Men's Team

5 last-day Man City dramas (other than 93:20!)

5 last-day Man City dramas (other than 93:20!)
City go into Sunday’s game against Watford still needing a point to guarantee Champions League football next season.

There are various scenarios involving City, Liverpool and Arsenal but the Blues know a win will secure third spot and a draw at least fourth.

City’s goal difference means a defeat could still mean a top four finish depending on the goal difference swing with other clubs, but Pep Guardiola won’t be thinking of anything but his team getting the job done.

Over the years, the Blues have become synonymous with last day dramas – one in particular springs to mind (!) – but the 2012 title clincher against QPR has been well-documented and will continue to be over the next week or so.

With that in mind, here’s five more dramatic finishes to campaigns – in the hope that Sunday’s trip to Hertfordshire proves anything but…

2000 Blackburn Rovers 1 City 4

City went into the last game of the 1999/2000 campaign against Blackburn Rovers needing a draw to win promotion back to the Premier League.

Ipswich Town were waiting in the wings to pounce on any slip-ups and a defeat for the Blues would have meant a second successive season in the play-offs.

With Rovers boss Graeme Souness telling the media before the game that his club had already watched Charlton Athletic celebrate promotion at Ewood Park a few days’ earlier and they didn’t want to endure a similar situation against City, this was always going to be a tough game.

ON THE MARK: Kennedy seals it!
ON THE MARK: Kennedy seals it!

Blackburn were in mid-table but had lost just three of their 22 home games up to that point and despite the backing of an estimated 15,000 City fans, went close to opening the scoring on several occasions with Nicky Weaver’s goal living a charmed life until Matt Jansen broke the deadlock for the home side.

With Blues fans’ nerves on edge, it was Shaun Goater who finally leveled shortly after the break before a Christian Dailly own goal and Mark Kennedy strike made the game fairly safe until Paul Dickov added a late fourth to seal promotion. Dickov had also scored the last goal of the previous campaign…

1999 Gillingham 2 City 2

The Division Two play-off final between City and Gillingham was one of the most dramatic matches in the Blues’ history – one, if not THE most dramatic.

Joe Royle’s side had made enjoyed a fantastic second half of the campaign and after seeing Wigan off if the play-off semi-final, took on Gillingham at Wembley.

The Gills scored twice in the second-half, leaving 40,000 City fans crestfallen and with seconds of normal time remaining, Kevin Horlock made it 2-1.

SPOT ON! Paul Dickov and team-mates celebrate a penalty shoot-out goal against Gillingham
SPOT ON! Paul Dickov and team-mates celebrate a penalty shoot-out goal against Gillingham

With the five minutes of added time almost up, the ball found its way to Dickov who hammered home a last-gasp equaliser and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Blues would eventually win 3-1 on penalties – but what a final day…


1996 City 2 Liverpool 2

City needed a win to have any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League and were hosting a Liverpool side with nothing to play for.

Both Coventry and Southampton were also under the threat of going down on the final day but that couldn’t concern the Blues.

Alan Ball’s side had a job to do, but when Liverpool opened a 2-0 lead up, things looked bleak.

KINKY: Won a penalty against Liverpool
KINKY: Won a penalty against Liverpool

A spirited fight-back saw Uwe Rosler pull one back from the penalty spot and then Kit Symons grabbed a late equaliser.

City still needed another goal as results elsewhere meant a point wasn’t enough – but the players were getting mixed messages from the dug-out and believed a draw would ensure survival. It wouldn't.

Who could forget Steve Lomas talking the ball towards the corner flag to waste time when City still needed another goal?

Save to say, the game ended 2-2 and the Blues were relegated on goal difference…

1989 Bradford 1 City 1

The Blues seemed to be coasting to promotion in the penultimate home game with Bournemouth.

Three goals up at the break, a win would guarantee promotion back to the top tier, but somehow, City allowed Bournemouth to snatch a 3-3 draw with a 97th-minute equaliser.

That meant the Blues would need a point from the final game away to Bradford and, of course, everything had to be done the hard way.

Bradford took the lead and there were just four minutes left on the clock when David White’s cross was bundled home by Trevor Morley to earn City the point needed to secure promotion.

1985 City 5 Charlton 1

City had suffered relegation at the hands of Luton Town just two years earlier in another last-day drama, so this was a chance to put things right.

A few days earlier Billy McNeill’s side had squandered the chance to go up by losing 3-2 at Notts County – another mishap and Portsmouth would nip in ahead of City.

This time, however, the Blues would spare the 47,000-plus crowd too much angst.

Two early goals from David Phillips and Andy May allowed the party to begin inside Maine Road and three goals in five minutes from Phillips, Jim Melrose and Paul Simpson just before the hour-mark made certain there would be no way back for Charlton – City, as the flag said on Match of the Day, were back.

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