The last ever Maine Road derby was as good as it got for Manchester City fans. A Shaun Goater brace, assisted by Gary Neville, and another from Anelka saw us bring down the curtain on our beloved ground.
I said it couldn’t get better, but the very next season, it did. Of course, younger fans will only remember recent history. The FA Cup Semi Final defeat, the 6-1 victory at Old Trafford and the Mario Balotelli ‘why always me’ shenanigans.
That span featured 17 games, of which City lost 10 and drawing 7. Robbie Fowler, an ex Liverpool player, and one of many who were offered a retirement home at Manchester City, opened the scoring. It sent the fans into hysterics, although they had already been awoken by the hard tackle on Michael Tarnet from Paul Scholes.
United could have quickly gotten themselves back on level terms. Cristiano Ronaldo striking the base of the post from a Paul Scholes saved shot. With the visitors looking more likely to score it was ex United trainee, Jon Macken, who put the blues two goals up.
Shortly after that, United did bring back the deficit to a single goal when Scholes did manage to beat David James. As half-time approached, United were dominant, City needed a change. And that’s exactly what Kevin Keegan did. Bringing on Trevor Sinclair and Paul Bosvelt for Claudio Reyna and (fellow Liverpool OAP) Steve McManaman.
It would be one of the substitutes, and lifelong City fan, Trevor Sinclair who would restore the hosts two goal lead before Shaun Wright Phillips added a fourth. Seemingly dead on his feet the talented English winger was seemingly just trying to kick the ball as hard as he could in order to waste time.
The ball beat Tim Howard and would go down as one of the goals of the season. City would eventually finish fifth from bottom in the Premiership but will take great pride in the fact that after the match United were twelve points behind eventual winners, Arsenal, with only ten games remaining.