Sunday, November 30, 2008
Histon, the round's giantkillers having disposed of Leeds United, were rewarded with a home draw against Swansea City.
From the debris of this explosive encounter, Cardiff City emerged with a 2-2 but will be kicking themselves after skipper Steve McPhail got himself needlessly sent off at the Liberty Stadium for the second time this season when City were leading 2-1 and in complete control. It cost Cardiff 2 points and nearly all 3 as they hung on desparately for their draw.
City made a change in midfield with Gavin Rae dropped as Dave Jones at last looked at his under-performing central midfield, Joe Ledley was drafted in with his fingers in a cast. Paul Parry and Riccy Scimeca were on the bench but club captain Darren Purse found himself out of the 16 altogether with some speculation that he has fallen out with the gaffer for words in private as well as those expressed on his personal website.
Cardiff fell behind on 19 minutes, moments after Chops missed a cracking chance and in controversial style as Jason Scotland, clearly offside, was allowed to square a ball for PRATLEY to place home and celebrate with the swim away style.
However back came Cardiff and levelled on half-time with a screamer from JOE LEDLEY, a minute after he missed a far easier chance, it was no more than City deserved.
Boiling point came within 5 minutes of the restart as Chops won a dubious penalty - that cancelled the offisde Swans goal - which McCORMACK coolly despatched. City were now bossing the game until McPhail stupidly kicked the ball away after already having a yellow card leaving City with 10 men.
When Swansea equalised on the hour, PINTADO superbly converting a corner kick, I feared the worst but City held out despite Swansea having 80% possession and thanks to two superb saves from Enkleman.
Cardiff remain 7th, Swansea 8th, McPhail will face the wrath of City fans. Gutted though I am, that was a cracker-JACK of a derby that had just about everything.
Stephen McPhail ready to gain revenge for Cardiff City in derby clash
Accompanied by pre-game Steve McPhail quotes that include;
"But me being sent off in a derby game won’t happen again"
“I need to keep my head this time and make more of an impact.”
Just how shallow and meanignless does that sound tonight??
He's not the first Cardiff City player to talk the talk but fail to back it up on the pitch where it matters and he certainly won't be the last.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Despite collecting a miserable 4 points from the last 15 on offer, City had managed to stay in the play-off frame and seemed ton be shoe-horned in 6th spot.
However Preston beat Bristol City in a live tv evening game and have taken that position. Only a City win at Swansea tomorrow will see them regain the place, a draw would keep them 7th but the unthinkable (defeat) would also see City overhauled by the Jacks.
City could have fallen much lower again but the chasing pack continue to stumble too with QPR, Ipswich and Crystal Palace - each of whom could have passed Cardiff with victory - all settling for draws while Plymouth lost at home.
Ironically, Cardiff's next game post-Swansea is a fixture with Preston at Ninian Park next weekend so these are now 2 big games.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Headline writers will argue it shows we are still the most troublesome club, the club will say it underlines how they are determined to ban troublemakers while fans an overwhleming majority of bans are for drunkenness as opposed to violence, City fans are subjected to more policing and control thasn most clubs and that they have a high conviction rate. Manchester United, for example, had far more arrests but only 11% convictions to Cardiff's 75%.
Bluebirds fans damned in league of shame
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Cardiff fail to take big chance against ReadingWalesOnline
Ten-man Reading hold firm against BluebirdsWalesOnline
Cardiff City (2) 2 Reading (1) 2Telegraph.co.uk
Bluebirds held by 10-man ReadingWalesOnline
ROYALS PERFORMANCE WINS RAVE REVIEWSportinglife.com
Marcus is paying the penaltyWokingham Times
Bikey won’t face further punishmentGet Bracknell
Coppell angered by Bikey dismissalVirgin Media Sport
After last season's never-to-be-forgotten run including two Wembley visits and going so close in the Final against Portsmouth, the draw will evoke the strongest memories amongst the City faithful. City's run last season started out at Chasetown, the lowest ranked team ever to make the Third Round. Who knows where we'll be this time or how far we go but here are the numbers for the draw.
CARDIFF CITY will be ball number 10.
