Belfast Telegraph

Man City held by Birmingham

Manchester City were forced to settle for a second goalless draw on home soil in four days as they failed to break down Birmingham's defensive barrier.

James Milner came closest to breaking the deadlock when his shot was booted off the line by Stephen Carr 15 seconds from the restart.

But the City supporters were not impressed, and vented their frustration at manager Roberto Mancini when he replaced crowd favourite Carlos Tevez with Gareth Barry in the latter stages.

Birmingham were intent on defending their penalty area, a tactic that became apparent within the first five minutes.

Ben Foster did not have a first half save to make, or at least the one he did need to make but failed turned out to be of no consequence anyway as Tevez was ruled to have handled David Silva's cross.

Referee Mike Jones got that call right, just as he was probably correct to rule it was not a penalty when Liam Ridgewell went down under Adam Johnson's challenge.

Aleksandar Kolarov, Tevez and Johnson drove ambitious efforts wide before the home side were very close to scoring within 15 seconds of the restart. Foster repelled the midfielder's first effort but

Milner seemed sure to tuck the rebound home, only for Carr to pop up and make a fine goalline clearance. Tevez, Milner and, most glaringly, Yaya Toure also wasted decent chances.

With Emmanuel Adebayor missing due to a bruised heel and his side starting to run out of ideas, Roberto Mancini opted to introduce Roque Santa Cruz into a Premier League encounter for the first time this season. The Paraguayan almost had an instant impact too, slipping an intelligent pass through for Tevez, who dragged his shot wide.

Frustration in the stands turned to fury when Tevez was replaced by Gareth Barry seven minutes from time. Tevez raised a rueful eyebrow as he took his place in the dug-out, leaving Mancini to face the ire of his own supporters.

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