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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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A superb first-half display by Shaun Wright-Phillips helped City triumph against a battling Southampton side.
Wright-Phillips earned the corner that led to Paul Bosvelt nodding City ahead from Richard Dunne's knockdown.

The England winger scored his side's second goal himself - beating Antti Niemi with a thumping 30-yard shot.

Southampton improved after the break and pulled a goal back from the spot late on through Kevin Phillips after Sylvain Distin fouled Peter Crouch.


Wright-Phillips had looked lively in the opening stages without making the most of his possession - his best moment coming with a shot which he dragged narrowly wide.

Another dangerous run by the England winger led to City's opening goal on 19 minutes.

Martin Cranie blocked Wright-Phillips' cross and from the resulting corner, Dunne headed the ball back across goal for Bosvelt to nod into the corner from four-yards out.

City continued to press and had two chances in quick succession to add to their lead.

First Rory Delap gave the ball away to Robbie Fowler who sent Anelka clear - but he could only manage a tame finish which was easily gathered by Antti Niemi.

Then Wright-Phillips galloped clear down the right and cut into the box before forcing Niemi into an acrobatic save.

With Southampton unable to keep hold of the ball on a treacherous pitch, a second City goal looked inevitable.

It almost arrived when Wright-Phillips found Fowler in the box with a looping cross but Danny Higginbotham got back to clear his goalbound header off the line.

Out of nothing, the Saints almost snatched an equaliser when Neil McCann burst into the City penalty area - but David James was alert to block his run and Kevin Phillips could not convert the follow-up.

City's response was to push forward again, and on 40 minutes Wright-Phillips got the goal his performance deserved.

He picked up Niemi's clearance, and beat two men before unleashing a wicked drive that flew into the net via a post.


Southampton made two changes at the break, bringing on Peter Crouch and Fabrice Fernandes for Brett Ormerod and Matt Oakley.

Crouch had an immediate effect, unsettling the City defence with his height as the Saints went for a direct approach.

Phillips also began to show signs of life, and he was allowed space and time on the ball as the visitors came back into the game.

Both were involved in getting the ball in the City net just after the hour mark - but it was controversially ruled out for offside.

A Fernandes cross flicked off Crouch's head and was gleefully converted from close range by Phillips - but his celebrations were cut short by the flag.

Even that scare did not wake City from their lethargy and they had to rely on their keeper David James to keep Southampton at bay.

He dealt with a barrage of crosses and also saved spectacularly from Crouch's first-time shot after McCann's flick left the striker with time to pick his spot.

Southampton's second-half display had merited a goal however, and they got it from the penalty spot in injury time.

Distin's nudge on Crouch was enough to send the striker tumbling in the box and Phillips converted the resultant penalty - firing into the roof of the net.
 
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