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Cole pounces as City win on penalties in the Asia Trophy

Andrew Cole season 0506

Andrew Cole season 0506

Andrew Cole took only 24 minutes to open his account with Manchester City, as the Blues beat Everton to take third place in the Asia Trophy after another penalty shoot-out.

Having only arrived from Fulham on the middle of the week, Cole made an immediate impact and Pearce will be delighted, not only with the striker but with the whole team, who looked more purposeful than against Bolton three days ago.

Cole looked sharp straight from the kick off, and it was only the second minute when he had his first chance. Good work from Sinclair on the right of the area found the striker inside the box, but his well-struck shot was deflected away from the legs of Everton 'keeper Ian Turner.

And only three minutes later, Cole was involved again as he nodded a cross down to Kki Musampa. The midfielder's shot flew well wide, having not fallen to his preferred left foot.

Tim Cahill was Everton's main threat in the match with a host of cchances, the first of which was a downward header which went just wide of David James' right post in the ninth minute, the Australian having drifted in between two City defenders.

City's young midfield combination of Willo Flood and Micah Richards looked to have given the Blues the lead on 19 minutes. Flood was brought down on the edge of the area by Cahill, and although Richards had the presence of mind to drill the rebound into the net, the referee had just blown for the infringment and the goal was not given. Musampa put the resulting free kick a long way over the bar.

But City fans did not have long to wait before Cole made his mark on the game. On 24 minutes, Trevor Sinclair jinked his way past the defence in the right-hand part of the area. His low cross was met by the oncoming Cole, who's firm shot left Turner with no chance from three yards.

It was a real striker's goal and exactly the reason why Stuart Pearce has brought him to the club.

Apart from a weak Beattie free kick, Everton did not threaten until out of the blue Tim Cahill hit the woodwork. An Arteta cross from the right was met with a powerful header, but the ball slammed into James' right post and flew away to safety.

And just before the break, in added time, Cahill was the dangerman again, but luckily for City his headed goal was disallowed for a push in the area.

Everton made a series of substitutions at half time, and this appeared to lift them as they raised the tempo of the game after the break.

Their efforts were rewarded five minutes into the second half when they were awarded a penalty, a James Beattie header finding Sylvain Distin's outstretched right arm. The former Southampton striker made no mistake from the spot, blasting the ball to David James' right into the corner of the net.

Chances for either side were now in short supply, as Everton seemed to go off the boil and City regained their composure.

With 20 minutes to go Stuart Pearce made his first substitutions with Wright-Phillips, Jordan, Mills, Bischoff and Croft replacing Cole, Musampa, Sun, Sommeil and Sinclair.

Everton had the ball in the net from a corner with 12 minutes left, but once more it was disallowed, Weir pushing Mills away as he nodded home.

Stephen Ireland replaced Bermingham with five minutes to go, and there was just enough time for Richards to get into a good position and shoot  wide, although he was adjudged to be slightly offside.

So once more both sides had to contend with penalties, but this time City were victorious. Wright-Phillips bravely stepped up first for City and slammed his penalty high into the net to make amends for his miss on Wednesday. City's other scorers were Mills, Thatcher and Flood, and with David James making three fine saves the Blues took the honours 4-2.

All in all, Stuart Pearce will be pleased with another valuable workout and a morale boosting win at the end of a difficult few days. He will also feel vindicated at his decision to bring Andrew Cole to the club, who has begun his City career in typical style.

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