By William Wood | In Micah's Say
Manchester City finally suffered defeat at the City of Manchester stadium as Fulham fought back from a goal down to secure a 3-1 victory – only their second away win of the season – and Micah shared his thoughts on the game exclusively with MicahRichards.com.
Mark Hughes opted to rest record-signing Robinho for the visit of The Cottagers, with Martin Petrov making his long-awaited return, but it was Fulham who created the first opening of the match.
Clint Dempsey burst down the left and clipped the ball in towards Bobby Zamora and after the latter left it for Andy Johnson, the former Everton man only for Nedum Onouha to make the block.
Zamora did connect with a through ball soon after when Richard Dunne slipped, but Shay Given was on hand to make a crucial save, while a penalty shout after Johnson had fallen in the box was waved away by the officials.
It was all Fulham in the opening exchanges and Dempsey should have at least hit the target from 15 yards but his effort went wide, while at the other end City were struggling to string together a notable attack.
However, after 27 minutes and against the run of play the hosts took the lead, Stephen Ireland advancing unchallenged before curling a deflected shot into the top right-hand corner.
Fulham will have felt rightfully cheated given their early dominance, but they could have doubled the lead as Valeri Bojinov cut the ball wide despite Pablo Zabaleta’s screams for a return pass.
City continued their rejuvenation after the interval, a burst from Micah down the right leading to Zabaleta picking out Bojinov, but the Bulgarian’s strike went wayward.
Roy Hodgson’s side drew level five minutes into the second half, Zamora intercepting Zabaleta’s pass, and while Micah slid in to make the tackle, the ball rebounded to Dempsey and the American found the back of the net.
The West London outfit were in the ascendancy and they seized the lead in the 59th minute, Dickson Etuhu blasting the ball past Given for what was a brilliant goal.
Despite the introduction of Robinho and Daniel Sturridge, it was still the visitors who looked most likely to score again, and Brede Hangeland should have increased the margin only for his header from five yards to fly over.
With City struggling to get back into the game Fulham clinched the tie, Dempsey grabbing his second of the game after an effective counter-attack, and it was to be the last notable act of the clash as the hosts missed out on the chance to go eighth.
“Losing any game is disappointing, but to do so when you’ve been ahead is even more so,” Micah said.
“We missed the chance to move into eighth and continue our attempt to get back into Europe, and we will now need to put some good results together now.”
“We have one of our biggest games of the season coming up on Thursday, but I’m sure everyone will be able to lift themselves for such a big occasion, especially as we have to get ourselves back into the tie.”