The pressure was all directed towards Andreas Isaksson in the opening minutes, with Dimitar Berbatov looking in the mood to torment alongside Darren Bent, drafted in for the suspended Robbie Keane. A low arrowing centre from Lee Young-Pyo tested the Swede early on and he showed sharp handling in front of Bent.
The striker was then set on the charge by Berbatov and only the legs of the quickly advanced Isaksson prevented a timely tonic. A cross with some devilish whip just evaded the head of Michael Dawson before Steed Malbranque was denied by the chest of Richard Dunne from a Berbatov centre.
Despite being knocked over on the edge of the area, Berbatov had his wits about him and prodded the ball to the right and into the path of Bent. The England man drilled for the far corner and just missed, leaving Jermaine Jenas to ask the question of why he was not picked out in front of goal.
Kelvin Etuhu slammed into the side netting at the end of a City counter and City's forward intentions gathered momentum as the half progressed. They didn't actually create anything to trouble Paul Robinson but territory was being established and our own play became a little edgy.
That was until the 45th minute when a low Jenas free-kick from the left was flicked goalwards by Berbatov and the courtesy of a slight deflection and a helping nudge from Pascal Chimbonda, the ball ended up in the back of the net - with Chimbonda credited with the goal.
It made a pleasant change to be the team taking the lead and it could have been extended at the beginning of the second period when Berbatov aimed for the far corner and it took the outstretched hand of Isaksson to divert around the post.
The half got underway in a feisty fashion and tackles were being snapped into all over the park as darkness settled in following a damp and overcast day.
The advantage only lasted until the hour mark and it was a corner that proved costly. Martin Petrov took the set piece and substitute Rolando Bianchi stole in front of his marker Bent to power a header beyond Robinson and into the net.
City found an extra gear and appeared to have the belief that there was more in this game for them. Our problems stemmed from not capitalising from the lengthy spell of dominance in this fixture and the spirit of the visitors increased from that.
Kevin Prince Boateng was introduced in place of Lennon and the team re-grouped, showing the character required to mount further attacking sorties and deflate the newly found City optimism. Jenas fired over the bar from a Malbranque cross that was cleverly left by both Berbatov and Boateng.
The game took a twist on 81 when Stephen Ireland was red-carded for an awful two-footed lunge on Lee and just a minute later City were adrift in terms of score as well as numbers.
A Malbranque low curling cross from the left was left by Dawson and struck the foot of the far post. Thankfully the ball ran loose to the substitute Jermain Defoe, who struck home and sent the Lane into raptures, not to mention considerable relief.
Defoe continued to work Isaksson as we entered a lengthy period of stoppage time, but 2-1 it remained along with three welcome points in the bank.
Jermain Defoe struck a late winner to ensure the team recorded a third Premier League win of the season at the expense of high-flying Manchester City at the Lane.Nerves were jangling as went entered the closing stages, with City having levelled Pascal Chimbonda's opener in the second half and subsequently hunting for the win. The team dug deep though and regained the initiative before claiming their reward eight minutes from time.