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Cardiff City 2 Derby County 0

Played on: Tuesday 17th April 2012

Mark Hudson take a bow! That is the best Cardiff goal I have probably ever seen. Most definitely from the furthest out! The BBC have said ‘Cardiff’s Hudson scores goal like Beckham’…I’m sorry but Golden Balls has got nothing on Hudson’s 68-yard strike.

Yesterday’s win over Derby coupled with Boro only managing a draw with relegated Doncaster means we’re within touching distance of the playoffs. The win was superb and in case you haven’t heard, Hudson scored from inside his own half! I’ve fallen in love with this goal if you hadn’t already noticed.

The win means the Bluebirds are a step closer to claiming a playoff spot

Malky Mackay told his team to win last night in memory of Eddie May and the former manager’s name was chanted out from the stands. Kenny Miller had the first good chance of the game but Frank Fielding in the Derby goal tipped his 18-yard shot past the post. The visitors thought they had opened the scoring 14 minutes in when Nathan Tyson put the ball in the net, but thankfully the striker was deemed to be in an offside position.

Aron Gunnarsson then tried his luck from distance and his brilliant half-volley was tipped over by Fielding. And the Bluebirds broke the deadlock on 24 minutes through Joe Mason. The youngster scored the rebound after Miller’s shot cannoned back off the post.

Derby refused to lie down and had shots of goal from Jeff Hendrick, Tom Naylor and Jake Buxton before City doubled their advantage in emphatic fashion 63 minutes in with THAT goal. Hudson brought down a poor Fielding kick and with the County keeper off his line and the crowd shouting shoot, the Cardiff skipper audaciously tried his luck. From 68-yards the central-defenders shot flew into the back of the net, evading the backtracking Derby keeper to send fans and players alike wild. This has to be the goal of the season as far as I’m concerned and here’s a link below to the goal which is a must see.

Hudson’s wonder goal

The players pile of goalscorer Hudson after he scores from inside his own half

David Marshall made two great saves late on to maintain Cardiff’s clean-sheet before Robert Earnshaw had a shot blocked at the other end as he looked for a goal against his former club.

Malky, "How the hell did you manage that?"

This was a massive win for the Bluebirds and Boro’s defeat means a place in the playoffs is all but ours. I think two points from a possible six will be enough for us, but all too often we’ve messed things up at the business end of the season.  Here’s hoping we can finish in the playoff places for the third consecutive year. Come on City…

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton Booked
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 37 McPhail (Ralls – 54′ )
  • 09 Miller (Earnshaw – 69′ )
  • 20 Mason (Blake – 79′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 23 Blake
  • 27 Harris
  • 52 Ralls
  • 10 Earnshaw

Derby County

  • 01 Fielding
  • 03 Roberts
  • 06 Shackell
  • 17 Buxton
  • 31 Naylor (Brayford – 46′ )
  • 04 Bryson
  • 23 Hendrick
  • 32 Green
  • 09 Tyson Booked
  • 10 Ward (S Davies – 49′ )
  • 21 Robinson (Bailey – 83′ )

Substitutes

  • 13 Legzdins
  • 02 Brayford
  • 16 Bailey
  • 19 Carroll
  • 07 S Davies
Ref: Probert
Att: 21,216
 Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Barnsley 0 Cardiff City 1

Played on: Saturday 14th April 2012

It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but Cardiff’s 1-0 win at Oakwell yesterday kept us in the playoff places. Annoyingly, Middlesbrough scored a late goal to win at Derby which leaves them hot on our heels. They are the only side that I feel can now knock us out of the top six after Brighton put themselves out of contention, losing 6-0 to West Ham.

The first half was a scrappy affair with few chances. Barnsley keeper David Button easily gathered Kenny Miller’s scuffed shot before Michael Tonge dragged his shot wide at the other end.

The Bluebirds knew a win at Barnsley would consolidate their place in the playoffs

The first good chance of the game came just before halftime when Peter Whittingham curled a free-kick just wide of the goal that many City fans thought had gone in. Whitts has scored so many goals just like that these last few seasons that we almost expect them to go in at times.

The second half saw a much improved Cardiff performance who created their first chance just 30 seconds after the restart. Don Cowie exchanged passes with Miller, but his left-footed effort was saved by Button.