The FA Cup (Sponsored by E.on)
Third Round Draw
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tonight's show on GTFM looked back on City's eventual frustrating and disappointing home draw against 10 man Reading last night and includes an interview with Andy Legg.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
More news as it emerges.
Cardiff midfielder Rae backs Jones axe threatWalesOnline
Dave Jones threatens to wield the axeWalesOnline
Dave Jones is right about need for City changesWalesOnline
Gavin Rae calls on Cardiff City to put Plymouth horror show behind ...WalesOnline
‘We were rubbish. No-one’s place is safe in the team now. That was ...WalesOnline
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This was a poor spectacle. If Cardiff and Plymouth are the 6th and 7th best teams in the Championship and City stay in the play-off zone despite hardly ever impressing all season long, it was a good advert for watching something else instead!
City were without Joe Ledley (who was sitting in the Soccer AM studio instead) but he was replaced by new loan man Wayne Routledge, one of four City players on loan to the club which must be a record for us. City lined up Heaton: McNaughton-Purse-Johnson-Kennedy; Parry-Rae-McPhail-Routledge; Johnson(Eddie)-Chopra.
Argyle had useful forwartds in M'Penza, Gallagher and ex-Jack Fallon who proved too much for our defence and ex-City men Chris Barker giving his usual solid show at left back, the £500k signing from City in Steve MacLean who has done nothing in Devon (saem as South Wales) while their record signing Simon Walton could not get in the 16 and turned down a loan to Crewe in the week. How on earth did they spend £750k on him, £7.50 would have been too much.
Wind apart, we are far too regularly starting games too slowly. Nathan Blake on the radio was suggesting some on our players must have still been on the M5 on the bus 15 minutes into the game. City rode their luck and seemed to be settling into a game where they played into a strong wind that was impacting on the match but then cocked it up completely in the five minutes before the interval.
How many more soft goals are we going to give away? Both today's were diabolical and the whole back four need to take blame. Johnson (allowed himself to be beaten without challenge) and Purse (allowing M'PENZA to get around him and hook a shot without challenge either) on the 1st, Kennedy, Purse and McNaughton for the 2nd with Heaton looking a complete novice) for the 2nd scored by GALLAGHER. No alertness and completely dozy, shocking.
City won a number of second half corners, none carried a threat but CHOPS showed quality finishing to bring City back into the match. However a speculative Rae effort aside, that was pretty much it and all the old faults were there to see.
Rae being anonymous and McPhail playing too deep and ineffectively, the pair being invisible is now past a joke. We'll see the best of McPhail now we have Chopra some say, how long do we need to wait? I'd give Blake a chance yesterday, probably at the expense of Rae who I wouldn't even know was on the pitch these days if it were not for his wayward shots. And just what has happened to Paul Parry? Retired for Wales, he plays as if he's done the same with City lately.
At the back, it's time to give Gypes a chance. Purse and Johnson haven't looked a good unit for some time and neither are playing that well but Purse is always the more vulnerable of the two. His lack of pace and agility regularly catches him out and he's unable to atone for his errors as Johnson can/does. It's not clicking, make a change.
City may also have new injuries on their lengthening list? McNaughton didn't appear for the second half (giving Blake 45 minutes but in defence) while Heaton limped out for the final couple of minutes giving Enckleman his first league show this season.
Not all gloom and doom though. Routledge is going to be a joy to watch and it's two in two for Chops but no matter how much they work on him, I'm more and more sure Eddie Johnson will fall short. It's getting absurd we bombed Thommo and brought in a lesser version of him on treble the money (or more). Nice flicks 35 yards from goal but no presence whatsoever in and around the box, he's nowhere near sharp enough to grab goals. It's crazy we've got a Premiership international player on silly money and have to work night and day just to get him towards bare minimum standard. He will score eventually but he'll never get enough.
Massive week ahead now, time for the boys to show they want it really badly. Too often second best today against an average side. The fact we're in the play-off with 28 points off 18 games (normally only good enough to be in the Top 10) tells you much about the dearth of quality even if it is exciting.
