Archive | March 2012

Pre Millwall Press Conference

I went to my first Malky Mackay press conference at the Vale today and what a breath of fresh air the guy is. I went to a few Dave Jones conferences before when he was manager and the atmosphere here was completely different. Malky seems more at ease and willing with the media and just a genuinely nice guy who is eager to do well at the club.

Here are the entire quotes from what Malky and Mark Hudson had to say prior to the Millwall game tomorrow:

Malky Mackay:

Mark Hudson:

The whole atmosphere there seemed much calmer than that under the previous manager and Malky has also put his own touch on the training complex itself.

I instantly noticed that there were photos of the team all over the place, blown up onto big canvases and put on the walls. Pictures ranging from a pre-match huddle, to the team celebrating a penalty shootout win. Here are some examples that I took photos of:

This kind of thing was never there under Jones and whether it has any impact on the players I don’t know. But it’s just another little change that either Mackay or someone he’s brought in has made.

There were also a lot of inspirational speeches blown up big on the walls too. This photo I took shows one by Michael Jordan.

Whether having these pictures and speeches around the place makes a difference we’ll never know, but it’s something that can hopefully encourage and inspire the team. Who knows maybe at the end of the season there might be a photo put up of the team celebrating a playoff final win. I can dream anyway.

All photographs taken by myself.

My Best Cardiff City XI in Recent Years

As I’m only 20 years old I can’t say I’ve had the honour of seeing legendary City players such as Phil Dwyer, John Toshack and Fred Keenor play as they were well before my time. So I’ve decided to do my ‘modern’ greatest Cardiff 11, from when I went to my first game at Ninian Park, aged six.

Goalkeeper – Neil Alexander 

Appearances: 234

Goals: 0

Period at club: 28/05/2001 – 16/07/2007

We signed the original “Scotland’s number one” for £200,000 in 2001 and he spent six years at the club. He was a brilliant shot-stopper and I was always a big fan. Alexander was our keeper when we won the Division Two playoff final against QPR in 2003. Credit to both of our current goalies in Marshall and Heaton who I feel are two of the best we’ve had.

Left Back – Andy Legg 

Appearances: 209

Goals: 12

Period at club: 16/12/1998 – 21/07/2003

Leggy initially got stick from City fans when he joined us in 1998 as he previously played for Swansea. However, many solid and consistent performances (and an unbelievably long throw!) soon won over the Cardiff faithful as he became a fans favourite. Since his time at City, Legg has been diagnosed with cancer and has battled through it tremendously. I went to his testimonial match in 2006 which was a real treat as players from all generations were present.

Centre Back – Roger Johnson 

Appearances: 136

Goals: 14

Period at club: 04/07/2006 – 01/07/2009

Johnson was my favourite player during his time at the club, partly because I used to play in the centre of defence, and also because he was just awesome. Not only a rock at the back but he also contributed with a lot of goals going forward. Another shrewd Dave Jones signing as we got him for £275,000 and sold him for £5,000,000 three years later. For a Championship defender to be sold for that much just shows how good he really was. Ever present in our FA Cup Final campaign and scored a memorable diving header against then Premier League Middlesbrough.

Centre Back – Danny Gabbidon 

Appearances: 219

Goals: 10

Period at club: 10/08/2000 – 05/07/2005

Gabbidon’s excellent performances in a Cardiff shirt mean he has to be on my list. Another prominent member of the 2003 playoff winning side and I was gutted to see him leave alongside James Collins when the club was strapped for cash.

Right Back – Kevin McNaughton 

Appearances: 248 (At time of writing)

Goals: 2

Period at club: 26/05/2006 – Present

Super Kev is easily the best right back we’ve had in the last 15 years and has been a superb servant to Cardiff City. He covers so much ground in a game, up and down that right wing nonstop and was last season’s player of the year. He also has the best chant I think we’ve ever had for a player!

Left Midfield – Joe Ledley 

Appearances: 256

Goals: 30

Period at club: 01/09/2004 – 12/07/2010

I still have a shirt from quite a few years ago which had LEDLEY 16 on the back, and best of all I got it signed by the man himself! Chris Gunter egged him on to sign it ‘Deadly Ledley’ and to be honest I wish he had. Cardiff born and bred, Ledley scored some very important goals for the Bluebirds including the one against Barnsley to take us to the FA Cup final. Joe was also somewhat a utility player for City, playing all over midfield and also at left back. One of my favourite players and how I wish he was still on our wing!