But the Bluebirds eventually broke the deadlock on 69 minutes with on-loan Liam Lawrence scoring his first goal for the club. Andrew Taylor advanced down the left flank and swung in a peach of a cross to the back post for Lawrence to head into the bottom corner.

Taylor's cross put Lawrence's goal on a plate for him

Ben Turner somehow shot over from close range late on but Barnsley, despite bossing possession, never looked like equalising. The victory now means that Cardiff are unbeaten in seven. We are two points ahead of Middlesbrough with three games to go so hopefully we can finish in those playoff places.

Barnsley

  • 25 Button
  • 06 Foster
  • 14 Wiseman
  • 15 McNulty
  • 23 Collins
  • 05 Doyle
  • 08 O’Brien
  • 11 Perkins
  • 28 Tonge (Gray – 75′ )
  • 21 Nouble (Davies – 75′ )
  • 24 Noble-Lazarus (Cotterill – 59′ )

Substitutes

  • 07 Dawson
  • 17 Cotterill
  • 09 Davies
  • 18 Higginbotham
  • 27 Gray

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton Booked
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie (McPhail – 55′ )
  • 13 Lawrence Booked
  • 17 Gunnarsson (Blake – 82′ )
  • 09 Miller
  • 20 Mason (Earnshaw – 86′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 23 Blake
  • 27 Harris
  • 37 McPhail
  • 10 Earnshaw
Ref: Geoff Eltrigham
Att: 9,122

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Pre Barnsley Press Conference

I went to another Cardiff press conference at the Vale this morning ahead of the trip to Barnsley tomorrow. David Marshall was the player we had this week and Malky Mackay made us wait as he usually does, over an hour in fact.

I think three points are a must tomorrow and looking at recent form I think we’ll get them. Here are the voice notes from the press conference if anyone wants to hear what the keeper and manager had to say.

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall:

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay:

Malky Mackay says playoffs are now in Cardiff's own hands

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy.

Cardiff City 1 Watford 1

Played on: Monday 9th April 2012

It definitely feels like a case of two points dropped following Cardiff’s one all draw with Watford yesterday. It was a rubbish game and a horrid rainy day, but thankfully I was in the press box. Free ticket, programme, Clarks Pie, hot drinks and a very good view far enough back to avoid the rain made the game far more enjoyable for me than the majority of Cardiff fans in the stadium.

I was also sitting next to City legend Nathan Blake which was a good laugh to say the least. I asked Blakey how he didn’t have some kind of free season ticket from the club but his response was: “Complimentary season ticket? I’m lucky if I get a complimentary cup of tea around here anymore!” Good to know we look after our greats…

The teams come out on a rainy Cardiff afternoon. Thankfully I was under cover

The teams come out on a rainy Cardiff afternoon

There were a few surprises when I was handed the team sheet with recent bench warmer Craig Conway starting along with Kenny Miller, the Scottish international passing a fitness test prior to the game after going off injured against Middlesbrough last time out.

The home side started strongly with McPhail ticking things over and Watford barely touched the ball in the first 15 minutes. Ben Turner headed just wide of the goal from a Peter Whittingham corner and Conway’s low drive from 20 yards just went wide of the post.

Craig Conway was a surprise inclusion but started brightly against the Hornets

Craig Conway was a surprise inclusion but started brightly against the Hornets

Jonathan Hogg was fortunate to stay on the pitch following a foul on Conway just after the half hour mark. The winger was forced off and Mackay revealed in the post match press conference that Conway will have an x-ray to see if his ankle is broken.

However, Conway was forced off injured after a poor challenge from Watford's Jonathan Hogg

Apart from the opening 15 minutes, this was a poor game of football and the game was in desperate need of a goal. Thankfully this came in first half stoppage time and put the Bluebirds in front. A long ball up the right wing by Kevin McNaughton found Don Cowie. The former Watford man wriggled free of his defenders to cross for an unmarked Miller to score a great headed goal. Yes Kenny Miller. This was the strikers first goal in 16 appearances and hopefully now he’s ended his barren spell he can go on to score a few more.

Cardiff just about deserved their lead at halftime and Miller nearly doubled his tally soon after the break. Liam Lawrence, Conway’s replacement, whipped in an inviting cross that Miller headed goalwards but on-loan Manchester United keeper Thomasz Kuszczak tipped his effort onto the post.