Plymouth Argyle 2 Cardiff City 1Plymouth Evening Herald
Plymouth 2-1 CardiffSportbox, UK
PLYMOUTH 2, CARDIFF 1News of the World
Pilgrims ease past BluebirdsSkySportsPlymouth 2-1 CardiffBBC News
Poor first half costs Cardiff City dearly at PlymouthWalesOnline
Plymouth 2 Cardiff 1Sportinglife.com
Friends in the north aid ArgyleTimes Online
Cardiff City pay for defensive lapses at PlymouthWalesOnline
Plymouth Argyle (2) 2 Cardiff City (0) 1Telegraph.co.uk
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Although yet to be officially confirmed, CARDIFF CITY have shown real ambition for the second time in a week to grab Premeiership men to cover for injured players.
After last week's audacious coup to secure Michael Chopra on loan, The Bluebirds have struck again and believed to have obtained flying winger Wayne Routledge on an initial 2 month loan deal from Aston Villa to offset the current loss to injury of Joe Ledley and Peter Whittingham.
Routledge was a teenage prodigy and I recall how he ripped City apart for Crystal Palace at Ninian Park a couple of seasons ago as they rampaged their way to the Premiership after being in relegation trouble at Christmas. It was that form (83 starts, 27 sub outings and 11 goals) that saw Spurs take the diminuitive but oh so tricky wide man to White Hart Lane in 2005 but he only had 5 appearances although racked up another 39 outings in loan spells at Portsmouth and Fulham.
Last January, January, the 5'7" man was taken to Villa Park by Martin O'Neill for £1.25M but has had only 2 European starts and a handful of substitute appearences to date although general opinion amongst Villa fans is that he has performed very well in reserve games and still looks a talent but not quite managed a breakthrough so a loan spell with Cardiff looks mutually beneficial to City and the player.
Routledge will almost certainly start in Saturday lunchtime's live Sky game at Plymouth Argyle, a fixture where over 1,000 City fans already have tickets.
Blimey, since when did we become a club who were pro-active and showed ambition when injuries and player shortages struck??
Excellent work City.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
An irony is that my wife's large family are quite fractured but it takes something like this to get everyone pulling together and it's great to see. I'm not even sure if they know why they don't talk, I don know it's for nothing major or important. Families eh? Whether this will last is dubious I'd say but you do wonder why some people go out of their way to avoid others and then talk and greet each other like best friends ever when the chips are down. I'm sure Mac will like what he sees at present though. RIP Mac.
The first half was goalless but I'm not sure anyone can work out how. Wales missed four golden chances, skipper Craig Bellamy failing to convert 2 one on one sitters while the Danes saw Myhill produce a superb stop and miss one glorious opening of their own. The half belonged to Wales however and they really should have been winning in an open and entertaining battle.
All the flowing promising football in that first half evaporated midst a flurry of substitutions and tactical changes after the interval but just when you thought it would be goalless, up popped BELLAMY to beat Stoke City's Sorenson with a scuffed edge of box shot that found the corner of goal. Wales had few problems holding on as the Danes, in a spare crowd including 150 Welshies, were roundly booed by their support.
Well done Tosh and the Boys - now please start getting these results ion the games that really matter.
At my door today arrived a brand new release boxset of illusionist/mindwarper Derren Brown from the Daily Star.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Which has more occupants - Cardiff City's Dressing Room or Treatment Room?
A typical November scene with Cardiff City's personnel
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse on the injury front at Ninian Park, they have ... and City have a crisis on their hands.
After losing strikers Ross McCormack and Jay Bothroyd to hamstrings a fortnight ago against Wolves, it was announced yesterday that last weekend's victory over Crystal Palace came at the expense of Joe Ledley being out for upto 1 month due to a hand operation but, today, it was additionally confirmed that Peter Whittingham will be absent for upto 3 months with torn ankle ligaments from the same game.
City's only just saw Mark Kennedy returned from injury but other long-term absentees in Riccy Scimeca and Tony Capaldi.
I make that 6 current casualties - a nightmare when Cardiff are operating with an effective squad of just 20 players plus kids.
