In anticipation of this Sunday’s Manchester Derby, this edition of Halcyon Digest takes a look back to a classic Derby from March 2004. It was the first time that Manchester City welcomed Manchester United to the City of Manchester Stadium and it has gone down in history as one of the great Derby days for City fans.
Going into the game, Kevin Keegan’s City side were enduring a poor season languishing in the bottom half of the table. United were clear favourites despite going through a rough patch themselves as they were knocked out of the Champions League by Jose Mourinho’s Porto just a few days earlier.
As it was, City were on the front foot from the word go and within three minutes were ahead thanks to Robbie Fowler’s goal. It was a lively first half in which United spurned a number of chances to get back into the game as they hit the woodwork on a number of occasions. Whilst it looked like United would level it up, Jon Macken doubled City’s lead after 32 minutes. Paul Scholes pulled one back for United before half time.
After the break Keegan introduced Trevor Sinclair and Paul Bosvelt which allowed City to take control of the game. Sinclair restored City’s two goal cushion midway through the second half before Shaun Wright-Phillips scored a wonderful long range goal which went in off the cross bar late on to compound United’s misery.
City’s fantastic route of United was a great day for the fans especially considering it was only the second home win of the season. Indeed, it was much worse for United as it was their biggest defeat since losing to Chelsea 5-0 five years earlier in 1999. City went onto finish 16th in the league whereas United’s title push was all but over after this game and they finished 3rd.
The Guardian wrote: “Their side (City) did not let the fragility of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men go unpunished. Before the jeremiads are composed about the decline that sees United with one win in their last six matches, the way in which City negotiated this test should be honoured.”
City XI: James, Dunne, Van Buyten, Distin, Wright-Phillips, Reyna (Bosvelt 45), Sibierski (Jihai 84), McManaman (Sinclair 45), Tarnat, Macken, Fowler.
Enjoy 22 minutes of the highlights in the above video.
On this day Britney Spears was sitting at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart with Toxic.
Written by Rob Toole who is on Twitter