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Aaron Hughes and Benjani Mwaruwari battle for the ball

Aaron Hughes and Benjani Mwaruwari battle for the ball

Saturday December 6, 2008Micah's Say... Fulham v Manchester City

By William Wood | In Micah's Say

Manchester City secured a point away to Fulham courtesy of a 1-1 draw, and while Micah was sidelined as a precautionary measure, he gave his thoughts on the stalemate exclusively to MicahRichards.com.

The Cottagers went into the game boasting the second best home record in the Premier League, and they were going in search of their sixth win in eight home games, while Mark Hughes’ men had won just once on the road thus far.

The ankle injury Micah picked up against Manchester United last weekend again proved troublesome, and thus the England international was forced to watch from the stands as his side took an early lead.

Fine work down the flank by Pablo Zabaleta saw him pick out team-mate Benjani Mwaruwari, and the Zimbabwe international leapt highest to nudge the ball beyond Mark Schwarzer and into the back of Fulham’s goal.

In-form midfielder Stephen Ireland then went close to adding a second as his low effort skipped wide of the post, before Joe Hart’s afternoon took a turn for the busier as he denied Andrew Johnson and blocked an effort from Bobby Zamora.

The hosts were beginning to exert their dominance and, while the referee waved away Fulham’s penalty appeals when the ball appeared to strike Richard Dunne’s arm as it went behind for a corner, Jimmy Bullard’s exquisite goal drew the sides level.

Bullard played the ball out to Zamora from his own half, continued his burst forward and then smashed the ball past Hart, a run of play that was likely to have impressed the on-looking England manager Fabio Capello.

Clint Dempsey was next up to threaten the score-line as he headed over from 12 yards out, and Micah was itching to get out on to the pitch as Fulham continued to work openings in the visitor’s defence.

The rhythm of play continued into the second-half, though City offered more up front as Benjani fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Zabaleta then tested the palms of Schwarzer before Tal Ben-Haim’s audacious effort flew over the crossbar, though Roy Hodgson’s side went close to snatching the three points when the impressive Bullard’s free-kick was denied by a superb Hart save.

The point took the Eastlander’s tally to three from a possible 18, and though pre-match a point may have been acceptable, Micah was disappointed the side were unable to secure a victory.

“It’s disappointing to have drawn the game to be honest,” Micah said. “Even though Fulham have one of the best home records in the Premiership, I think we need to win these types of games.

“Even though the game could have gone either way we all are fairly disappointed.”

With Micah out of action, the defence at times struggled physically with Fulham’s attack, though the England international understood the benefits of not risking further injury.

“I travelled with the squad to Fulham and had a fitness test,” he continued. “However, I didn’t pass it so I couldn’t feature.

“Even though I really wanted to play, sometimes in football it’s better if you give the injury an extra day or two to heal rather then rush back and aggravate the knock even more.”

Prior to this clash, the City defence had prevented their opponents from scoring in the last two league games, and the 20-year old was impressed with captain Dunne and co.’s display.

“In fairness I thought the defence looked strong. Ok we didn’t keep a clean sheet but I think the players that played did well,” he concluded.

“Obviously I never like having to watch a game from the stands, and I just want to get fit and back onto the field as soon as possible.
If that means having to do extra work with the club physio then that’s what I’ll do.”