Ross McCormack may return by the weekend. If so, he may operate in wide midfield with Parry on the opposite side for a makeshift solution or Darcy Blake could be added. However with Cardiff facing 3 big games over the next 11 days in Plymouth away, Reading home and Swansea away - the temptation must be there again for Dave Jones to hit the loan market.
Good Luck to all the walking wounded ... for theirs and City's sake, let's hope for the speediest of recoveries.
McCormack hoped to return for Cardiff City at home to Crystal Palace last weekend after a hamstring pull in the Wolves defeat just over a fortnight ago but suffered a small setback in training last Thursday. Although not believed to be serious, McCormack will not be ready for midweek and will now concentrate on being fit to be in City's squad for the visit to Plymouth in a live Sky game this coming Saturday.
McCormack is a latest in a lengthening line of Cardiff City players who have had to withdraw from international games as it's happened a couple of times to Kevin McNaughton and even Gavin Rae for Scotland while Joe Ledley is now absent for Wales. However his absence has opened a door for Darcy Blake who is in Denmark and hoping to be involved in tomorrow's friendly, a game which will see the talented ex-City star Aaron Ramsey make his full debut.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Heroes everywhere as Chopra returnsWalesOnline
Bluebirds back on trackSkySports
JONES PRAISES JOHNSONSportinglife.com
Cardiff City 2 - 1 Crystal PalaceWalesOnline
Warnock calls for video evidenceCroydon Guardian
Palace player ratings v Cardiff CityCroydon Guardian
Cardiff 2 Crystal Palace 1: Tough test for the 'new' Neil WarnockDaily Mail
Eagles defeated by buoyant BluebirdsNews Shopper
Warnock takes it on the chinVirgin Media Sport
Eagles slip to Cardiff defeatSouth London Press Today
Ten-man Palace crash at CardiffCroydon Advertiser
US Eagle Eddie Johnson ready to fly for Cardiff CityWalesOnline
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Ross McCormack was unable to return to the fray with a new tweak on his hamstring so the only alteration from the side defeated, in more controversial style, at QPR was fir again Mark Kennedy returning to face his previous club, timely as Miguel Comminges served a 1 match ban.
There was a poor following from Sarf London in the 17,478 crowd which didn't include myself for only the 2nd time this Millennium (family wedding - bah!) and they saw City dominate the first half in fairly dour style not really creating a great deal. Once again, Rae and McPhail didn't fire, once again too many long or high balls and, once again, decent passing and build up play but a struggle to create in the final third.
The breakthrough came just before the half-hour as Chopra accelerated into the area, beat a defender, had the slightest of touches but lost momentum and fell. Penalty was the award - we would have been furious to have conceded it but there doesn't seem to be a City match at the mo that a ref doesn't influence. CHOPRA kept cool, sent Flahavan the wrong way and 1-0 it was.
It should have been comfortable but a City set piece saw Flahavan take and boot downfield for a two on tow. Even then, City were in control but Heaton and McNaughton got in a tangle, the ball ran loose and SCANNEL said thanks very much as he had the simplest of tasks placing the ball in an empty goal.
Cardiff started the 2nd period brightly and the big breakthrough came on 52. Joe Ledley fell awkwardly and what were feared to be 2 broken fingers were dislocations and he returned after treatment with them banded together. As he did, the fast emerging Eddie Johnson flicked on and LEDLEY reacted superbly yo get there first and stab a superb half volley wide of Flahavan.
City never convinced to the end but were the only side that looked like scoring all afternoon until Scannel hit at Heaton 2 minutes into added time. However, from that, City got downfield, Johnson was tagged and Palace conceded another penalty which also saw last defender Lawrence get an instant red card.
Many wanted Johnson to take it but it was Chops again but this time, he hit poorly for Flahavan to stop with his boot with final whistle moments later.
Next week is Plymouth away, live on Sky but City need to stop conceding silly goals and find some more midfield creativity although, increasingly, it looks like new personnel will be needed for that although, hallejuah, at least Dave Jones finally gave Darcy Blake 10 minutes ... and not before time too.
It changes today however as City are home to Crystal Place but, unfortunately, I won't be there due to a family wedding. I've missed less than 20 home games of all types (friendly, testimonial, league, cup, Europe) in over 40 years since first going as 6 year old. The last game I missed, 3 years ago, was also due to a family occasion (a Golden Wedding anniversary that time).
