Date: 1st October 2006 at 11:16am
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City grabbed their first away point of the season, in dramatic style, as Micah Richards grabbed an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time.

With stunning symmetry to his only other goal for the club, Richards pounced on 94 minutes to give the blues the point that their late pressure deserved.

It probably should have been different however, with Everton squandering numerous chances to seal the game as City produced another away performance in keeping with the colour of their shirts.

Pearce opted for a safety first strategy of five in midfield, leaving Samaras upfront on his own. Stevie Ireland was the player brought in to beef up the midfield with Corradi dropping to the bench.

Perhaps in anticipation of a City midfield five, Everton boss David Moyes chose to revert to 4-4-2 with James Beattie brought in to partner Andy Johnson.

The less said about the first half the better. City seemed content to play a cautious, defensive game and Everton showed little of the form that had kept them unbeaten so far this season. The stupour was broken on 44 minutes when Johnson found some space in the City box and saw his shot deflect off Distin and into the City goal.

The second half was an improvement once City changed their formation. Corradi replaced Ireland as City reverted back to 4-4-2 which created more space in the midfield. Everton had a number of chances but found Nicky Weaver in the sort of form that once had him tipped as a future England keeper. His save from Lescott was particularly spectacular and was as important an intervention in securing the point as Richard’s late winner was to prove to be.

Everton eventually seemed to run out of ideas when the second goal wouldn’t come and Moyes resorted to a series of defensive substitutions to secure the points. As a result the toffees sat back and invited City on. Samaras hit the post before Richards arrived with the last kick of the match to secure the point that may yet turn City’s season.

Despite the dramatic nature of City’s equaliser all the post match talk focused on City midfielder Joey Barton and his decision to bare his backside to his abusers in the Park end of the ground. What needs to be borne in mind was the level of abuse Joey had endured from Everton’s support throughout the game and the context of the late equaliser. Perhaps his actions were rash but they were harmless and done purely tongue in cheek. Everton’s support has a history of making complaints to the police and it is perhaps time they questioned the nature of their support before attempting to claim any moral high ground.

Player Ratings

Weaver 9
Class performance with his saves as important as Richard’s late goal.

Richards 8
Has developed a nice habit of scoring very late in the game. Gave away to many free-kicks in dangerous positions but solid in defence otherwise.

Distin 7
Solid defensive performance.

Dunne 7
Like Distin, solid. However his diving block from Johnson in the second half showed the level of commitment needed at this level.

Jordan 6
Lasted the 90 minutes this season. Steady if unspectacular.

Barton 7
Scrapped well in midfield. Rash actions in baring his backside at the whistle but had to endure persistent abuse.

Hamann 6
Yet to shine in the City midfield but showed enough to suggest he will get there.

Ireland 6
Did little wrong and could quite easily have seen Hamann sacrificed, rather than himself,in the formation change.

Sinclair 6
Far from the effective right-sided midfielder he should and can be.

Miller 6
Everton recognised the threat and doubled up on him each time he got the ball. Given little opportunity to shine.

Samaras 7
Given little chance to do anything in the first half when isolated up front. When Corradi came on fed off him well. Unlucky with a late effort that hit the post but should have done better when Howard dropped the ball at his feet.

Corradi 7
Made a difference when he came on. Won plenty of ball and provided the touch for Richards to score.

Beasley 6
Provided pace on the left. Still to get used to playing in this side.
Not on long enough to judge.


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