Archive | April 2012

Crystal Palace 1 Cardiff City 2 Phew…

At the start of this season I, like many others, expected a season of mid-table mediocrity for Cardiff. Yet yesterdays win at Selhurst Park meant a third consecutive finish in the playoff places in a season that we also reached our first ever Carling Cup final. This is a massive achievement and credit to Malky Mackay and his players who have been superb this season.

City fans travelled to Palace in numbers knowing that a win or draw would guarantee us a top six finish and the Bluebirds started the game brightly with Joe Mason having the first good chance. Liam Lawrence’s 20-yard drive was spilled by Palace keeper Lewis Price but he was up quickly to deny Mason’s follow up.

My view of the Selhurst Park pitch prior to kick-off

But it was the home side that took the lead against the run of play. Wilfred Zaha played the ball to Darren Ambrose before racing onto the midfielder’s defence-splitting through pass to finish under the advancing David Marshall. This made things a lot nervier for City as a Middlesbrough win with us losing would have meant dropping out of the playoff places.

The Cardiff faithful remained in fine voice and Price kept out headers from Mason and Mark Hudson before half-time. Kenny Miller went close in the second period when his drive went just wide of the far post but the Bluebirds took the lead shortly after. Peter Whittingham curled in a free-kick from the tightest of angles on 53 minutes. This was the midfielder’s 13th goal of the season and there was a massive sigh of relief from the away end. I ended up celebrating with two lads in the row in front who came dressed as Mr Blobby and a chicken which was different to say the least.

Cardiff were much the better side and should have won by more really

The pressure was somewhat lifted nine minutes later when the Bluebirds took a deserved lead. Hudson flicked on Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw to Don Cowie who volleyed into the bottom corner of the Palace net. This is the first time this season that Cardiff have come from 1-0 to win a game and the players and manager looked jubilant on the pitch at full-time.

Cardiff players came over to celebrate with fans after the final whistle

So playoffs it is then. We are the only one of the four sides who weren’t in the Premiership last season and it’s going to be a difficult task. However, we are unbeaten in 10 and have won four of our last six matches so we’re going into the games in fine form. Cardiff have now finished in the playoffs for the last three seasons and although we’ve failed in the last two, this time we are going in as the underdogs which is a status we always seem to thrive off. Hopefully this is the case and we can reach a Wembley final for the second time this year.

Crystal Palace

  • 34 Price
  • 05 McCarthy
  • 21 Moxey
  • 26 Parsons Booked
  • 04 Parr
  • 07 Ambrose (De Silva – 73′ )
  • 10 Garvan Booked
  • 28 O’Keefe
  • 11 Scannell (Pedroza – 54′ )
  • 16 Zaha
  • 17 Murray

Substitutes

  • 40 Fitzsimons
  • 22 Wynter
  • 36 De Silva
  • 25 Pedroza
  • 27 Sekajja

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton (Blake – 72′ )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson Booked
  • 09 Miller Booked (Gestede – 79′ )
  • 20 Mason (Earnshaw – 90′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 23 Blake
  • 37 McPhail
  • 10 Earnshaw
  • 15 Gestede
Ref: Mason
Att: 15,510
All photos taken by myself
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It’s Crunch Time…

A win or a draw on Saturday will guarantee us a playoff place but will we “do a Cardiff” and bottle it again? Either way we’ve far exceeded my expectations this season and then some.

At the start of this season I expected Cardiff to finish mid-table. Following last season’s collapse in the playoffs we lost quality players such as Bellamy, Chopra and Bothroyd whilst other departures were more welcomed such as Bywater and Emmanuel-Thomas. All in all, 12 players departed in the summer, along with the manager and the majority of his backroom staff. Malky Mackay was named as the new gaffer and had to bring in pretty much a full squad of players.

Cardiff now have to finish in the playoff places in my opinion

Because of this I expected a season of transition, with the team and backroom staff needing time to get used to the club and playing together. However Malky and his men were quick to prove me wrong, and thankfully so. The team have not only been challenging for promotion all season but also reached the Carling Cup final, and against all the odds nearly came out victorious against Liverpool only to lose on penalties.