Why do people get married on Saturday afternoons during the football season? They clearly have their priorities wrong.
Back to the game and it's billed as Michael Chopra's homecoming. There is a real buzz about it but, sadly, it appears that he won't be partnering up with Ross McCormack. The dynamic Scotsman was pulled from training on Thursday with a small pull on his hamstring and looks set to miss this encounter plus Scotland's prestige friendly with Argentina next week. So it appears the only change from QPR will be the return of Mark Kennedy post-injury which is timely with Miguel Comminges serving a 1 match ban following his red card.
There may be a big story though as skipper Darren Purse won his red appeal, earned ion the same QPR game, so can play but boss Dave Jones is considering Gabor Gypes who has impressed in a couple of recent sub outings and who, to many City fans, on the limited evidence so far looks at least as good as Purse without Purse's lack of pace and reckless lunges.
Regardless of personnel, it's a must win after 2 defeats and City hanging onto 6th spot with their recent gap over the chasing pack now closed.
A quick word on Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace who visit NP Towers in a disappointing 16th place, 5 points behind City. They have some good players but have, so far, been frustratingly inconsistent as shown by the last 3 result - home defeat to bottom of the table Nottingham Forest, home draw with Sheffield Wednesday but good 2-0 win at Coventry last weekend.
*Due to the wedding, I won't be updating this blog until Sunday night/Monday morning but I hope to be reporting a good City win. Here's hoping!
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Some good opinions and it's worth a listen.
You can listen or download via this link.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Strangely, it is the second time ref Les Probert has harshly sent off Purse but his previous appeal failed for an incident in 2005 although this is now this 2nd time this year that a Darren Purse red card has been rescinded when he was somewhat fortunate to get a reprieve following a sending off at Burnley late last season.
Purse will now be able to resume duties against Crystal Palace at Ninian Park this coming weekend but this may not be the end of all matters as Probert has reported comments made to him by City boss Dave Jones which may well lead to a further hearing.
Meantime, one Cardiff City fan has today written a formal complaint to the English F.A. regarding 'off the record' comments alleged to have been made to him on two separate occasions by Probert about Cardiff City and Darren Purse. The CardiffCity.com messageboard user, Barclay, a regular contributor to that forum has posted his claimed letter to the F.A. in that forum which makes for an interesting read. Hoax or not? You can check it here.
It has been confirmed that Cardiff City will launch a written appeal against Darren Purse's harsh red card at QPR last weekend.
It is likely to be heard at FAW Headquarters later this week so that Purse can play, if successful, in this weekend's home clash against Crystal Palace. If it fails, Purse will miss 3 games and may find his return to the team difficult as the Hungarian Gabor Gypes will stand in and has shown promise as a player and in his partnership with Roger Johnson on his limited outings to date but this would allow him the platform to impress and stake his claim.
Purse has been harshly red carded by the same referee (Lee Probert) before during a home game with Plymouth on Boxing Day 2005. City appealed that as well but were denied by the FAW on that occasion although their appeal against Purse's more just red card at Burnley last season was successful enabling him to be involved in the F.A. Cup Final squad so who knows how this one will go.
One more definite outcome is that Miguel Comminges will be suspended this weekend after his red card resulting from two yellows but he has deputised for Mark Kennedy who is set to return anyway.
Jones was likely to face trouble anyway for comments made to the media but he has been reported for a post-match remark made directly to Probert. It's not the first time Jones has landed himself in hot water for remarks made about, or to, match officials. He had a two match touchline ban last season for remarks made about a referee after a game at Barnsley when he was sent to the stands and there's a likelihood he will face a further ban and keep his arms folded in the Director's Box instead.
Jones' post-match frustrations were understandable as Probert's ultra-harsh red card shown to Darren Purse (for a 2nd time - he also did it to him 3 years ago in a Cardiff City vs Plymouth fixture) was a decisive factor in City's loss but I'm not sure all his remarks can be defended.
