Two second-half strikes proved sufficient as Manchester City edged battling Everton 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium. The difference in financial standing between these two teams is well documented as Everton boss David Moyes has little money to spend whilst City can cherry pick the world's best players.
Yet, for 45 minutes Everton worked hard at nullifying the host's attacking threat and went in at the break scoreless, even if their physical approach to the game did not endear them to the home fans.
The Toffees also had history on their side having won all four of their games at the Etihad Stadium, but two second-half substitutions proved to be the end for the Merseysiders.
Sergio Aguero may have failed to score but his cheeky back-heel set up Mario Balotelli to side foot home past Tim Howard. This almost become two a minute later but David Villa's drive hit the foot of the post and bounced to safety.
For all their defensive qualities Everton rarely threatened the City goal, although they did have a shout for a penalty denied on 76 minutes, and the home side looked comfortable holding onto their narrow lead going into the final minute.
So, for a couple of hours at least, City go top of the Premier League by one point from local rivals Manchester United.
Referee: Howard Webb
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Man City scorers: Balotelli 68, Milner 89 Everton scorers:
TRIBAL ASKS: Inspired substitutions from Roberto Mancini saw his team home, but City are going to have to get used to teams arriving at the Etihad Stadium and 'parking the bus'.
Yellow cards: Y Toure (MAN CITY), Neville (EVE), Cahill (EVE), Osman (EVE), Rodwell (EVE), Jagielka (EVE)