Football: Symons sickener

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Manchester City 0

Wolves 1

Symons og 42


A tale of two clubs, desperately striving to regain the Premier status their support and financiers require, was settled by a moment featuring two players enjoying sharply contrasting fortunes.

Wolves' striker Don Goodman and City's Welsh international defender Kit Symons were the protagonists in the 42nd-minute goal that continued Wolves' charge up the First Division table and added to the malaise shrouding Maine Road.

There seemed little danger as, just before half-time, Symons and his team-mate Tony Vaughan combined to challenge Goodman as he raced towards goal, having collected a through-ball from Simon Osborn.

Goodman, a physical and tireless presence in the Wolves front line, used his guile and bulk to shrug aside Vaughan's attempt to challenge, but Symons appeared to have timed his own covering tackle to perfection. He reached the loose ball first, but could only watch in dismay as his sliced left-footed clearance flew into the top corner of the City goal.

Symons is completely devoid of confidence and, following a nightmarish display at Stockport last week, lost the club captaincy. Goodman, in contrast, is enjoying a rich vein of form after returning to Mark McGhee's first team, following Steve Bull's knee operation.

Two goals in a win over QPR last week were followed by a man of the match performance at Maine Road. Managers have a habit of being able to rewrite football history and McGhee, who almost sold Goodman to Ipswich for a paltry pounds 250,000 two weeks ago, is no exception.

Wolves should have won the game in even more comfort, the lively young striker Robbie Keane missing at least three good chances. Their hosts, a team as out of luck as their ex-captain, could only look back upon a missed header from the substitute Uwe Rosler and a 40-yard chip by the same player.

McGhee could afford some words of consolation for his opposite number, Frank Clark: "If they continue to work as hard as that, they will turn it around, nobody could have any complaints about their commitment."