Apart from whatever he said to the referee directly, Jones was wrong to defend Miguel Comminges red card. The player gesturing and making remarks to a linesman moments after a yellow card was silliness while tv evidence showed that Jones' complaint about City being refused a clear cut penalty for a foul on Chopra was wrong too, the contact was clearly outside the area.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
QPR 1-0 CardiffBBC News
Mahon rises to the occasion for RangersIndependent
Two off as Cardiff away run is endedTimes Online
JONES SLAMS REF PROBERTSportinglife.com
QPR v CardiffSportinglife
Gutsy Bluebirds shot down at Loftus RoadWalesOnline
WINNER: Gavin MahonUK Express
QPR 1-0 Cardiff: Jones fury as Bluebirds end with nine menMirror.co.uk
Mahon Clips the Wings of Nine-man BluebirdsBuzzle, CA
QPR 1, CARDIFF 0News of the World
Managers agree over Cardiff dismissalFansFC.com
QPR 1 Cardiff 0: Super-sub Mahon wins it as mega-rich QPR see off ...Daily Mail
QPR 1-0 CardiffSportbox
Was surprised to learn it is 28 years old but I went there this summer and realised how bland it is with the new generation of coasters and thrill rides around today.
My best memory though is the very first time I went to Alton Towers specifically to ride on The Corkscrew. I set off with my brother in my mini long before SatNav, internet and Alton Towers was a well known venue. We stopped at Severn Bridge services at silly o'clock in the morning, looked at an atlas and found Alton on a map.
Got there for breakfast time but there was no sign of a theme park or any signs directing us to the place so we called in the village petrol station for help and discovered we were in Alton near Basingstoke in Hampshire when Alton Towers is near Stoke!
Doh! We made it later that day, they let us in cheap as the park closed an hour later and we got on the Corkscrew. Sh*te myself then, wonder why now. Times move on eh?
Joe won massively. It was 11 rounds to 1 on the scorecards of all three judges but what a scare with that lost round as Joe was put down and in trouble in the second minute of the fight and had to use his instincts to survive that round.
From then on however, it was one way traffic as Joe unloaded and Jones was only able to respond with single shots but they were each dangerous. It did seem for a while that Joe's only problem was himself as he was complacent at times and guilty of showboating as he trapped Jones Jr. on the ropes, unloaded a small barrage but stepped back to admire his work instead of being ruthless and efficient. Dropping his hands down was worrying too but he got away with it, how embarrassing it could have been had he got tagged again.
The defining moment of the fight came in Round 7 as Joe caught Jones Jr. with a straight right giving him a severe cut for the first time in his career and the contest was never really in doubt after that as Jones struggled with his cut that just never stopped bleeding, an eye that eventually closed and tiredness as the combo of Joe's work and movement and Father Time caught up with him.
I wish Joe finished Jones off as he certainly seemed to be there for the taking. Jones cut was so severe - to the extent that 3 rounds started late while they continued to work on him - that nobody could have complained if it was stopped and, perhaps, it should have been. However Joe doesn't seem able to put opponents away anymore and for the 6th time in 7 contests, it was the judges who decided it, not that they had any decision to make.
Joe's legacy is assured but, as many suspected, after talking about this being his last fight all week, Joe announced he wanted to have a think. His performance was very impressive and I'm sure pressure will now build for him to fight again and finish at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium but, in truth, there is really nobody left for him to fight and nothing more for him to prove.
You're a true legend Joe Calzaghe.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Listen via the link below:
CARDIFF CITY fell to their 2nd successive defeat and their first on their Championship travels this season with a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road to QPR but remain in 6th place ahead of Rangers on goal difference. The only goal came late from sub Gavin Mahon after City had battled almost an hour with 10 men after Darren Purse was controversially given a straight red card on 27 minutes while City's misery was compounded as Miguel Comminges was also sent off, another controversial decision, with his second yellow card in the dying minutes. Yet, in what admittedly was a poor scrappy encounter, it was City who played the better football and created more chances but luck appears to have deserted them at present.