The team celebrate with Miller after breaking his scoring drought

The team celebrate with Miller after breaking his scoring drought

This appeared to be the turning point in the game as Watford suddenly sprung to life. First Martin Taylor’s powerful header was pushed over his bar by David Marshall in the Cardiff goal. Sean Murray then had a shot blocked before John Eustace fired over during a strong spell for the visitors. The pressure eventually told when poor marking from a Murray free-kick let Nyron Nosworthy knock the ball in to draw the Hornets level on 82 minutes.

Watford deserved their equaliser after dominating most of the second half, but Cardiff will be frustrated that yet again they couldn’t hold onto all three points and were stung by the Hornets. And it could have been even worse for the Bluebirds had substitute Chris Iwelumo scored with the last kick of the match following a three on two Watford breakaway.

Watford celebrate their equaliser

Fortunately for Cardiff, most of the teams around us also dropped points so we remain in that final playoff place with four games of the season left. Maximum points from those remaining fixtures will guarantee us a playoff spot, however I’m pretty certain that we won’t get 12 out of a possible 12 points so hopefully those around us will slip up a bit too, I’ll be very grateful if they do.

Here are the quotes from the post match press conference.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay:

Cardiff midfielder Don Cowie:

Watford manager Sean Dyche:

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall Booked
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner Booked
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 11 Conway (Lawrence – 38′ )
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 37 McPhail (Kiss – 56′ Booked )
  • 09 Miller

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 13 Lawrence (Earnshaw – 79′ )
  • 27 Harris
  • 10 Earnshaw

Watford

  • 35 Kuszczak
  • 03 Dickinson
  • 05 Taylor
  • 12 Doyley Booked
  • 33 Nosworthy Booked
  • 04 Eustace
  • 19 Buaben (Iwelumo – 78′ )
  • 22 Murray
  • 26 Assombalonga Booked (Garner – 46′ )
  • 32 Hogg Booked
  • 09 Deeney

Substitutes

  • 01 Loach
  • 17 Bennett
  • 24 Whichelow
  • 10 Iwelumo
  • 25 Garner
Ref: Deadman
Att: 21,259
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Middlesbrough 0 Cardiff City 2

Played on : Saturday 7th April 2012

Cardiff climbed back into the playoff places after what could prove to be a crucial win at Middlesbrough. Two goals inside the opening 20 minutes meant City left the Riverside with all three points, but how we were holding on near the end! This was the first win in six matches for Malky Mackay’s side who leapfrogged their hosts and Brighton to move to sixth in the table.

Kenny Miller was forced off injured just six minutes in after Boro keeper Jason Steele clattered him just outside the box. Amazingly the referee didn’t even book Steele for a challenge that was easily a straight red and left Malky incensed on the touchline. Miller’s injury was in fact to be something of a blessing in disguise for the Bluebirds as young Joe Mason replaced him and came close to opening the scoring not long after.

Darcy Blake was called up to the starting XI in place of Kevin McNaughton

The youngster ran onto a through-ball by Stephen McPhail, cut inside onto his left foot and fired a 25-yard shot which deflected over Steele but hit the underside of the post to be cleared by Justin Hoyte.

Cardiff did however open the scoring from the resulting corner. Liam Lawrence’s in-swinger found Ben Turner and the big centre-half guided a free header downward and inside the far post.

Andrew Taylor came close to doubling Cardiff’s advantage against his former club but his low drive went wide of the goal. However, Mason extended City’s lead 19 minutes in with a great solo effort. He raced onto McPhail’s pass and cut inside the area, brilliantly turning his marker one way and then the other before slotting the ball under Steele and into the net. This was the Irishman’s 10th goal of the season and what a prospect he looks to be.

Mason looked lively after coming off the bench and could have scored a few

Middlesbrough started the second half brightly and Mark Hammill’s angled drive hit the post only three minutes after the restart before Scott McDonald fired a shot over the crossbar.

Cardiff were struggling to get a foothold in the second half but at least they were restricting the away side to only long-range efforts on goal.

Boro hit the woodwork again five minutes from time when David Marshall tipped Lukas Jutkiewicz’s goal bound header onto the bar. And the post came to Cardiff’s rescue for a third time when Martin’s free-kick evaded everyone in the box and bounced up onto the bar.

