Tag Archive | Carling Cup

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
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Cardiff City 2 Liverpool 2 (2-3 on penalties)

Played on: Sunday 26th February 2012

Then the seemingly impossible happened. Whittingham curled in a corner that Gunnarson headed towards Turner. And then everything just stopped. At no point during this game did I allow myself to believe that we could beat Liverpool, until now. . . .

Never have I been so proud to be a Cardiff fan than after those epic 120 minutes of football. It’s a really weird feeling as I’m absolutely gutted that we lost the game, especially as it was only the lottery of penalties that sealed our fate, but yet I’m so proud of the players who gave their absolute all. It may well be a very bitter pill to swallow, but we gave them one hell of a game and one that I’m sure every City fan will never forget.

Within the first two minutes I thought it was going to be a long day when Glen Johnson’s shot struck the underside of the bar. And to be brutally honest I really didn’t think we stood much of a chance before kickoff, so I was as surprised as anyone when we actually took the lead!

Kenny Miller’s precision pass fed Joe Mason who was the Bluebird to give hope to City fans when he calmly slotted the ball under Pepe Reina’s legs. The goal came completely against the run of play, but it was early in the game and I still didn’t believe that we could triumph over a Liverpool team with the quality of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Stuart Downing. But young Mason’s goal gave us a chance, a player who, when signed at the start of the season from lowly League Two Plymouth believed he was being signed for the future. Yet here he was, scoring a goal against Premier League Liverpool, in the cup final, at Wembley.

The home side (well, we have been there four times now!) had to put up with wave upon wave of Liverpool attack. But the centre back pairing of Mark Hudson and Ben Turner was truly fantastic, throwing themselves at every shot to keep the Bluebirds ahead.

My view of the Wembley pitch

Craig Bellamy came on to rapturous applause from both sets of fans. For a player who gets booed at virtually every game he plays, this was a reception that he will certainly savour. Bellamy’s arrival however seemed to spur Liverpool on and they equalised on the hour mark through the goal machine that is…Martin Skrtel. Suarez headed Downing’s corner against the post and Skrtel was first to the rebound, taking a touch before driving the ball between Tom Heaton’s legs to draw Liverpool level.

Lets face it, the equaliser had been coming but Kenny Miller could have so easily won it for Cardiff with just two minutes to go, a team that had no right to put themselves in a position to win such a game. The ball bounced up perfectly for the experienced Scot who fired his shot over the bar, despite having the goal at his mercy.

The game almost inevitably went to extra time and City’s players were starting to tire. Mark Hudson was forced off with cramp and Liverpool had chances aplenty through Suarez, Gerrard, Bellamy and Johnson, but a mixture of poor finishing and fine saves kept them at bay. Cardiff were finally undone in the 108th minute. Dirk Kuyt’s shot was blocked by Anthony Gerrard, only for the ball to come back to the Dutchman who drilled the ball past Heaton’s near post.

This was surely it for the Bluebirds. The team had given their absolute everything. Gunnarson could barely walk, yet his spirit to battle on epitomised a gutsy Cardiff performance. The fans were screaming their team on and when Filip Kiss saw his shot blocked on the line by Kuyt, it didn’t look like it was going to be our day.

City fans at Wembley

Then the seemingly impossible happened.

Whittingham curled in a corner that Gunnarson headed towards Turner. And then everything just stopped. At no point during this game did I allow myself to believe that we could beat Liverpool, until now. Ben Turner bundling the ball into the net is a goal that will live with me forever. Madness erupted in the stands as complete strangers embraced each other. My friend managed to cut his lip open after clashing heads with another city fan while we all celebrated, but he didn’t care. This was a historic moment for Cardiff City; to take Liverpool to penalties was an amazing achievement, even if we couldn’t go on to win it.

Although when Heaton pulled out arguably the best penalty save I’ve ever seen from Stevie G, I thought it could be our day, even more so when Adam sent his out of the stadium. This is where it landed by the way…

But it wasn’t to be, Miller and Gestede both struck their spot-kicks against the post, before our own Gerrard sent his wide to seal our fate. I am not at all ashamed by our defeat, in fact I’m massively proud of the performance the boys gave, but I will admit it is rather annoying to lose on penalties when the opposition goalkeeper didn’t even make a single save.

This game was a true “I was there” moment. One that will join the Leeds FA Cup game in 2002, Leicester and Blackpool in the playoff semi and final in 2010, and also the last game at Ninian Park against Ipswich in my books.

We’ve lost the game, but this is honestly the proudest I have ever been of Cardiff City Football Club. Our fantastic football club.

In Malky we trust!

Cardiff City

  • 22 Heaton
  • 02 McNaughton (Blake – 106′)
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson (Gerrard – 99′)
  • 25 Turner Booked
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 09 Miller
  • 15 Gestede
  • 20 Mason (Kiss – 91′ Booked)

Substitutes

  • 01 Marshall
  • 06 Gerrard
  • 18 Naylor
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 23 Blake
  • 10 Earnshaw

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 Johnson
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 05 Agger (Carragher – 86′ )
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 14 Henderson Booked (Bellamy – 58′)
  • 19 Downing
  • 26 Adam
  • 07 Suarez
  • 09 Carroll (Kuyt – 103′)

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 11 Maxi
  • 20 Spearing
  • 18 Kuyt
  • 39 Bellamy
Media from Youtube user: PearsAndStairs. All photographs taken by myself.