City enjoyed more of the attacking in the opening stages and more than once came close to making the early breakthrough against their cross-town neighbours. Alex Robertson’s fierce drive struck the foot of the post and a shot from Alex Fiorini would have found the target but for Ondrej Mastny’s intervention. United’s defence were certainly earning their wages, standing firm against the Blues’ lively and persistent forwards.
Russ Hayes, the Reds’ physiotherapist, was briefly covering the welfare of both teams when his opposite number, City’s Patrick Keeling, was called away to attend a spectator who had fallen.
Half-time was reached with neither side having found the net, but City must have been wondering what they had to do to rectify that situation.