Centre Midfield – Graham Kavanagh 

Appearances: 165

Goals: 31

Period at club: 29/06/2001 – 04/03/2005

An absolute legend as far as I’m concerned and my favourite ever Cardiff player. Kavanagh was the captain who led us to promotion in 2003 and always led by example. He set up god knows how many goals and also scored a few crackers in his time here too. Kav was City’s first £1 million man when he signed from Stoke in 2001, money that was unheard of before at Ninian Park. His most famous goal will be that free-kick when we beat the mighty Leeds in the FA Cup back in 2002. To say I was gutted when he was sold is an understatement, but I will always remember the magical moment when he scored the first ever goal at the CCS when he played in a one off ‘legends’ match.

Centre Midfield – Jason Koumas 

Appearances: 74

Goals: 15

Period at club: 27/07/2005 – 01/05/2006 and 04/08/2010 – 31/05/2011

With his first stint with us, Koumas was at the time the most skilful player I have ever seen don the blue shirt. I know he was only a loan signing but he was very influential in his time with us. He always looked dangerous on the ball and almost everything good we did that season came through him. A free-kick maestro, Koumas returned to us in 2010 but unfortunately was a shadow of his former self. However I remember the player that gave us many magic moments and that is why he’s on my list.

Right Midfield – Peter Whittingham 

Appearances: 257 (At time of writing)

Goals: 67

Period at club: 11/01/2007 – Present

Of course he’s on the list, “he does what he wants” after all! Easily our best player so far this season and always contributes with a lot of goals from midfield. Whitts always seems to have his own ‘goal of the season’ battle with himself and he truly has scored some screamers. The curling effort against Middlesbrough, the bullet free-kick versus Leicester, the keepy uppy and volley against Barnsley and the first time lob against Reading. All these are memorable goals and hopefully Whittingham will still be with us in years to come.

Striker – Robert Earnshaw 

Appearances: 220 (At time of writing)

Goals: 109

Period at club: 01/08/1997 – 30/08/2004 and 13/07/2011 – Present

Earnie is Cardiff’s second all time leading goal scorer and played a pivotal role in propelling us from Division 3 to Division 1, (now the Championship). He signed for us again this season but has barely featured so we haven’t seen that trademark summersault celebration as much as expected. Earnshaw holds the record for the most ever goals scored in a single season for us with 35 in the 2002/03 campaign. He was sold in 2004 for £3 million to West Brom and has always been a fans favourite at Cardiff.

Striker – Michael Chopra 

Appearances: 162

Goals: 65

Period at club: 16/06/2006 – 13/07/2007 and 06/11/2008 – 02/01/2009 and 02/02/2009 – 01/06/2009 and 04/07/2009 – 10/06/2011

One of the most prolific strikers in the Championship in recent years and has played for the Bluebirds on four occasions, twice on loan. We signed Chops for a mere £250,000 and he went on to be named player of the year in his first season with us. Chopra was sold for a club record £5 million to Premier League Sunderland in 2007 but we bought him back for another record fee of £4 million in 2009.

Total Caps of my Team: 2,180

Media from: http://www.cardiffcity-mad.co.uk, http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk, http://www.walesonline.co.uk

My Top 20 Cardiff City Chants

We’ve had some very funny and inventive chants over the years and many that are individual to us. Here is a list of my top 20 Cardiff chants of all time. Any comments or opinions are welcome and post what your favourite is. Also if there’s any I’ve not put on that you feel deserve to be.

20) Not a regular chant, in fact we’ve only sung it a few times in various games but it’s one to show the brilliant sense of humour that City fans have. We were playing at the Emirates a few years ago and Arsenal scored a goal in the final minute of the match to give them a 4-0 lead. Their fans were absolutely dire and all you could hear was the travelling Cardiff support singing.

 “5-4, we’re gunna win 5-4

  We’re gunna win 5-4,

  We’re gunna win 5-4.”

19) Although it may not be entirely true, and we know that, Cardiff fans sing that our club is the greatest in the world, as do many clubs. It may not be a particularly unique chant but it is one that we sing with a large amount of gusto and passion that can drive the team on.

