Football: More Maine Road pain
Sunday 15 February 1998
ONLY goal difference is now keeping Manchester City from second bottom of the First Division. City were bereft of creativity without the guile of their injured midfielder Georgi Kinkladze, and this result, against struggling Bury, marks a new low point in City's history.
Their manager Frank Clark is one of the most likeable men in football, but no one deserves the misfortune which condemned his side to their latest defeat.
Paul Beesley, one of 15 players transfer-listed by Clark, came on as a 50th-minute substitute for injured captain Ian Brightwell. He got his first touch, four months after his last City appearance, three minutes later and promptly headed the ball into the back of his own net. The ball had been crossed by Mark Patterson, Paul Butler headed down at the far post and Beesley stooped to head past keeper Tommy Wright from a few yards out. Butler claimed it, but it was Beesley's final touch.
With little sign of a comeback on the cards, it was too much for City supporters to take. Calls for the head of Clark and chairman Francis Lee followed and the City team were booed off at half-time and at the end. A couple of thousand continued their protest outside the ground afterwards.
Bury, returning to Maine Road for a League match for the first time in 32 years, were not much better and have no more reason than City to believe they can stay up. But the significance of the result did not escape their players and they staged a hearty celebration in front of their fans before being cheered off by the home contingent too.
Clark said afterwards: "Don't knock the fans, they're entitled to show their feelings. We've got to give them some reason to get behind us. I don't feel let down."
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