If Adam Johnson believes he should be featuring more often for Manchester City, then cameo performances like this surely won`t go un-noticed. After starting the season spectacularly for City and England, Johnson has found himself part of the rotation system at Eastland`s. With 20 minutes left- to great applause- Johnson was added to the fray, five minutes later his wonder strike earned City a crucial 2-1 win against a plucky Newcastle side.
When Manchester City entered this fixture, they knew a win would take them 2nd in the league, something quite remarkable considering the team will need at least a couple months to gel. Newcastle on the other hand have had quite a remarkable turnaround since their relegation two seasons ago. After taking the Coca Cola Championship-as it was then named- by storm, the Magpies along with the other two promoted teams look comfortable in the top flight.
This was never going to be a routine fixture for City to manipulate and as the game progressed Newcastle caused problems for a defence which has looked so sturdy.
Despite the victory the game was overshadowed by a nasty injury to Ben Arfa who after suffering from a robust De Jong challenge broke his leg. The young Frenchman who has looked inspiring since his loan move, unfortunately had his ankle caught by a trailing leg, which caused more damage than looked possible.
Newcastle looked shell-shocked after the incident and were left incensed when their day got worse. Carlos Tevez was hauled down by Mike Williamson inside the 18 yard box and had a fantastic to open the scoring from the penalty spot. The result from the Argentinian never differs, his smashed shot beating Krul.
After opening the City looked rampant and were left scratching their heads over their failure to score the second goal and dispatch of the Magpies for good. First, Milner burst through and after reaching the by-line his crisp ball across the face of the goal evaded Tevez. With Newcastle rocking it was Barry`s turn to capitalise on poor defending from Perch, breaking the offside trap and racing towards a nervy Krul. With the goal gaping and Tevez making another dash towards the six yard box, Barry fluffed his cross-come-shot allowing a defensive clearance.
The away side`s resilience and reaction to going behind was admirable. The Magpies began to press and were causing physical problems for the back four of City. Gutierrez, the man famously known as Maradona`s integral player in the national squad, was twisting and turning Boateng. The tall, quick winger got his reward for the endeavour and tenacity shown when Kompany and Toure failed to deal with the presence of Ameobi, leaving Gutierrez the chance to smash superbly home.
With neither defence looking solid chances were falling to both sides but every miss was met with greater frustration. City were becoming desperate to find that much needed winner and when Johnson was brought on they had exactly that. The dazzling winger had only just entered the pitch and with a shuffle and shimmy he left two defenders in his wake, one more touch and the England star arrowed a stunning strike into the bottom corner.
Ten minutes remained and only an unbelievable fight back from Newcastle could have stopped City moving into second place. The visitors nearly had it when Ameobi looked to have been taken down by a stray Lescott foot. With nothing given, City contained the opposition and after a gruelling encounter were grateful for super-sub Johnson`s impact. Surely that`s how you add foundation to a starting place?
Could do little with the goal.
Was given a tough time by Gutierrez.
Looked shaky for the first time this season.
Very strong at the back again. Looks solid on a consistent basis.
Strugged coming back into the side.
His tackle was robust, nothing more and he was a defensive rock throughout.
Crucial figure in the centre with his distribution.
Very Laboured and lazy. Doesn’t look like he gives 100%.
His touch, vision and skill was a step above the rest.
Had his chances, gave a solid account of himself.
Hurried and hassled all afternoon and got his goal, albeit a penalty.
Terrific performance after coming on. A beautiful goal that would be fit to win any match.
Defensive cover. One solid tackle.
Looked hungrier when he came on. Unfortunate not to score.