 “And it’s Cardiff City,

  Cardiff City FC,

  We’re the greatest team in football the world has ever seen.”

The giant Cardiff City pride of Wales flag

Video: Greatest Team

18) This one only came about this season and I think we’ll hear it again on the last day of the season away at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman said to journalists prior to our Carling Cup Semi-Final against his side that Cardiff always “bottle it” and would be “scared”. These comments gave our boys the fire to see off Palace and reach the final, but also something that the City fans could chant to rub it into the manager.

 “We’re not f*cking scared,

  We’re not f*cking scaaared,

  Dougie Freedman,

  We’re not f*cking scared.”

Video: We’re Not Scared

17) A lot of Cardiff fans turned on him in his last season with us, but I was always a big fan of Paul Parry. To be honest I miss having a winger such as himself, Ledley or Whittingham who always looked so deadly cutting in and curling one into the goal, something we haven’t had this year. This chant was sung about both Parry and Ledley and is currently given to Don Cowie.

 “I told my mate the other day how I’d seen the white Pele,

  So he said who is he,

  I said he goes by the name of Paul Parry,

  Paul Parry, Paul Parry, he goes by the name of Paul Parry.”

Paul Parry when we played at Ninian park

 16) The ayatollah is something individual to Cardiff City football club and basically is this: 

It’s become a symbol to show that someone is a Bluebirds fan and looks impressive when the whole stand or stadium does it. Often we’ll chant, “Do the ayatollah _____” to one of the players or the manager who will get a cheer if and when they do it.

 “Do the ayatollah everyone,

  Do the ayatollah everyone.”

Video: About the Ayatollah

15) Our player of the season this year has to be Peter Whittingham. The man who was among the three players shortlisted for Championship player of the season is a sensational talent and I feel the chant we have for him is very fitting indeed.

 “He does what he wants,

  He does what he waaants,

  Peter Whittingham,

  He does what he wants.”

Peter Whittingham who does what he wants

14) I was very tempted to put this further up the list as I think it’s a very simple, yet brilliant chant. Cardiff fans have been clever by turning the old ‘your Welsh so you’re a sheepshagger’ into something that we actually all love to sing about and which, in fact, makes the English fans singing it look stupid. It’s very funny when they start a chant of sheepshaggers and then their faces go blank when we just sing it back louder. Cardiff fans also reply to this by singing “We shag em, you eat em” which I’m sure would put many off eating lamb for life. Also, we often sing “One nil, to the sheepshaggers, one nil to the sheepshaggers” or whatever the score may be.

 “Sheep, sheep, sheepshaggers,

  Sheep, sheep, sheepshaggers.”

13) Not a long chant, but one that I find funny and one that Brighton fans must get fed up of us singing to them. With Brighton being the gay capital of Britain, we like to give them a bit of banter and take the mickey out of their fans by signing.

 “We can see you holding hands,

  We can see you holding hands.”

12) Men of Harlech is kind of our anthem and played before every Cardiff home game, it might possibly be played forever. Cardiff fans only ever duh duh duh to the tune as they don’t know the lyrics, followed by 2 claps at certain parts. It always sounds brilliant before kick-off but I would love to see everyone learn the words and sing it properly. Below is the two versus that we hum along to.

“From the hills rebounding, *clap clap*

Let this war cry sounding, *clap clap*

Summon all at Cambria’s call

The mighty force surrounding, *clap clap*

Men Of Harlech onto glory

This will ever be your story

Keep these burning words before ye

Welshmen will not yield.”

Video: Men of Harlech

11) Dimitrios Konstantopoulos (later Dimi Can’t stop a lot after his ‘mare against Wolves) was a Coventry goalkeeper loaned to us in 2009, just after having a stint with Swansea. The Jacks often try to mock us by singing “swim away” after a few Cardiff fans were allegedly chased into the sea by a group of Swansea fans in 1988. So yet another Cardiff chant came about in which we take the mickey out of ourselves a bit, sung to the tune of Karma Chameleon.

 “Dimi, Dimi, Dimi, Dimi, Dimi Konstantopoulos,

  He swam away,

  To Cardiff Baaaay.”

