Football: Surreal tale of two relegated Citys

Stoke City 2 Manchester City 5

THE cover of the Stoke fanzine neatly encapsulated what was at stake: who gets to visit Macclesfield next season?" The answer, after an almost surreal afternoon littered with goals, gaffes and grim scenes of crowd violence, was that both Stoke and Manchester City will be contesting Second Division derbies in the cramped confines of the Moss Rose.

In many ways, it was an archetypal City performance. Perhaps only they could score five times away from home and still end up being relegated to English football's third tier for the first time in their 111-year history. As if to deepen an irony that needed no embellishing, Alan Ball, who had previously taken both clubs down, steered Portsmouth to survival at their expense.

Thirty years ago next week, thousands of City followers laid siege to Newcastle to see the team of Bell, Lee and Summerbee beat Manchester United to the League championship with a 4-3 win on the final day. This time a similar exodus again witnessed seven goals, though in a starkly contrasting atmosphere and with a diametrically different outcome.

Fears that as many as 3,000 Mancunians might have acquired tickets for Stoke sections of the Britannia Stadium, proved unfounded. Only small pockets had infiltrated the home areas, but their presence provoked at least four outbreaks of fisticuffs in the stands.

Police later reported that there had been 30 ejections and 15 arrests. The violence continued after the match when rival fans, hurling bricks and bottles, became engaged in a pitched battle outside the ground. Ambulance officers reported 20 casualties, two with fractured cheekbones.

The match had not reached the 10-minute mark before it was held up as visiting supporters sprinted across the pitch to join their fellow fans. From Stoke's point of view, the sadness was that their team had no such stomach for the fray.

Joe Royle had sent out a positive City line-up, featuring three strikers, and Stoke were already struggling to contain their eager raiding by the time the first goal went in shortly after the half-hour.

A long, hopeful ball from the left-back position by Kevin Horlock badly exposed a square defence. Shaun Goater, Royle's deadline-day signing from Bristol City, easily lobbed Neville Southall.

Peter Thorne briefly threatened to restore parity, but Southall remained by far the busier keeper. He turned back the clock to defy Richard Edghill and Lee Bradbury before City doubled their advantage early in the second half.

Horlock's corner found Goater rising unchallenged. Southall did well to parry the Bermudan's header only for Paul Dickov to volley in the loose ball.

A rare Stoke corner led to their reducing the deficit through Thorne, though by now news of Port Vale and Portsmouth's leads was filtering through. Undaunted, within 30 seconds Bradbury restored City's two-goal cushion with another free header, while Goater outpaced Steven Tweed to put the result beyond doubt.

Another of Stoke's spasmodic attacks led to Thorne heading his second goal. By then, however, the game had the air of a testimonial match, and thousands of Stoke fans had left before Horlock swept in the final goal.

At the end Stoke slunk away to ponder their second demotion to the Second Division in seven years, and the search for yet another new manager. Alan Durban, who took the helm on a caretaker basis following the brief reign of Chris Kamara, said: "My job was to try to shore things up, but I think we'd already hit the iceberg. It was a fairly bizarre match in terms of the stoppage early on."

City's players looked almost sheepish as they took the rapturous acclaim of their followers. Georgi Kinkladze, who had flown in overnight from Georgia's match in Tunisia and appeared as substitute, threw his boots into their midst and reciprocated the bowing of his devotees.

Kinkladze will not be around when City start life among the Lincolns and Wigans - he is now expected to join Ajax - and Royle warned that other "big decisions" would be taken about personnel over the next week.

"That seemed to sum up our season," City's manager of 15 games sighed. "It was probably our best performance of the season. We got five goals and could have had more but for Neville. But we're not going down because of one match or one year. It's been a succession of things."

Royle went on to praise the "truly amazing" loyalty of the City faithful. "We've just gone down and they're cheering us off," he said. As he spoke, several of their number, were embroiled in the fighting outside the ground. Long after the broken bones have mended, there will still be broken hearts to heal.

Goals: Goater (32) 0-1; Dickov (49) 0-2; Thorne (63) 1-2; Bradbury (64) 1-3; Goater (70) 1-4; Thorne (86) 2-4; Horlock (90) 2-5.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Southall; Pickering, Sigurdsson, Tweed, Heath; Keen, Kavanagh, Wallace, Forsyth; Lightbourne (Taaffe, 57), Thorne. Substitutes not used: Whittle, Holsgrove.

Manchester City (3-4-3): Margetson; Symons, Wiekens, Vaughan; Edghill, Pollock, Jim Whitley (Brannan, ht), Horlock; Goater (Kinkladze, 73), Bradbury, Dickov (Jeff Whitley, 90).

Referee: M. Bailey (Cambridge)

Bookings: Stoke: Wallace, Thorne. Man City: Edghill.

Man of the match: Goater.

Attendance: 28,000.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little