Football: White baits Barnsley with a composed double strike

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The Independent Online
Manchester City. . . . 2

Barnsley. . . . . . . .0

WHO says Mel Machin does not have a rapport with the Maine Road crowd? The Barnsley manager, sacked by City for his lack of popular appeal, was given a warm welcome back to his former stamping ground. And midway through the second half he was treated to a few rousing choruses of 'Machin, Machin, what's the score?'. By that stage, however, City had banished the prospect of a Cup upset and were luxuriating in the uncommon comfort of a two-goal lead courtesy of David White.

In the 43rd minute, Rick Holden collected the ball on the left flank. Instead of making a customary dash down the wing, he fed the ball on to Terry Phelan who reached the byline before crossing. White arrived on cue to meet the ball with a powerful header, Lee Butler managed to parry it but White touched down in time to sweep the loose ball in to the roof of the net.

The goal arrived as a relief for City, who had struggled to wrest the initiative from their Yorkshire visitors. Barnsley rose impressively to the occasion. As early as the seventh minute Gerry Taggart startled Tony Coton by getting a touch on Neil Redfearn's free- kick, but the ball went just wide.

As the half wore on City gained in composure but too often their elaborate passing movements went backwards rather than forwards - more retreat play than approach play.

Niall Quinn did get two free headers inside the box but he put neither of them on target. Indeed it was Barnsley who came closest to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour. Andy Liddell broke down the right and drilled in a low cross which Andy Rammell left to David Currie. Currie made space for himself before sending a low shot towards the corner. It seemed to have 'goal' clearly stamped on it but Coton got down to make a brilliant one-handed save.

After that Barnsley, for all their willingness and running, rarely created anything so clear-cut. They showed some purpose immediately after the restart when Rammell twice tested Coton at his near post, but soon after the hour the game was all but put beyond them.

Butler appeared to have saved the day with a courageous block at White's feet but his defenders failed to deal with the subsequent corner and White was able to force the loose ball through the melee on the goal-line.

Machin sent on Wayne Biggins for Liddell but by this stage Barnsley were able to disrupt City's composure only when one of their supporters staggered drunkenly on to the pitch.

City threatened to extend the lead as Holden and Mike Sheron both struck the post and Garry Flitcroft saw his 'goal' disallowed for offside.

A third strike, however, would have been a harsh reward for Barnsley who contributed much to an attractive and sporting contest.

Manchester City: T Coton; P Reid (A Hill, 74 min), T Phelan, F Simpson, K Curle, M Vonk, D White, M Sheron, N Quinn, G Flitcroft, R Holden. Sub not used: K Ingebrigsten. Player- Manager: P Reid.

Barnsley: L Butler; M Robinson, G Fleming (G Williams, 74 min), C Bishop, G Taggart, B O'Connell, D Currie, A Rammell, A Liddell (W Biggins, 66 min), N Redfearn, O Archdeacon. Manager: M Machin.

Referee: K Barrett (Coventry).

Goals: White (1-0, 43 min); White (2-0, 64 min).