10) I think this has been sung ever since I’ve been a City fan and one that everyone joins in with. Always a fans favourite.

 “You are my Cardiff,

  My only Cardiff,

  You make me happy,

  When skies are grey, When skies are grey,

  You’ll never notice,

  How much I love you,

  So please don’t take, my Cardiff away.”

Grey skies over Ninian Park

Video: My Only Cardiff

9) One of the funniest moments for me at our new stadium was when everyone started doing the ‘Hussey Hussey’. We were playing Coventry on 20th October 2009 when their new loan signing Chris Hussey was in loads of space and started to jump up and down waving his arms in the air screaming for the ball but was ignored, not for the first time, as the ball was sent down the opposite side. Us City fans in the Ninian stand loved it and started mimicking him and then cheered his every touch. There was even a surreal moment when he attacked Cardiff’s defence and our fans started roaring him on. Sadly he ignored pleas to do the ayatollah, and better still, to do the ‘Hussey’ which involved frantic arm waving. Not a lasting chant but one that had me in stitches and I don’t think the rest of the stadium had a clue what we were doing at the time.

 “Do the Hussey Hussey.”

Video: Explanation of the ‘Hussey Hussey’

8) One of my favourite Cardiff players was Joe Ledley, hence why he’s one of the players on the banner of my blog. Cardiff born and bred, Ledley scored some important goals for the Bluebirds and we used to sign a chant for him that involved spelling his name…who says we’re not educated.

 “J.O.E, L.E.D, L.E.Y is Joe Ledley,

  With a nick nack paddywack give the dog a bone,

  Swansea City f*ck off home.”

Cardiff boy Joe Ledley

7) We were playing Southampton at Ninian Park in 2008 when Darren Purse was warming up next to the Southampton pair of Nathan Dyer and Bradley Wright-Phillips who had recently been charged with burglary. We all started shouting “Darren, watch your Purse” and the three of them went along with the banter, pretending to rob Darren’s ‘purse’, much to our amusement.

 “Darren! Watch your Purse,

  Darren, Darren watch your Purse.”

6) This one stems from a case of mistaken identity involving a former Bluebird with a brilliant story behind it. A policeman spotted someone on the roof of an amusement arcade and said it looked like Nathan Blake. The player was then arrested for breaking into the arcade when it was never actually him. Since then Cardiff fans have sung this about him.

 “He’s black,

  He’s mean,

  He’ll rob your fruit machine,

  Nathan Blake, Nathan Blaaake.”

5) Chris Burke was a whippet of a winger who we signed to replace Wayne Routledge who refused to sign a contract at the club. Fans would sing this swaying first left then right and even sung it when Burke played against us for Birmingham earlier in the season, which shows how much of a fans favourite he was in South Wales.

 “He plays on the left,

  He plays on the riiiight,

  That boy Chris Burke,

  Makes Routledge look sh*te.”

Video: Chris Burke

Chris Burke on one of his trademark mazy runs

4) Number 4 is a favourite of mine because of the story behind it and a chant that we sing against Portsmouth. On March 12th 1983 we played Pompey at Fratton Park and a group of Cardiff fans climbed up and stole their big clock in the Milton End of the stadium. Ever since we’ve sung the following which I’ve always found rather amusing.

 “Pompey what’s the time?

 Pompey, Pompey what’s the time?”

3) Peter Thorne is magic has always been one of my favourites and the reference to a magic hat is down to his headed goals. It has been adapted since to Steve Thompson and Craig Bellamy, the latter surprisingly so as Bellamy isn’t exactly known for being good in the air. A brilliant chant nonetheless.

 “Ooooooh, Peter Thorne is magic,

 He wears a magic hat,

 And when he signed for Cardiff, he said I fancy that,

 He didn’t sign for the Jack b*st*rds or Wrexham cos their sh*te,

 He signed for Cardiff City cos we’re fu*king dynamite.”

 And Bellamy’s version

 “Ooooooh, Craig Bellamy is magic,

 He wears a magic hat,

 And when he signed for Cardiff, he said I fancy that,

 He didn’t sign for Celtic, cos Ledley said they’re sh*te,

 He signed for Cardiff City cos we’re fu*king dynamite.”