We now need one point on the final day of the season to claim a playoff spot and despite my pre-season expectations… we now HAVE to finish in the top six. Anything else has suddenly become unacceptable as the strong performances this season have raised the bar. I don’t expect us to win the playoffs, but to at least finish there is an amazing achievement in Mackay’s first season in charge. Having said that, the playoffs are only three games and if we can play at our best for those games then there’s an outside chance that we could gain promotion.

“Doing a Cardiff” is falling at that last hurdle as we have done in the last two seasons. If we lose against Crystal Palace and don’t make the playoffs then we have well and truly done it again. However, if we lose out in the playoffs then for me personally that is not “doing a Cardiff” and the season will ultimately be a success.

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

It’s Never Dull Being a Cardiff Fan

I went to my first City game at Ninian Park back when I was six years old and ever since I’ve been hooked. I have seen the club gain one promotion and reach three Wembley finals, but we’ve fallen short every time we come close to reaching the big time.

By this I mean reaching the Premier League or winning either the FA or Carling Cup, and all three of these we’ve come so close to doing in the last four years. We lost the FA Cup final to Premiership Portsmouth by a single goal. Again against Blackpool in the playoff final we lost by one goal and in this year’s Carling Cup final the mighty (or at least once mighty) Liverpool could only just beat us on penalties.

My Cardiff tickets in the shape of the Bluebirds badge sent by my creative mum which looks great to be fair. I would have at least another hundred if it wasn't for those new cards

For a Championship club to reach these finals is itself amazing but when will we actually stop knocking on the door and step over that elusive line. This season we look set to finish in the playoff places for a third consecutive year but for the first time I honestly cannot see us winning the playoffs. I don’t think we’re playing well enough and the other three teams will be favourites ahead of us.

Will we be playing at Wembley for the second time this season come the playoff final?

But will this help us? For some reason Cardiff always seem to raise their game against the ‘bigger’ clubs and the underdog status may benefit us. I hope this is the case anyway as I would love to see us losing 4-0 to Manchester City next year, and that is no word of a lie. First of all we have to not lose our last game of the season against Palace on Saturday to guarantee ourselves a place in the top six. Hopefully we can at least do that.

Here’s a link showing ticket prices for the game at Palace on Saturday, I’ll be there to support the boys.

http://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/page/AwayTickets/0,,10335~2721883,00.html

All pictures are my own

Cardiff City 1 Leeds 1

Played on: Saturday 21st April 2012

Today I won the least satisfying £10.50 ever. If Cardiff had beaten Leeds in the early kick-off then we would have been guaranteed playoffs. Sadly we drew one-all after again surrendering a goal lead in a match. We’re the club that has dropped the most points from leading positions this season which is very annoying.

Anyway, despite drawing we could still have been confirmed a playoff spot if Middlesbrough failed to beat second placed Southampton. With this is mind I thought I’d stick a fiver on Boro to win. Happy if they lose or draw as we would be guaranteed playoffs, happy if they won as I’d be over a tener up. It turned out that Middlesbrough did win to keep us on edge going into the final game next week and to be honest, I’d have much preferred to have lost my fiver in that sense but hey ho.

Applause for former Cardiff manager Eddie May who sadly passed away last week

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Cardiff manager Eddie May who sadly passed away last week. Liam Lawrence had the first effort for the Bluebirds but his shot was easily saved by the impressive Andy Lonergan in the Leeds goal. Ex-City forward Ross McCormack then missed a great chance to give the Yorkshire side the lead with his header going just wide of the post.

But the Bluebirds were dominant in the first-half and took the lead on 41 minutes through Joe Mason. The youngster, who signed a new four-year deal this week, raced onto Peter Whittingham’s long pass and lobbed the ball over the advancing Lonergan from inside the box. Miller then had an 18-yard strike saved by the Leeds keeper in first-half stoppage time.

