Lucky Eriksson thanks Ireland for keeping Manchester City record intact


Last updated at 23:14 24 November 2007

Stephen Ireland's injury time

volley secured Manchester

City a dramatic eighth

successive home victory to

maintain their best start on

their own turf in 100 years.

With time running out the

Republic of Ireland international

found space in the penalty area

to meet substitute Geovanni's

header and thrash the ball past

Marcus Hahnemann to break

Reading hearts.

Up to that moment it appeared that Steve Coppell's side were

going to take an unlikely point

and end the only 100 per cent

home record in the Premier

League. Having gone into the

match on the back of five successive defeats on their

travels Reading looked to have

little chance against Sven Goran

Eriksson's expensively

assembled top-three team.

But, just as Steve McClaren

found earlier in the week when

his side failed to win a match

they were expected to, so his

predecessor appeared to be

destined for the same fate.

Maybe it was because of

players returning from

international duty that City

were not at their best, being

transformed from a side

comfortably in command for

most of the first half into one

desperately seeking a winner.

It had all started so well as

Reading's lack of confidence on

the road was apparent in the

early stages and, particularly, in

the 11th minute goal they


When Ireland broke clear on

the right his cross set up

Brazilian Elano for what should

have been a simple goal. But he

sidefooted his shot against a

post only for the Reading

defence to get into such a

muddle that, after two more

shots were blocked, the ball ran

for Martin Petrov to drive home

from six yards.

Against the odds, Reading

snatched an equaliser two

minutes before the interval.

Coppell's men had barely

mounted a worthwhile attack

before Kevin Doyle forced his way down the left, crossed to

Bobby Convey and the

American set up James Harper

to fire past Andreas Isaksson.

But Ireland ensured Reading

came away with nothing.

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