Chasetown also say Cardiff are magic

2) One of the most passionately sung songs we have is in recognition of the Rhondda miners 100 or so years ago and is my number 2. I think this is the longest running Cardiff chant we have and what the team currently walk out to.

 “I’ll be there, I’ll be there,

 With my little pick and shovel I’ll be there.”

Video: I’ll Be There

1) My number one chant has to be the one belonging to the silver fox himself, Kevin McNaughton. The lyrics are brilliant and you can quite often see either Kev himself or the other players laughing when we sing it. I wonder if any City fans would actually let him ‘shag’ their wives if we won promotion this year?

 “Kevin McNaughton you are the love of my live,

  Kevin McNaughton I’d let you shag my wife,

  Kevin McNaughton,

  I want silver hair too.”

Video: Kevin McNaughton

The silver fox himself

Media from Youtube users: smithybayy21, Reese2k6, ffwtboldotcom, JWexperiment & bluearmy1000. Ayatollah explanation from BBC Sport.
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Bristol City 1 Cardiff City 2

Played on: Saturday 10th March 2012

It’s not very often you win a game 2-1 without scoring any of the goals yourself, however this was the case on Saturday when the Bluebirds came out on top in the Severnside Derby. This was another below par performance from City who recorded their first victory in almost a month to climb back into the playoffs. But if ever there was a lucky and underserved victory, then this was it.

To be honest I was quite annoyed when I saw the starting line up. The same starting 11 who have been underperforming since the Carling Cup final, and yet again no place for Earnie on the bench. Malky seems a little stubborn in his selections of late, refusing to freshen up a tired looking side. I feel for those on Cardiff’s bench or in the reserves as they don’t seem to get a chance.

Cardiff knew they had to leave with three points to maintain their promotion push

The first-half was dire and saw only a few half chances for each side. Kenny Miller had the first decent effort of the game after great build-up play involving himself, Mason and Cowie. However the strikers far post volley was never destined to end his goal scoring drought and easily saved by David James.

Bristol had a great chance to take the lead just before halftime when a poor clearance from Hudson fell to Pearson, but he blazed his shot over the bar from 12 yards. This miss proved to be even more costly as Cardiff went a goal up a minute later in first-half stoppage time. Some good passing eventually found Mason on the right fired in a low cross that was sliced into his own net by McManus. This gifted the Bluebirds a half-time lead after a very even, and poor, opening 45 minutes.

I think Malky must have said a few choice words during the interval as Cardiff blazed out of the blocks at the start of the second period. Aron Gunnarson forcing two strong saves from James within a minute. Despite creating lots of chances, City couldn’t find a goal and this could have been costly as the Robins equalised with their first attack of the half on 52 minutes. Foster won the ball too easily against Taylor on Cardiff’s left flank, before cutting a brilliant ball back to John Stead to score against us… AGAIN! That’s the fifth time he’s scored against Cardiff in his career, his fine first time finish going in off the near post.

The momentum seemed to swing Bristol’s way following the equaliser and Cardiff had David Marshall to thank for keeping them in it. The keeper made superb saves; firstly to deny Davis’s curling effort and then an even better save soon after to deny Pitman from inside the six yard box. I’ve been critical of Marshall in recent weeks and have been calling for Tom Heaton to be given a chance following his cup heroics. However “Scotland’s number one” made some vital saves to keep us in it and ultimately played a leading role in Cardiff’s victory.

Veteran striker Miller again didn't look deadly in front of goal

Bristol had one last chance to win it through Pitman’s volley but this time it was not Marshall but the post that denied him. I was getting frustrated late on that that neither Kiss or Conway were coming on with the team playing so poorly, but then Cardiff scored the winner two minutes from time through another massive slice of luck. Mason has the ability to always find space behind the defence and he did so again here. His low cross from the left side of the box deflected off Kalifa Cisse and past David James. This was unlucky for the Robins and particularly James who could do nothing to prevent the ball going in on his 900th senior appearance, a truly monumental achievement.

Cardiff definitely didn’t deserve to win this game, but neither did we deserve to lose it. However a bit of luck, and about time really, helped the Bluebirds to their first win in four games. Amazingly seven of our remaining 11 games are at home, with our next three being at the CCS. This means the battle for the playoffs is in our own hands, and I believe these next three home games will decide if we can make it or not.

