Football: Manchester City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 - City are thrown to the Wolves

ROBBIE KEANE made it a frustrating return to the First Division for City who, despite a siege lasting most of the second-half, could not find a way to wipe out his decisive goal.

Keane, a player most Wolves supporters feared would have moved onwards and upwards by now, struck on the half-hour, meeting Carl Robinson's flick- on and hammering a right-footed shot from a difficult angle between Nicky Weaver and his near post. For all the effort expended and the pressure exerted, it was not a finish you could visualise any of City's strikers matching.

Defeat was a poor reward for a performance that did not lack enterprise. From the start, City's priority was to get the ball to their wingers, Terry Cooke and the summer signing from Wimbledon, Mark Kennedy.

It was reminiscent of some of Joe Royle's buccaneering and highly successful Oldham sides, but an important side of the equation went missing when Danny Granville, on loan for three months from Leeds, went off after 14 minutes with a hamstring injury.

Even in his absence, and despite Haavard Flo hitting the post with a header, City continued to make the running. Gerard Wiekens almost forced in a Cooke free-kick, Mike Stowell made a flying one-handed save from Andy Morrison's header and Kennedy put a low cross right through the six- yard box.

Keane's beautifully taken goal jolted them out of their stride and, even when they tore into Wolves after the break, there was more quantity and quality about their attacks.

Amid a string of corners and a couple of frantic goalmouth scrambles, Wiekens had a header cleared off the line and Morrison put one just wide. A Wolves defence expertly marshalled by the 35-year-old former City captain Keith Curle and the equally impressive Neil Emblen was never seriously inconvenienced.

Even in the six minutes, generously added on by way of a last chance to retrieve the situation, City could not fashion the clear-cut opportunities they needed, although Gareth Taylor put a header over the bar.

"I don't think we've been at our best, but it's been a bit of a smash and grab from their point of view," Royle said.

The Wolves manager, Colin Lee, joked when a mobile phone rang during his press conference that the caller might be John Gregory, who has already had a pounds 5m bid on behalf of Aston Villa for Keane turned down.

Royle said before the game that the calibre of the opposition in their first half-dozen games would tell City much about the job that lies ahead in this division. Considering that Wolves are in one of their quieter phases and not widely expected to be battering the Premiership door down, this result will be a sobering start for City's ever expectant fans.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Weaver; Edghill, Wiekens, Morrison, Granville (Crooks, 14; Taylor, 69); Cooke, Whitley, Horlock, Kennedy; Goater, Dickov. Substitutes not used: Bishop, Allsopp, Wright (gk).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Stowell; Muscat, Emblen, Curle, Naylor; Bazeley, Robinson, Osborn (Sedgley, 70), Sinton; (Simpson, 75) Flo, Keane (Corica, 81). Substitutes not used: Mautone (gk), Green.

Referee: T Heilbron (Newton Aycliffe).

Man of the match: Emblen.

Attendance: 31,755.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back