Football: Richards' strike ends City's fight

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The Independent Online
TEN-MAN Southampton won through to the third round of the Worthington Cup at The Dell last night in the kind of dramatic fashion more readily associated with their opponents, last season's Second Division play- off winners, Manchester City. But the Premiership team's gritty victory had already had some of the gloss taken off it, when Mark Hughes, the Wales player-manager, was sent off for the eighth time in his career, after 89 minutes, following an elbow in the face of Richard Edghill.

The Manchester City defender collapsed during the break prior to extra time and was carried to the dressing-room on a stretcher with what Joe Royle, the City manager, described as "delayed concussion". He said: "He's been vomiting violently and been taken to hospital. He was never right after the incident, which, incidentally, was only a yellow card."

City, who had already had to reorganise their defence for this second leg because both their established centre-backs were injured, now had to do so again. Extra time was only two minutes old when Dean Richards scored the winning goal with a deflected shot following a corner by substitute Matt Le Tissier.

It was a brave effort by the First Division leaders. Their manager had vowed that he would "have a go". They did just that and by Dave Jones's own admission, his side could have been three down in the opening minutes. All this without the fleet-footed winger Terry Cooke, who had had to fly down to Southampton after missing the team bus when he failed to produce an on-the-spot urine sample for the Football Association's doping team. No one, it seems, takes the proverbial out of City these days, not even the FA.

But City seemed to be taking it out of the opposition as Mark Kennedy and Paul Dickov both found themselves with just Paul Jones to beat but failed. No matter. After 11 minutes Kennedy fired in one of those devilish low crosses of his which was tailor-made for the diminutive Dickov, who glanced his header home. But it did not take Southampton long to uncover the soft centre.

Five minutes later Edghill tripped Trond Soltvedt and Jason Dodd equalised from the spot. How Saints did not win a second penalty after 25 minutes only Rob Harris and his officials will know as Horlock outdid his own keeper, who had just made a marvellous one-handed stop from James Beattie, by clearly handling on line. One did not need to be a lip-reader to know what Hughes then said to Mr Harris, who booked him.

Four minutes later Hughes held up the ball up for Matthew Oakley to score with a shot which may have found Nicky Weaver unsighted. City's vulnerability in central defence found them out again after 58 minutes when no one bothered to close down Oakley and he buried a right-foot shot just inside a post. However, two goals by Shaun Goater in the final 14 minutes must have brought back memories for City of that extraordinary play-off final against Gillingham, but this time there was no happy ending.

Southampton (4-4-2): Jones; Dodd, Richards, Lundekvam, Benali; Kachloul, Soltvedt, Oakley, Bridge (Le Tissier, 82); Beattie (Boa Morte, 82), Hughes. Substitutes not used: Almeida, Le Tissier, Marsden, Moss (gk).

Manchester City (4-4-2): Weaver; Crooks, Edghill (Fenton, 90), Jobson, Tiatto (Cooke, 112); Jeff Whitley, Bishop, Horlock, Kennedy; Goater, Dickov (Allsopp, 98). Substitutes not used: Taylor, Fenton, McKinney (gk).

Referee: R Harris (Oxford).