Bristol City

  • 01 James
  • 03 McAllister (Bolasie – 87′ )
  • 04 Fontaine
  • 06 Carey (Adomah – 56′ )
  • 28 McManus
  • 11 Woolford (Davis – 62′ )
  • 21 Cisse
  • 26 Foster
  • 37 Pearson Booked
  • 09 Stead Booked
  • 34 Pitman

Substitutes

  • 22 Gerken
  • 10 Davis
  • 17 Bolasie
  • 27 Adomah
  • 39 Wood

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton Booked (Blake – 89′ )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson Booked
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie Booked
  • 13 Lawrence (Vuckic – 73′ )
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 20 Mason
  • 09 Miller (Kiss – 90′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 19 Vuckic
  • 23 Blake
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Brighton 2 Cardiff City 2

Played on: Wednesday 7th March 2012

Cardiff came agonisingly close to securing their first away win of 2012 but Sam Vokes’s 89th minute equaliser denied the Bluebirds three much needed points. City led twice through Mason and a trademark Whittingham screamer but couldn’t hold on for the win.

I nearly went to the game as me and a friend wanted to see Brighton’s new stadium as I think the AMEX looks fantastic. However as I’m currently in university in Stoke, a match ticket and train fares would have cost over £70 which is ridiculous really. I am a student after all! So I decided to listen to the game on the radio.

Huddle before kick-off

The first half was very uneventful and upon hearing I was currently very happy that I hadn’t forked out the cash to travel to the game. Craig Mackail-Smith was class when Brighton beat us at home back in August and the striker had the first good chance of the match this time around. The Scotsman found space in the penalty box but his shot was well saved by compatriot Marshall in the Cardiff goal.

The best chance of the half came seven minutes before the break. A cleverly worked set-piece found Brighton’s Gonzalo Jara in acres of space at the back post. He cut inside and fired a low left footed shot at goal, only to cannon off the post and out of danger.

The second half however I would have been happy paying for. With both sides struggling to create chances it was going to take a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock. Cue Joe Mason. After Brighton failed to clear Cowie’s cross, the ball fell to Mason who ran between two defenders before slotting home the calmest of finishes. This was the young striker’s ninth goal of the season and gave Cardiff the lead 57 minutes in, albeit against the run of play.

The goal seemed to bring the game to life and Gus Poyet’s triple substitution gave Brighton renewed vigour. It was no surprise that Craig Noone would play a part in any goal Brighton were to score after Cardiff failed in an attempt to buy the winger in January. Noone’s cross found Barnes who acrobatically hit the ball in first time with the outside of his boot to equalise for the Seagulls on 72 minutes.

Brighton’s lead wouldn’t last long, less than a minute in fact as Whittingham restored City’s lead with a beauty of a strike. The ball fell to the midfield maestro just outside the box who hit an unstoppable 20-yard half volley into the top left corner of the net. He really “does what he wants” with another world class strike to add to his own personal goal of the season competition.

Liam Lawrence set up Cardiff's second goal on his debut

The Bluebirds seemed to have won it but Whittingham’s strike, a goal worthy of winning any game, was cancelled out by Vokes 90 seconds from time. With McNaughton caught ball watching, Barnes was allowed to nip in at the far post and knock the ball across goal for Vokes to tap in to preserve Brighton’s unbeaten record in 2012.

We’ve been stuttering in form of late and the defence is beginning to look vulnerable. I have complete and utter faith in Malky who has performed miracles this season with the club exceeding expectations. Yet I would like to see him freshen things up a bit. We’re becoming predictable to play against and tiredness is beginning to show. So why not play some fresh players who will be eager to take their chance and might well make a difference. Three points need to be won against Bristol in the Severnside Derby on Saturday, and I think we will win.

