Jon Hurley sent Vital Manchester City the following article.
Yesterday afternoon I watched one of the most entertaining Manchester derbies in living memory…it was end to end, full of goals (some exquisitely taken, others more of a gift from the gods) and no small amount of controversy for good measure.
Whilst no doubt all the headlines will be targeting the appearance of six minutes injury time rather than the signalled four, and rightly so, those magical two minutes left a sullied taste in my mouth when only moments earlier I was commenting with a rag family member how great a derby result it was for the sport in general as much as anything else.
It is important to not lose sight of the fact that there were two teams on the pitch at 95.46 minutes when Michael Owen scored and I am more concerned with the batteries in our defenders not being fully charged at such a crucial stage of the match than the batteries in Mr Atkinson’s watch being defunct.
There is no hiding from the fact that ‘Taggart Time’ was in operation at Old Trafford again on Sunday afternoon, Mark Hughes himself confirming as a United player he came across this enigma of the modern game on a regular basis, and it may be lauded about that it makes a mockery of the game and brings unwelcome attention to the integrity of match officials.
Both points being valid in an era where the ability to con decisions out of the officials seems a necessary skill on one’s CV. However, as infuriating as it was to slowly watch the seconds turn into minutes at the end of a pulsating game of football, with bemusement becoming frustration and anger at a well deserved point being snatched away through dubious officialdom I was left with the conclusion that top sides, top 4 sides, which is where we’re trying to get to, defend to the bitter end ensuring that there are no slip ups or flukes that can turn a successful afternoon’s work into bitter disappointment.
If we are to become as successful as United, Chelsea et al then it’s a lesson learned one would hope because if it took that result for City to realise how crucial it is to play to the very, very, VERY end of games then maybe, the sting of a derby defeat may be a little easier to swallow come the end of the season.