Manchester City 2-0 Bolton: The Daily Mirror match report
Published 22:54 09/02/10 By David Anderson
Much was expected of him on his first start for Manchester City after the glimpse he gave on his debut at Hull on Saturday.
And Adam Johnson did not disappoint as he ripped Bolton apart last night.
City like to think of themselves as forward looking under Sheikh Mansour, but Johnson's performance was a real throwback to the days of old fashioned wingers.
He produced a classic display of flank play as he repeatedly beat Paul Robinson for pace and skill, getting to the byline and putting over an excellent supply of crosses.
The former Middlesbrough man also won City their penalty from which they opened the scoring in this morale-boosting victory.
At £6.5million, Johnson is an absolute bargain and it looks like City will soon be paying the £1million add-on when he makes his full England debut.
He outshone City's other new boy, Patrick Vieira, although the thirtysomething Frenchman showed his class to set up Emmanuel Adebayor for City's second.
The win was the perfect tonic for City after their surprise defeat to Hull and puts them back in the box seat in the race for a Champions League spot.
They are fifth - level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool - and have a game in hand on their rivals.
Johnson was thrilled by his man of the match display and said: "There was a lot of pressure on my because it was my home debut and I was delighted with my performance.
"The players around me made it easy and it's great to play alongside world-class players like Patrick and Carlos."
Roberto Mancini started Johnson in the middle before moving him out to the right wing, where he ran amok.
"Adam is a young player and he is a very good player," said the City manager. "I know his position is on the wing, but I think he can learn from playing behind the striker.
"I think it is important that players can play in different positions and Adam can be a valuable player for us."
Of the third new boy making his first start last night, Jack Wilshere also stood out and his assured display in the centre of midfield was the highlight for Bolton, who remain just above the relegation zone.
City carved out the first chance when Adebayor connected with an overhead kick from 12 yards out, which went wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's left-hand post.
Carlos Tevez then released Gareth Barry down the left channel and the England midfielder's drive was deflected off Knight for a corner.
Bolton got a foothold in the game only for Robinson to put his foot in it when he stupidly lunged at Johnson to chop him down and concede a penalty.
Tevez almost made a hash of the spot-kick, blasting it straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen, and it was only the sheer power of his shot which took it over the line.
Wanderers might have had a penalty when Kolo Toure took out Johan Elmander, but referee Mike Jones ruled for a shove by the Swede on the City defender, while Kevin Davies took a bit of a battering.
The visitors showed fight and Fabrice Muamba's deflected drive off Vincent Kompany was well saved by Shay Given.
Back came City and makeshift centre-half Sam Ricketts dropped a ricket when he headed the ball straight to the feet of Adebayor, who should have done better than shoot across goal.
Tevez continued his duel with Jaaskelainen after the break and he went close to embarrassing the Bolton goalkeeper with a whipped free-kick which bounced off the top of the bar with the Finn rooted to the spot.
City were forced to make a change at the back when Toure was forced off with a niggle, which is not believed to be serious, to be replaced by Joleon Lescott.
It didn't derail City and Johnson cut Bolton open down the right yet again before hitting a curling shot, which Jaaskelainen did well to touch away for a corner.
Wanderers had no answer to Johnson's pace and skill and Muamba was booked for chopping down the ex-England Under-21 star.
It was hard to blame the Wanderers midfielder and there was no stopping Johnson.
Not to be outdone, Vieira showed he still has some of the old magic as he played a delightful through ball to Adebayor, who controlled it beautifully on his chest before volleying home right-footed on 73 minutes for his ninth goal of the season.