Football: Rosler keeps City afloat

Manchester City 1 Rosler 65 Sheffield Wednesday 0 Attendance: 30,898
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The Independent Online
THERE were reasons to celebrate at Maine Road as City savoured three points and the humiliation of Manchester United. But their day would have been complete if United's demise had not been at the hands of their fellow strugglers Southampton.

The only thing to be said of this victory was that City worked hard for it but even a listless Wednesday seemed to be too much for them until Uwe Rosler scored the only goal in the 65th minute.

The first wobble came after only 11 minutes when Regi Blinker laid a chance on a plate for both David Hirst and Mark Degryse. Hirst chose to take the shot and fluffed it badly. On the half-hour Hirst blew the chance again, this time with a wild thump high over the bar.

Even when they were behind and with five minutes left on the clock Mark Pembridge struggled through the City defence but, with Hirst free and unmarked on the six-yard line, chose to shoot. Eike Immel had little trouble smothering the shot.

Under no relegation stress, Wednesday could afford to experiment with their formation and their manager David Pleat paid Georgi Kinkladze the compliment of man-marking him with Peter Atherton. Consequently the other Georgian, Mikhail Kavelashvila, had a forlorn afternoon until Niall Quinn replaced him in the 63rd minute.

That was a decisive moment. With his first touch of the ball, the Irishman gathered a throw-in on the left and won the shirt- tugging with Jon Newsome to throw an early ball in the direction of Rosler for the goal.

As the visitors decided to change up a gear after the goal Kinkladze found more freedom and 10 minutes from time made good use of it to open the Wednesday defence and feed Mark Phillips on the left. Kevin Pressman was exposed but the youngster rattled the foot of his post.

City were fidgety and nervous for most of the game and Pressman wasn't called upon to make a real save until the 40th minute. Then, five minutes later, he had to be at his considerable best to touch over a Steve Lomas volley. The young Irishman's urgency and enthusiasm in midfield formed the brightest aspect of City's 90 minutes. He must be one of the pillars on which manager Alan Ball will have to rebuild this City side, relegation or no.