Manchester City 2 Portsmouth 0

Last updated : 30 April 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester City's best Premiership run for 11 years can only strengthen Stuart Pearce's bid to become the club's new manager.

Caretaker boss Pearce saw his side extend his unbeaten run to six matches with a convincing home victory against Portsmouth.

Goals from defender Sylvain Distin and top scorer Robbie Fowler in the opening 17 minutes made it a third successive home win for Pearce.

And after seeing City record their best sequence of results in the Premiership since 1993-1994 and inch a closer step to qualifying for a UEFA Cup place.

Pearce said: "Too long at this club we have accepted what if, so why not put pressure on ourselves by striving to qualify for Europe. If we win both of our remaining games and other results go our way we could land a place in the UEFA Cup."

Pearce described City's first-half showing as his best in the seven matches since he became manager.

The only sour note for Pearce was a touchline bust-up with Pompey manager Alain Perrin and his assistant Joe Jordan.

Pearce attempted to stop Matthew Taylor taking a quick throw-in which prompted their confrontation.

Pearce, who apologised to the Pompey pair at half-time said: "It was a bit of gamesmanship and psychology. I saw it as a bit of fun although unfortunately they didn't see it that way."

Pompey were only a shadow at the side which six days earlier had defeated Southampton 4-1 to virtually ensure their Premiership survival.

Frenchman Perrin said: "We didn't show enough concentration at the start of the game.

"I was disappointed to concede two goals from set-pieces, one from a corner and the other from a free-kick.

"We weren't aggressive enough and the only good thing is that we are safe and can now start planning for next season."

City, unchanged for their third successive match made a dream start taking a fourth minute lead through an unlikely source as centre-back Distin scored his first goal of the season.

Richard Dunne's wayward headed from Fowler's corner fell invitingly for Distin to head home from six yards.

And City had victory wrapped up after doubling their lead in the 17th minute. Pompey was furious after Richard Hughes was adjudged to have fouled Shaun Wright-Phillips, a replay suggested that he clearly won the ball.

Fowler curled home an exquisite left-foot shot from 25 yards low to the right as keeper Jamie Ashdown for his eleventh goal of the season.

City were desperately unlucky not to finish the opening half with an even bigger lead as they were unable to convert a host of chances which they created.

Pompey's best chances of the game came either side of half-time came from Slovenian Aleksandar Rodic, who was unlucky to see goalbound efforts blocked by Dunne and Ben Thatcher.

Gary O'Neil also had a well struck free-kick excellently saved by City keeper David James, but the visitors were unable to find a route to go.

City had chances to build on their first-half lead, but never seriously threatened visiting keeper Ashdown.

Man of the Match: Sylvain Distin - The French defender opened the scoring with his first goal of the season and was also rock-solid in the centre of the City backline.