The Bluebirds pushed their luck in the second half with Boro coming close on many occasions. But the fact we held on could prove to be massively important in the push for a playoff place. There are only five games left and it’s going to be a very close run thing. Watford are next up and are the form team in the Championship. Three points against the Hornets would be fantastic but I can see it being a one-all draw. Hopefully I’m wrong and the win today can give us the extra impetus to win the game on Monday.

Middlesbrough

  • 01 Steele
  • 02 Hoyte
  • 03 Bennett Booked
  • 06 McManus
  • 15 Hines
  • 08 Thomson (Emnes – 62′ )
  • 10 Bailey (Ogbeche – 84′ )
  • 11 Hammill (Martin – 69′ )
  • 17 Robson
  • 07 McDonald
  • 30 Jutkiewicz

Substitutes

  • 29 McMahon
  • 22 Martin
  • 33 Smallwood
  • 09 Emnes
  • 16 Ogbeche

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 03 Taylor Booked
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham Booked
  • 08 Cowie
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 23 Blake
  • 37 McPhail Booked (Gestede – 54′ )
  • 09 Miller (Mason – 6′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 10 Earnshaw
  • 15 Gestede (McNaughton – 86′ )
  • 20 Mason
Ref: Friend
Att: 17,564
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy

Cardiff City 0 Millwall 0

Played on: Saturday 31st March 2012

I’d say it is never boring being a Cardiff fan. Not only are we very inconsistent but we’ve had lots of highs and lows in the last 15 years, with this season being no different. However if there was a word to describe yesterdays game then it would have to be for a change, boring.

This was definitely a case of two points dropped for the Bluebirds following another below par performance and an absolute clanger of a decision by the officials! We didn’t play well, but still did just about enough to deserve victory.

The Canton stand try to get the crowd going during a boring game

It was the visitors who started the stronger but long-range efforts from James Henry and Liam Feeney were never troubling the Cardiff goal. Steve McPhail had the first chance for the Bluebirds, testing Maik Taylor before Mark Hudson struck another volley at goal, but unlike last weekend’s screamer, this one was closed down.

The best chance of the first half fell Cardiff’s way as a mistake from Millwall keeper Taylor allowed Joe Mason to have a shot on goal. However, Lions skipper Paul Robinson threw himself forward to block the ball on the line and deny Mason.

Joe Mason tries to beat the Millwall defence

The home side improved in the second half and Mason was again denied by Taylor. The veteran keeper tipping his strong header over the bar. Many of the spectators in the stadium, including myself, thought that Millwall had taken the lead when former Bluebird Andy Keogh fired past David Marshall, but the linesman correctly waved his flag for offside.

Cardiff also had a goal ruled out 10 minutes from time but this one the officials had horribly wrong. It looked like Aron Gunnarsson had beaten Taylor with a header from a Liam Lawrence free-kick; however the linesman flagged for an apparent foul in the box. Replays showed that the player who was apparently fouled just fell over and how the officials managed to make such a terrible decision is beyond me.

A poor decision from the officials deny Cardiff a late goal

This poor decision probably did cost City all three points, but if we’d been more clinical in front of goal then victory would have been ours anyway. I thought Whittingham was not his usual self today, his through balls being particularly bad. It’s now four goalless draws in five matches at the Cardiff City Stadium and we really need to start winning at home. A difficult game at Middlesbrough is next up for the Bluebirds and a game that we ultimately cannot afford to lose.

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 13 Lawrence Booked
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 37 McPhail (Gestede – 63′ )
  • 09 Miller (Earnshaw – 76′ )
  • 20 Mason (Conway – 74′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 11 Conway
  • 23 Blake
  • 10 Earnshaw
  • 15 Gestede

Millwall

  • 39 Taylor
  • 03 Craig
  • 05 Robinson
  • 21 Smith Booked
  • 31 Lowry
  • 14 Henry Booked
  • 15 Feeney
  • 26 Abdou
  • 44 Wright (Ward – 90′ )
  • 20 Keogh
  • 37 Kane (Henderson – 59′ Booked )

Substitutes

  • 01 Forde
  • 02 Dunne
  • 18 Ward
  • 08 Bouazza
  • 07 Henderson
Ref: Bates
Att: 21,259
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