Football: Spirited City find a dynamo

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. .1

Penrice 28

Manchester City. . . . 1

Rocastle 55

Attendance: 13,474

LIFE as a Manchester City supporter does not have many high spots, but yesterday must count as one. United lose, and you come to London and pick up a valuable point. It's hardly paradise, but it will do.

For much of the time City were disjointed and directionless, and in the second half of a poor game QPR could and probably should have won. But City fought all the way, and they could draw some encouragement from the debut of Uwe Rosler, a former East German international signed on loan from Dynamo Dresden.

'Uwe, Uwe,' the City fans chanted - somewhat disconcertingly for those to whom the name only brings back memories of Uwe Seeler, the man who helped knock England out of the 1970 World Cup. But City have obviously found a new volkhero. The rangy Rosler, a combative presence in the air, also showed a surprisingly neat touch on the ground, enabling him to play an important part in City's 55th-minute equaliser.

QPR had gone ahead after 28 minutes, reward both for having had most of the ideas, and for the pressure Gary Penrice put Andy Dibble under as he collected a back pass from Steve McMahon on the edge of the area. Dibble took an extra touch, and when he got round to hoofing the ball way, it ricocheted off the approaching Penrice into the net.

With Clive Wilson and Trevor Sinclair forging a profitable partnership down the left, Ray Wilkins in one of his more probing moods, and Les Ferdinand, in spite of problems with his foot, his usual menacing self in the air, the game looked there for QPR's taking. But City started to string a few passes together and worked their way back into contention.

Right on half time a floated pass from Mike Sheron found David Rocastle in space at the far post, but he dwelt on the ball and Jan Stejskal was off his line to snuff out the danger. Then Penrice twice went close for QPR, before City struck.

Rosler created the chance, turning unexpectedly away from the QPR defence and then releasing Rocastle. From the edge of the area he shot powerfully and Stejskal seemed unsure whether to punch the ball or catch it. It ended up squirming through his legs and over the line. A mini pitch invasion by some over-excited City fans was quickly dealt with.

QPR, ring-rusty according to their manager Gerry Francis, after playing only once in the previous six weeks, would still have secured the win had either Sinclair or Ferdinand been fractionally closer with long-range efforts after Dibble had been caught out of position. But only one Manchester team was destined for defeat yesterday.