Tag Archive | Match Reports

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

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

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.