City end goal drought
Johnson hands City the win
By Peter Fraser. Last Updated: 15/08/07 11:11pm
Johnson: City winner
Manchester City ended their home goal drought with a 1-0 win over Derby at the City of Manchester Stadium.
City had not scored at home since the first week of January when Greek striker Georgios Samaras netted against Everton.
However, home-grown talent Michael Johnson finally gave the City faithful something to cheer on 43 minutes.
The 19-year-old played a clever give and go with Brazilian playmaker Elano to waltz through the heart of Derby's defence before beautifully curling past goalkeeper Stephen Bywater with the outside of his right-foot.
Derby manager Billy Davies introduced all his substitutes early in the second half as his side desperately looked to gain a share of the points, but City always looked comfortable and secured the win.
Newly-promoted Derby, full of enthusiasm and fresh from collecting a point against Portsmouth on the opening day, posed City problems.
Indeed, had Kasper Schmeichel not shown the reactions of his dad Peter in racing off his line to smother after Stephen Pearson had wriggled clear of the home defence, City would have found themselves behind.
Exceptionally effective screening the City defence at Upton Park alongside Dietmar Hamann at the weekend, Johnson found himself in more attacking territory against the Rams and was rewarded with his first senior goal.
The England Under 21 international had already sent one drive searing over the Derby bar when he picked up possession just inside the visitors' half.
After shrugging off three would-be tacklers before laying off a pass to Elano, Johnson then continued his surge, collected the return ball and effectively toe-punted a shot past Bywater.
Rolando Bianchi might have bagged a second straight goal after the re-start but his effort lacked power and Bywater was able to save at the second attempt.
City continued to look more likely to increase their lead than Derby were to equalise, although Steve Howard was not far away with a header and Schmeichel slid out to palm Craig Fagan's cross out of harm's way.
Substitute Geovanni embarked on a Roberto Carlos-style run-up before firing a 35-yard free-kick into fellow countryman Elano.
Bulgaria international Valeri Bojinov was eager to make an impression too after replacing Bianchi, but his penalty appeal was turned down as he crashed a cross into Tyrone Mears' chest.
It was more or less the last chance City had as they retreated into their own half, keeping Derby at bay with the minimum of fuss to retain that winning feeling.
|Manchester City||Team Statistics||Derby County|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|2||Shots off Target||2|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|