January 9, 2011. The day that Manchester City start their F.A. Cup run, with the hopes of ending a seemingly endless trophy drought. The Citizens travel to Walkers Stadium to take on Leicester City in front of 31,000 plus fans. After a nightmare start, which saw Sol Bamba score in the first minute of play; Manchester City draw level in the 23rd minute via a James Milner goal. Manchester took the lead just before the half thanks to a Carlos Tevez strike. Andy King leveled for the Foxes in the 64th and forced a replay. Fast forward nine days and we’re at Eastlands. Carlitos opens the scoring in the 15th minute, but the lead only lasts four minutes. Leicester are awarded a penalty in the 19th minute, and Paul Gallagher brings the game back on level terms. Eight minutes before halftime a quick fire double from Patrick Viera (fancy man) and the favorite player of yours truly, Adam Johnson, gave City a two goal lead. A missed Tevez penalty left the door open for a Leicester comeback, and in the 83rd minute Lloyd Dyer brought it back within one. In the 90th minute the door was slammed shut by Craig Jones’s number 1 City player, Aleks Kolarov (YEEEEEEEEES). Manchester City advance to round four with a 4-2 win.
In the fourth round Manchester City were drawn against Notts County in what should have been a straightforward win for the Blues. But, let’s be honest, it is never straightforward with City, is it? Our boys traveled to Meadow Lane and drew 1-1 after Super Sub & Vinesh’s favorite player Edin ǅeko equalized in the 80th minute to keep the dream alive. So again City had to play a replay. On the 20th of February, at Eastlands, Manchester City and Notts County would go head to head. The match, overseen by referee Mike Jones (WHO) Mike Jones, had a very lackluster first half. Patrick Viera struck gold in the 37th minute and gave City a 1-0 lead that they would carry into halftime. Thirteen minutes after the break the Frenchman struck again. 2-0 to the City. In the 84th minute Carlos Tevez would open the flood gates. 3-0 City. Edin ǅeko and Micah Richards scored in the 89th and 90th minutes, respectively, to give Manchester City a 5-nil win. On to the next one!
The fifth round brought Aston Villa to Eastlands, and it was one way traffic for the Citizens. Man Mountain Yaya Toure opened the scoring in the fifth minute to give City a 1-0 lead. Then, “Super Mario” Balotelli (he’s a striker, good at darts) added to the tally in the 25th minute, and Manchester City would take a 2-0 lead into the break. In the 70th minute David Silva kicked the door closed and gave the Citizens a 3-0 lead that they would hold until the game’s end. Manchester City were now through to the Quarter Finals, and belief was beginning to creep into Blue brains around the world.
In the next round, the Sky Blues were drawn against then Championship (and recently relegated to the Championship again) side Reading. This match was played on March 13th at Eastlands in front of 40,000 plus fans. In typical City fashion they did not easily dispose of a lesser club. This match was much closer than it should’ve been, and was scoreless for over 70 minutes. That was until our kid Micah Richards came to the rescue and scored the game’s only goal in the 74th minute. City are on to the Semi-Finals. Could they really pull it off?!
The Semi-Final draw was held on the 13th, before the City-Reading match had concluded; the teams left were Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Stoke City, and Manchester City/Reading. We were all hoping that the draw would be kind to us; it was not. Wembley was about to host it’s first Manchester Derby. And so, on April 16, 2011, in front of 86,459 people, Manchester City and Manchester United went to war. It was a derby for the ages, and there was much more than just pride and bragging rights on the line. Manchester City were lucky to go to the dressing room at the half on level terms. Seven minutes after the break, IT happened. The moment that would forever cement Yaya Toure as a legend at Manchester City. Fifty-six minutes played, Edwin Van Der Sar makes a poor clearance and the ball is intercepted by David Silva. Silva’s heavy first touch puts the ball at the feet of John O’Shea. The defender squares the ball to Michael Carrick, who then lays the ball right into the Ivorian Nightmare’s path. Yaya rounds Nemanja Vidic and slots the ball past an onrushing Van Der Sar. Manchester City 1-Manchester United 0. Fifteen minutes later Paul Scholes (ginger) was sent off for a horror tackle on Pablo Zabaleta (do do do). The Blues were able to hold on and were victorious. This meant that Manchester City Football Club were going to their first F.A. Cup Final since 1981. Could this be the year that City breaks their 35 year trophy-less streak?!
On May 14, Manchester City made the trek back to Wem-ber-ley to face off with Stoke City. The Citizens started well and tested Thomas Sørensen (Borgy Forgity) a number of times in the first half. After the break, Stoke had improved but the mighty Blues did not let up. The clubs traded scoring opportunities from the 60th to the 70th minute. And then lightning struck again at Wembley. It’s the 74th minute and there is a mad scramble in the Stoke penalty area after a shot from Balotelli is blocked by a Stoke defender. The ball fell to Yaya Toure and he would not be denied. A sledgehammer into the Stoke net, and City lead 1-nil in the F.A. Cup Final. This goal would be the match winner and would forever engrave Yaya and Manchester City’s names in history.
It was City’s first trophy in 35 years, which United kept tally of at Old Trafford with a large banner. They’re not obsessed though. That banner was removed after the Blues’ victory, and hopefully was burned. It was a day that City fans would never forget. The day that “the noisy neighbors” got just a bit louder. But what would happen the next season was the stuff of legend…