland, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill (Lee, 71), Phillips, Bohinen, Black (Woan, 71); Collymore.
Referee: P Durkin (Portland).