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 02 Mattock
  • 03 Greer
  • 06 El-Abd
  • 36 Jara
  • 08 Navarro
  • 26 Bridcutt Booked
  • 28 Razak (Buckley – 60′ )
  • 09 Barnes
  • 12 Mackail-Smith (Vokes – 60′ )
  • 13 Assulin (Noone – 59′ )

Substitutes

  • 16 Ankergren
  • 14 Calderon
  • 11 Noone
  • 30 Buckley
  • 24 Vokes

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson Booked
  • 25 Turner Booked
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie Booked
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson (Kiss – 80′ )
  • 09 Miller
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 19 Vuckic
  • 23 Blake
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Cardiff City 0 West Ham 2

Played on: Sunday 4th March 2012

This was by far the worst Cardiff performance I’ve witnessed all season. A shame when you consider that only a week earlier we nearly accomplished the seemingly impossible against Liverpool.

West Ham was always going to be the toughest home game we’d face all season and I believed our impressive Wembley performance would mean one of two things. Either we would be full of spirit and put in another strong performance, or be very flat and tired after giving everything in the final. Sadly it was the latter as a very lethargic City performance saw us well beat 2-0 by the big spending Hammers.

McNaughton tries to find a way through the West Ham midfield

Cardiff actually made the brighter start and had the first good chance of the game through Kenny Miller. The Scotsman’s stinging drive was tipped over for a corner by Robert Green. Both Miller and Gunnarson then fired wide from far out. West Ham then missed three good chances from Collison, Vaz Te and Maynard, all of which could easily have found their way into the Cardiff net as they began to dominate play.

Fatigue started to show in the Bluebirds camp when Gestede was forced off on 35 minutes with a hamstring injury, being replaced by Haris Vuckic. These Cardiff players were forced to play extra time and penalties last Sunday, while in contrast West Ham were in Dubai resting.

Malky would have wanted his side to reach half-time with the score still goalless; however this wasn’t to be as the Hammers took the lead two minutes from the break. Gunnarson inadvertently nudged the ball into Maynard’s path and the striker played a slick reverse pass to Nolan who fired a curling side footed effort past Marshall into the far corner. This was Nolan’s eighth goal of the season and in truth gave West Ham the lead they deserved.

The Hammers celebrate taking a deserved lead

With pressure now on the Bluebirds to equalise, I expected us to start the second half stronger. How wrong I was. Vaz Te could have doubled his sides lead as a long ball caught our defence napping. Vaz Te beat the onrushing Marshall but couldn’t quite get the ball past Hudson who cleared the ball to safety. McNaughton was next to gift West Ham a chance. His poor headed back pass was intercepted by Maynard who raced one-on-one with Marshall, only for the keeper to stay big and block his shot to spare McNaughton’s blushes.

Cardiff finally started to come into the game after an hour of football. Mason and Turner both fired over before Miller saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Whittingham came so close to equalising for City but his curling free-kick hit the inside of the post. If only this had gone in then perhaps we could have held on for a draw. That could have meant that we would have four of the most underserved points against a West Ham side destined for promotion, but it wasn’t to be.

Whittingham tries to beat Nolan

With the team looking dead on their legs, I was surprised that Malky didn’t use any of his two remaining subs as the Hammers again began to dominate. And they duly doubled their advantage through the most unlikely source of George McCartney on 77 minutes. The defender beat McNaughton before his cross luckily ricocheted off Turner and back into his own path. He then fired in at a tight angle to score his first goal since 2007.

This wrapped up the three points for the London club but Cardiff did come close to claiming at least a consolation goal. First Mason attempted to lob Green from close range but saw his effort cleared off the line. Then, with the final touch of the game, Miller headed against the crossbar from close range.

Cardiff couldn't repeat last weeks Wembley heroics against a strong West Ham outfit

This was a very poor performance from a very tired looking Cardiff outfit. Our team seems to severely lack much pace which I feel is a necessity in modern football. That said; all our outfield players were those who put in a truly heroic performance last week, so to doubt them or to say they’re not good enough really is not fair.

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 09 Miller
  • 15 Gestede (Vuckic – 35′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 19 Vuckic
  • 23 Blake

West Ham United

  • 01 Green
  • 03 McCartney
  • 05 Tomkins
  • 15 Faye
  • 17 O’Brien
  • 04 Nolan
  • 10 Collison
  • 16 Noble
  • 22 Lansbury (O’Neil – 75′ )
  • 08 Maynard (Cole – 63′ )
  • 12 Vaz Te

Substitutes

  • 31 Boffin
  • 48 Potts
  • 32 O’Neil
  • 07 Baldock
  • 09 Cole
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy