City missed out on a place in next season’s Champions League after a late goal from Peter Crouch ensured Spurs finished fourth in the Premier League.
Crouch struck eight minutes from time to give the Londoners the three points they were looking for to ensure City couldn’t catch them and avoid a nervous final game of the season.
Fit again Gareth Barry replaced Patrick Vieira in City’s starting eleven and almost opened the scoring after Bellamy’s run along the left flank. But City’s defensive frailties again came to the fore after Wayne Bridge needlessly gave away a free kick.
Gareth Bale’s ball in was met by Crouch, who watched as his header bounced off the post. The Spurs fans were ready to celebrate the goal apart from one. Crouch’s mother, who lives in Macclesfield and a life long City fan, was apparently bought tickets by her son for the game but for the Spurs end and she would have been relived that the roar stayed in the throats of the travelling supporters.
Minutes later, the visitors thought they had taken the lead but Ledley King’s goal was disallowed for climbing all over Barry. Mrs Crouch was saved again.
Adam Johnson, who has been a revelation for the blues since signing from Middlesbrough in January, will have done his World Cup chances no harm following this game and almost grabbed the first goal. A City corner was beaten away but only as far as Johnson, who hit a glorious shot that Spurs keeper Gomes palmed away.
The blues continued to press but for all their endeavour, they couldn’t find a way through the Spurs defence and City fans know all too well what that usually means.
The second half started with just as much tempo. Johnson teed up Barry who just couldn’t squeeze his shot in from a tight angle. Barry was injured shortly after and replaced by Vieira.
But the visitors began to take control of the game and would have taken the lead if it wasn’t for Marton Fulop. The Hungarian keeper saved with his legs when it looked like Crouch would score.
It was somewhat of an inevitability that Spurs would score and even more so that it would come from Crouch. But it was City man Craig Bellamy who was at fault for the goal. The Welshman’s defending left something to be desired and he allowed Younes Kaboul room in the area to get in a cross that Fulop could only palm away to a grateful Crouch who headed home.
Spurs could have added a second late on but one was enough to earn a place at Europe’s top table next season.
Although disappointing for City, it is a measure of how far we have some in such a short space of time. Sixth place at worst, a cup semi final and a place in Europe next season is not bad for a team still in a period of evolution.
Imagine what we will achieve once we have evolved.
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