Kinkladze grounded

Sheffield United 2 Ward pen 45, Taylor 49 Manchester City 0 Attendance: 20,867
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The Independent Online
With the Manchester City rumour mill working overtime, Sheffield United ground their demoralised visitors into submission with a robust display which on occasions verged on the reckless. The latest story churning out of City involves the chairman of Chester compiling a consortium of businessmen to buy out Francis Lee and fill the vacant manager's seat.

Had a manager been sitting on the away team's bench, he may well have raised more than an eyebrow at the penalty which, four minutes into first- half injury time, turned a game in which City had been the better side. There was little doubt that most of the time which had been added by Kevin Lynch, the referee, was genuine as Georgi Kinkladze spent much of the opening period on the ground thanks to the attentions of Don Hutchison and Mark Patterson. How Hutchison was allowed a corner after intimidating Kinkladze with a two-footed lunge is unfathomable.

A less liberal referee would have responded with a flurry of cards, but when Gareth Taylor stumbled near Darren Wassall while trying to latch on to Andy Walker's neat chest trap he pointed to the spot. Mitch Ward beat Taylor to pick up the ball and tucked away the penalty.

City's fate was sealed four minutes into the second half. Eddie McGoldrick, on loan from Arsenal, had looked stylish as sweeper but his terrible tendency to give the ball away allowed Ward to send in a swinging cross. The goalkeeper Andy Dibble came only half-way, retreated and Taylor headed past him.

Yet with Kinkladze doing all the donkey work in the first half, a different result had looked likely. Swivel-hipped with a sixth-sense, all Kinkladze needed was someone on the end of his endeavour to put the ball in the net.

The Georgian coped admirably with the dual role of having both to play the ball out of defence and create chances at the other end. City might do worse than ask him to complete the set and take the manager's seat on the touchline as well.

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