Freak goal gives City win
By Ciaran Baynes. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
HEIDAR HELGUSON'S freak own goal gave Manchester City victory over Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday evening.
The Icelandic striker was defending in his own area when he picked up an erroneous through-ball from Ali Benarbia and senselessly attempted to pass back to his keeper, instead diverting the ball past Alec Chamberlain and into the Hornets net.
Manchester City began the game the best and should have gone ahead early on when Stuart Pearce's inswinging corner found Shaun Goater three yards out but the country's top scorer could not keep his effort down, spooning the ball over the bar.
When a goal did come it came against the run of play as Tommy Smith drove home from 20 yards.
Helguson latched onto a long ball and held off his marker well before slipping a pass to Smith whose effort went through the hands of Carlo Nash.
Four minutes later City were on level terms though as Paulo Wanchope latched onto Goater's knockdown and angled his effort home on the half-volley.
Goater was unlucky not to get onto the scoreboard shortly before the interval when after good work from Benarbia and Shaun Wright-Phillips his effort was superbly blocked by Filippo Galli.
In the second half the home side looked the better home side, but remained a little toothless in attack.
City still remained the more dangerous on the break and Wanchope - playing in his final game before he leaves for Gold Cup duty with Costa Rica - perhaps should have done better when he could not keep down a header from Danny Tiatto's back post cross.
The goal ultimately came in strange circumstances ten minutes from time, to give Kevin Keegan's side a win that extends their lead in the First Division to three points.
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Watford v Manchester City