Wanchope inspires City surge

Manchester City 5 Everton 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

When the only notable consequence of a match concerns the merit payments that reward finishing positions in the Premiership, a distinctly end-of-season lack of intensity is probably inevitable. So it was at the City of Manchester Stadium yesterday, where even the efforts of another 47,000-plus crowd failed to disguise the anticlimactic nature of the occasion, or indeed of the season as a whole for these two under- performing teams.

When the only notable consequence of a match concerns the merit payments that reward finishing positions in the Premiership, a distinctly end-of-season lack of intensity is probably inevitable. So it was at the City of Manchester Stadium yesterday, where even the efforts of another 47,000-plus crowd failed to disguise the anticlimactic nature of the occasion, or indeed of the season as a whole for these two under- performing teams.

"We wanted to give our fans something to be happy about,'' said Kevin Keegan, the City manager. "It's just a shame it came about six months too late. "You feel like a fraud going out there to get clapped after the season we've had, but that's the fans for you.''

For the record, Manchester City leapfrogged Everton to earn themselves £2.725m - not bad for finishing fifth-bottom - while Everton had to settle for half a million less.

Paolo Wanchope was the difference between the teams. As he produced a back-heel here and a surge of pace there, Everton's bemused defenders never established a reliable method of dispossessing him. Wanchope scored two and set up a third for Nicolas Anelka in a game that was effectively decided by half-time. Kevin Campbell managed a consolation before Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright-Phillips added further goals late on.

Not withstanding this final flourish, finishing fifth from bottom represents a year Keegan wants to forget. "It's been disappointing,'' he said. "We just haven't been good enough this season.''

After a quarter of an hour, a miscued clearance from Joseph Yobo led to the scrappiest of openers. The Nigerian sent the ball looping back into the penalty area, where Wanchope was the first to get the ball under control, beating Nigel Martin from close range.

A one-two between Claudio Reyna and Anelka led to City doubling their advantage. The French striker's shot was blocked but Wanchope provided another simple finish in the absence of any discernible attempt to tackle him.

The Costa Rican was enjoying himself and turned provider shortly before the break. Anelka was the beneficiary, given all the time he needed to find an angle to beat Martin. Yet again, Everton's defending was little better than notional.

David Moyes was embarrassed, angered and upset by his team's performance. "It was a mismatch,'' said the Everton manager. "We weren't even good enough to make it a close game.'' Campbell replaced James McFadden at half-time and the veteran met Wayne Rooney's corner with a firm header. It never threatened to inspire a comeback and Sibierski, with a well-placed shot, then Wright-Phillips's thunderous drive reasserted City's dominance.

"You don't want to lose on the last day of the season, and certainly not like that,'' said Moyes. He has a busy summer ahead of him.

Manchester City 5
Wanchope 16, 30, Anelka 41, Sibierski 89, Wright-Phillips 90

Everton 1
Campbell 60

Half-time: 3-0 Attendance: 47,284

Comments