Football: White seals it for City

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The Independent Online
Manchester City . . .3

Blackburn Rovers. . .2

MANCHESTER CITY answered the call of their manager, Peter Reid, for consistency at home with the sort of erratic performance they have made their trademark. But then he will forgive them indiscretions when they can conjure victories as dramatic as this.

Their recovery from an early two-goal deficit was completed by David White's magnificent, 25- yard strike 11 minutes from the end. The winger had been conspicuous by his absence from much of City's revival, yet the quality of his decisive contribution was worthy of a vibrant match.

Blackburn began like a team intent on releasing the frustration of their 5-2 midweek drubbing by Coventry, combining and creating with far greater conviction than City, and had the lead in five minutes. Mike Newell reacted quicker than the rest to Tim Sherwood's flighted free kick, stole a crucial yard, and his glanced header flashed across Tony Coton and just inside the far post.

Newell's very presence played an important part in Rover's second, after 15 minutes. Jason Wilcox's low cross put the responsibility on Terry Phelan and the full-back, conscious of Newell, almost inevitably turned the ball into his own goal.

A third and perhaps mortal blow loomed as Wilcox broke through, but Coton's legs blocked the shot and encouraged City to believe fate might not be against them after all. White headed over from Rick Holden's centre and the winger's service brought a goal in the 34th minute. Mike Sheron climbed at the far post to somehow force a header through a crowded goal area.

Suddenly, City were transformed and Maine Road was alight. The heat, however, got the better of Steve McMahon and he was punished with a booking, which puts him out of City's FA Cup fifth-round tie against Barnsley.

City's determination hauled them level, albeit courtesy of a 75th minute penalty, which Keith Curle converted. The stage was set for a winner and White made a spectacular if long overdue entrance. He cut in from the right and thundered a left-foot shot, which cleared Bobby Mimms and dipped beneath the bar.

Manchester City: T Coton, R Ranson, T Phelan, S McMahon, K Curle, M Vonk, D White, M Sheron, N Quinn, F Simpson (K Ingebrigtsen, 75 mins), R Holden. Subs not used: P Reid, M Margetson (GK). Manager: P Reid.

Blackburn Rovers: B Mimms, N Marker, T Dobson, T Sherwood, C Hendry, K Moran (F Ireland, 82 mins), P Andersson, M Atkins, R Wegerle, M Newell, J Wilcox. Subs not used: S Ireland, D Collier (GK). Manager: K Dalglish.

Referee: M Peck (Kendall)

Goals: Newell (0-1, 5 mins); Phelan (og, 0-2, 15 mins); Sheron (1-2, 34 mins); Curle (pen, 2-2, 75 mins); White (3-2, 79 mins).