Taylor goal starts City celebration

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The Independent Football

They were celebrating in Manchester last night. Not for City but for the city which had a party held to mark its being rebuilt after the IRA bomb. The festivities for the football club will have to wait, although the signs are they, too, could be on their way.

They were celebrating in Manchester last night. Not for City but for the city which had a party held to mark its being rebuilt after the IRA bomb. The festivities for the football club will have to wait, although the signs are they, too, could be on their way.

Only when City are permanent fixtures in the Premiership will they be seen to be properly reconstructed but at least all the bricks are laid in the same direction for a change. This win, secured by goals by Gareth Taylor, Shaun Goater and Kevin Horlock, puts them four points clear at the top of the First Division, an advantage that only looked likely to be challenged when Geoff Thomas briefly reduced the arrears to 2-1.

"It's been a good start, but that's all it is," the City manager, Joe Royle, keeps repeating, anxious to prick the bubbles of optimism that have been created by his side's table-topping start to the season. He should worry, City have spent so long with beleaguered attached to their name, their supporters resemble the man who spent his life looking anxiously to the heavens for fear the sky would fall down.

Weather wise they were not far wrong because the players came out into a downpour severe enough to draw admiration even in Manchester. It cannot have been much fun being an uncovered Barnsley supporter in the temporary stand and the attraction of their evening was even harder to locate within 11 minutes in which they saw their team go 2-0 behind.

Both were from headers and asked questions of a Barnsley defence that looked overpowered. The first came from a long, hopeful seventh-minute punt by Richard Edghill, who was barely out of his own half. There seemed little danger, but Taylor rose high and his header had just enough power to elude Kevin Miller, who looked slow to react.

Miller saved his side four minutes later when he blocked Goater's muscular charge, although it was only a reprieve because from the resultant corner the City striker outjumped Chris Morgan and crashed his header in from six yards.

After a start like that Barnsley could have crumpled, yet they took the game to City and would have not been flattered if they had pulled a goal back before half-time. When Mike Sheron had the opportunity he miskicked, however, but the warning was there and one that was not heeded.

That negligence came home to roost when City's lead was suddenly halved. A cross from the right was headed against the post by Thomas and as the home defenders stood still Sheron and Thomas moved for the rebound, the latter getting the touch.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Weaver; Edghill, Wiekens, Jobson, Granville; Jeff Whitley, Pollock, Horlock, Tiatto (Crooks, 80); Goater (Peacock, 80), Taylor. Substitutes not used: Cooke, Wright-Phillips, Wright (gk).

Barnsley (4-4-2): Miller; Eaden, Morgan, Curtis, Barker; Hignett, Tinkler, Appleby (Barnard, 79), Thomas (McClare, 75); Shipperley (Dyer, 76), Sheron. Substitutes not used: Hristov, Bengtsson.

Referee: T Leake (Darwen).

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