For some reason Cardiff seemed lethargic after the break and couldn’t get a foothold in the game. Leeds, with renewed purpose, went close through Thompson, Becchio and Pugh before Cardiff finally had a second-half chance of their own 70 minutes in. Andrew Taylor’s goal-bound volley was well saved by Lonergan who was to thank for his side leaving with a point. The away side dealt City’s playoffs hopes a blow when Becchio headed in from a corner 15 minutes from time.

The draw denied City from confirming a place in the playoffs

Leeds deserved their point and Cardiff are now unbeaten in nine games; however six of those have been draws. It’s a shame that we couldn’t secure a playoff spot today as it would have taken the pressure off us going into the final game against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Fingers crossed we can get the job done there.

The manager and owners thanked fans after the final home game of the season. TG still remembers that Liverpool score then!

The manager and owners thanked fans after the final home game of the season. TG still remembers that Liverpool score then!

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton (Blake – 90′ )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson Booked
  • 37 McPhail (Kiss – 64′ )
  • 09 Miller (Earnshaw – 90′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 23 Blake
  • 52 Ralls
  • 10 Earnshaw

Leeds United

  • 01 Lonergan
  • 04 Bruce
  • 22 Lees
  • 26 Bromby (Connolly – 32′ )
  • 33 Robinson
  • 15 Clayton Booked (Nunez – 60′ )
  • 16 Pugh
  • 29 Thompson
  • 10 Becchio
  • 23 Snodgrass
  • 44 McCormack (Webber – 59′ )

Substitutes

  • 02 Connolly
  • 31 Taylor
  • 20 Nunez
  • 18 Forssell
  • 25 Webber
Ref: Halsey
Att: 25,109
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Cardiff City v Leeds Match Preview

Cardiff host Leeds tomorrow and a win in the early kick off will guarantee us a playoff place. The Bluebirds are currently on an eight game unbeaten run and although we’ve not been scoring too many of late, we have made ourselves very difficult to beat this season.

Three points against the Yorkshire club will give us a playoff spot for the third consecutive year. However if Middlesbrough fail to beat Southampton we will also be ensured of a top six finish.

Leeds are the visitors at the Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow (12.30pm)

The Bluebirds go into the game unbeaten in their last eight matches, although five of those have been draws. Fingers crossed we can get the job done tomorrow to take the pressure off ourselves for the final week, but Leeds are going to be difficult to beat.

The previous meeting between the two sides this season ended in a one-all draw with Joe Mason scoring for the Bluebirds. Let’s hope we can go one better tomorrow and take all three points and secure ourselves a place in the playoffs.

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

My Favourite Cardiff City Goal

Mark Hudson’s screamer on Tuesday is right up there in regards to my favourite Cardiff City goal. However my number one has to be Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s strike against Wolves in the FA Cup at Ninian Park.

Jimmy’s dummy and shot was along the way to us reaching the Wembley final in 2008. He started the move with a diagonal ball that Ben Turner would have been proud of before emphatically firing into the net. I was in the Bob bank that day and as soon as the ball left his foot I knew it was going in. Here’s a video of my favourite City goal.

Not only is the finish world class but the whole build up play for the goal is quality. Definitely my favourite Bluebirds goal. Chwarae teg Jimmy.

Media from YouTube user: bazgotbanned

That Hudson Goal!

I’ve mentioned Mark Hudson’s 68-yard goal in my Derby match report but it’s such an amazing goal that I felt it was worth its own post. Cardiff’s captain fantastic, I take my hat off to you.

The commentator says it’s reminiscent of Beckham’s famous goal but Hudson’s is much better, and he’s a centre half!

It’s also brilliant hearing BBC Radio Wales’ Rob Phillips’ commentary on the goal. I think to say he enjoyed it too is an understatement…

Click here to listen to Rob Phillips’ commentary

Media from YouTube user xXSneakySn4keXx