Sunderland 1 Manchester City 2

Last updated : 23 August 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester City stormed to the top of the Premiership after condemning Sunderland to a third successive defeat on their return to the top-flight.

City, unbeaten in 11 Premiership matches, maintained their unbeaten start to the season, following up victory at Birmingham at the weekend with another impressive performance.

The Black Cats were up against it from as early as the tenth minute when Darius Vassell opened his goalscoring account for City following his £2million move from Aston Villa and when Trevor Sinclair increased the led in the 35th minute, the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear for the Stadium of Light faithful.

But Mick McCarthy's side refused to lie down and to their credit dug deep to deservedly pull a goal back five minutes before the break through newcomer Anthony Le Tallec, a thumping header from Andy Welsh's corner giving England goalkeeper David James no chance.

Le Tallec, on a season long loan from Liverpool, should in fact have reduced the deficit before his debut goal, allowing James to beat out his drive after being sent clear by Welsh then failing to make a clean contact with a diving header from Dean Whitehead's cross.

City, however, prompted from midfield by Joey Barton and Claudio Reyna, called the tune with the former splitting the home defence wide open to set up the chance for Vassell's early strike.

A patient build-up led to the ball breaking from Andy Cole to Sinclair who unleashed an unstoppable shot that left Kelvin Davis with no chance.

James saved well from Stephen Elliott, making his first start of the season in preference to Jonathan Stead, and the under pressure keeper did well to deny Julio Arca an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

McCarthy introduced Stead for Andy Gray at the start of the second half and the substitute was quickly in the action, heading over an Elliott centre, but City replied immediately with Davis saving from the lively Cole and Sinclair thumping a drive high and wide

Sinclair then broke down the right with the home defence again looking for an offside decision that never came and Davis made an instinctive save from Cole to prevent City from restoring their two-goal advantage.

A crude challenge by City captain Richard Dunne on Stead on the edge of the penalty area put the visitors under pressure and James did well to scoop the ball off the head of Stead from Welsh's free-kick.

Le Tallec was just wide with a diving header and Whitehead also went agonisingly close as the Black Cats gave their all in a frantic search of a deserved equaliser.

City had Cole and Danny Mills booked in the space of a couple of minutes to be followed by Stead, as the pace of an already hectic end to end match gathered pace but for all their honest endeavour, McCarthy's side lack a cutting edge at this level.