Sun red card casts shadow over City

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The Independent Online

Sun Jihai is likely to receive a three-match suspension after being shown a straight red for bringing down Martin Paterson in the penalty area midway through the second half, and that would rule him out of the start of City's Premiership campaign. At least City are used to playing without the Chinese defender; he missed most of last season with a knee injury.

Bruce Dyer, who had earlier given Stoke the lead, could not convert the penalty, as David James pulled off a fine save. City, despite having to play with 10-men, drew level five minutes later with Andy Cole scoring his second goal since signing from Fulham. Bradley Wright-Phillips, perhaps keen to compensate for the departure of his brother Shaun, coolly put away the winner with only nine minutes remaining.

Stuart Pearce, City's manager, left out Joey Barton and the lively midfielder, who was sent home from City's pre-season tour to the Far East after an incident involving a fan, will not be included in the squad to face Sheffield Wednesday today as he will undergo counselling before being considered for action on the pitch. Pearce gave a first start to the striker Darius Vassell, bought for £2million from Aston Villa.

Stoke, under new coach Johan Boskamp, had their moments, but only Dyer, who is on trial, could find a way past James, scoring in the 52nd minute.

Francis Jeffers scored a penalty and Danny Murphy fired in a free-kick to give Charlton a 2-1 victory away to another Championship side, Watford, and spoil the testimonial day celebrations for the home side's experienced goalkeeper, Alec Chamberlain. Marlon King equalised soon after the Jeffers penalty, by heading Paul Devlin's cross past Dean Kiely, but Murphy sttled the match in Charlton's favour from the edge of the penalty area.

Kevin Gallen marked his testimonial match with a goal for QPR as the Championship side edged Birmingham 2-1 at Loftus Road. Paul Furlong, a former Birmingham striker, scored Rangers' other goal before Jermaine Pennant scored a consolation for the visiting team from the penalty spot.

Morten Gamst Pedersen and Steven Reid both found the net as a strong Blackburn side enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 victory at Swansea. More than 12,000 fans turned up at the New Stadium and were treated to an entertaining 90 minutes in which Pedersen provided the opener and Reid added a second after half-time.

Swansea went 3-1 down when Michael Gray struck but the home supporters had something to cheer when AndyRobinson pulled a goal back with a free-kick that drifted inside Brad Friedel's near post. Matt Derbyshire wrapped up the 4-1 scoreline.

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