Five Goals seem to be a theme between these two teams in Manchester. It was the number of goals scored in last season’s fixtures and the blues have put five past Palace in three other seasons as City dominate this fixture. But the previous time five goals were shared in this match was as far back as August 1991. At the time, the blues were second in the league after two matches, while for some reason, Palace were yet to play a game.
The blues had beaten Coventry City at Highfield Road (1-0) and Liverpool at Maine Road (2-1) and hopes were high for the season. Victory over Palace should have bene straightforward, but as usual, City never do things the easy way.
Geoff Thomas started a move in the centre of the field and the ball ended up on the right wing where Ian Wright collected and crossed to the far post. The ball was headed back and, with City’s defence at sixes and sevens, Thomas had got himself forward and was in the right place to nod home into an open goal.
City soon hit back and Mark Brennan was release down the left, turned inside the defender and was adjudged to have been fouled by the Palace defender. In fairness, there was a slight shirt tug but not really enough to warrant Brennan going to ground, but the referee saw enough to award a penalty, which was duly dispatched by Brennan five minutes before half time..
Minutes later, City were in front. Peter Reid picked up the ball in midfield and took it out to the left wing, where Brennan overlapped and his inch-perfect cross was met by the right foot of David White, who flicked the ball past the Palace keeper to make to 2-1 to City at half-time.
Three minutes into the second half, Palace levelled and it was City’s old adversary, Mark Bright who scored it. The striker was the villain four years earlier at Maine Road after his part in getting Eric Nixon sent off as Palace won 3-1, and he was on the scoresheet again as he turned in John Salako’s cross to make it 2-2.
But City were not to be denied the win and three points that took them to the top of Division One. Both teams had good opportunities to score but opposing keepers Nigel Martyn and Tony Coton were earning their salaries well. But with four minutes left, a long ball forward from Coton was flicked on by Niall Quinn which found White. The winger tried to turn but was fouled by the defender and for the second time, the referee pointed to the spot.
His first penalty went straight down the middle, but this time, the winger found the top right corner to put City back in front. Leaders United only drew their game the same day and City went top of the league for the first time since returning to the top flight.