Most matches in May over the years have either been a conclusion of relegation battles of end of season formalities, but once again, the May curse struck the blues down in cruel fashion.
1990 – Crystal Palace
City travelled to Selhurst Park for a final day fixture as both teams concluded their first season back in the First Division. Palace were heading to an FA Cup Final a week later, while City had lost just one match in ten. There had been some bad blood between these two teams over the last few years, but it was a carnival atmosphere on a sunny day in South London.
Alan Pardew and Andy Gray had given Palace a 2-0 half time lead, however a Clive Allen penalty and a strike by Niall Quinn gave City a share of the spoils. At the end of the match, both sets of supporters took to the pitch to celebrate the end of the season and wish Palace luck in the Cup Final against United.
1993 – Crystal Palace – Again
Three years later, City hosted Palace at Maine Road. Palace were almost safe from relegation from the Premier League while City sat in sixth place. Sadly there was no drama on this occasion as the two team played out a goalless draw. City moved up to fifth in the league, but it would prove to be a nervy finish for Palace as they went into the final day just three points clear of Oldham.
1996 – Liverpool
One of the most bizarre incidents in Premier League football happened on this day in 1996. City needed to win and hope results elsewhere went their way, but found themselves 2-0 down to Liverpool and facing relegation firmly in the face.
The blues fought back and equalised through Uwe Rosler and Kit Symons and manager Alan Ball wrongly thought Coventry were losing, so told City to hold the ball in the corner. In fact, Coventry were drawing and therefore safe which prompted Niall Quinn’s desperate run along the touchline to get word to the players. It was too late and City fell from the Premier League.
2007 – Manchester United
United were going for the title while City were looking to finish as high as possible in the league. A win for United would all but secure the title and a bad tempered derby ended in the reds getting the three points they needed. Michael Ball was lucky to stay on the pitch when he maliciously stamped on Cristiano Ronaldo, and the midfielder was lucky the referee didn’t see it.
Ronaldo got his revenge on Ball when the midfielder brought the Portuguese man down in the penalty area, and Ronaldo tucked the penalty away to give United the lead. Ball was in the think of it again in the second half when he went down under a challenge and the referee pointed to the spot. Darius Vassell took the penalty, but his spot kick straight down the middle was deflected away from goal by Van Der Sar’s trailing leg to preserve United’s lead.
2010 – Spurs
Another May defeat for City, this time at home to Spurs. Both teams were vying for the final Champions League place and it was a winner takes all position at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Peter Crouch’s goal eight minutes from time settled the match and the issue of fourth place as Spurs claimed it, leaving City with the consolation of a Europa League slot.