With 5 players injured, City will be grateful that 4 men who didn't travel with the squad on Friday due to illness recovered to make it to the game on Saturday. The huge boost was the presence of Michael Chopra, back on loan, but there were surprises as Eddie Johnson started alongside him, Paul Parry was on the bench and Miguel Comminges got reinstated at left back. CARDIFF CITY: Heaton; McNaughton-Purse-Johnson, Roger-Comminges; Whittingham-Rae-McPhail-Ledley, Johnson,Eddie-Chopra. Subs were Enckleman-Blake-Brown-Gypes-Parry.
Rangers are inconsistent and not living up to their moneybags billing under the control of F1 owners and Indian steel tycoons. They recently sacked Ian Dowie and currently have ex-City man Gareth Ainsworth managing the side but remain inconsistent. QPR: Cerny; Stewart-Connolly-Hall-Ramage; Ledesma-Rowlands-Cook-Tommasi; Blackstock-Di Carmine.
City, playing in their mulberry wine coloured away kit, made a dominant start willed on by 1,400+ travelling Bluebirds in a crowd of just over 13,000, winning a corner inside the first 10 seconds and another a couple of minutes later, Roger Johnson heading the first over the bar. Eddie Johnson started well and showed signs of linking with Chopra who created City's most dangerous moment just before the quarter hour but shot just wide appealing for a corner. QPR, by contrast, created no early problems and no effort at goal until an unnecessary free-kick saw Lee Cook hit straight at Heaton.
Cardiff remained lively and almost opened their account at the quarter mark of the game with a smart move involving Rae, Comminges and Whittingham who found room for McPhail, his curling shot was touched wide by the Rangers keeper.
A relatively quiet game, with some sections of the Rangers support expressing their disapproval of their side's display, came to life in controversial style as Darren Purse and Cook went for a 50/50 ball, Purse caught his opponent with no hint of malice and no protests for Rangers fans or players but ref Les Probert amazingly brandished a straight red card. It was the ref's first red card awarded all season but seems certain to be one that Cardiff will appeal as nobody, other than the ref, appeared to believe it was deserving of that outcome. City wasted little time in bringing on centre-half Gabor Gypes but in a surprise move, Dave Jones opted to remove Joe Ledley from the game instead of one of the forwards with Eddie Johnson the favourite for most people. It was 4-4-1 but Chops was encouraged
The boldness of that decision almost paid out 5 minutes before the interval as McPhail won a loose ball, found Peter Whittingham and his powered drive narrowly clearing the bar. The rest of the half continued to see City have slightly the better of it and R's make no impression, it was not apparent that the home side had the extra man of the pitch.
City started the 2nd half as they did in the first period, playing good football and looking the more likely to score as Whittingham, Chopra and Eddie Johnson (twice) went close but Rangers, ominously but understandably, started to find a bit more space and exert pressure cajoled by Ainsworth to play more passing football but they struggled to do that but he was able to throw on 3 attacking substituions including the dangerous Buzaky and Agyemang.
On 72 minutes, those subs came closest to a breakthrough, Heaton parrying a Buzaky hit and Agyemang thankfully put wide when the chance was there on the rebound but back came City with Rae misfiring and Eddie Johnson heading over which proved to be his last action of his best City display as Paul Parry replaced him.
It was shaping up for a late decider and there was a feeling City may pay for not making more of their bright build up play, good football and half chances and, as pressure increased but still against the run of play, City finally cracked with 10 minutes remaining. The goal a simple cross headed home well by GAVIN MAHON.
Any hopes of a comeback went as Miguel Comminges collect two yellow cards moments apart, the second also controversial for comments made to a linesman leaving City to play the final 5 minutes with 9 men yet, in the final action, Cardiff still nearly grabbed the most unlikely draw as Cerny had to save a Roger Johnson header at a set piece.
A day to forget for City, their followers, management and players. Onwards and upwards, Crystal Palace at home next Saturday and City need a win.
It won't be easy but I'm sure Joe can do it and further his legend.
Here's a fight preview.
Friday, November 07, 2008
While it remains unclear whether the players will travel tomorrow or who they are, youngsters Darren Dennehy and Jon Brown have been added at the last minute. Dennehy is suggested to be in line for a possible debut which would suggest that Darren Purse or Roger Johnson (or both!) are on the sick list. Brown was due to fly to Turkey today with Wales Under 19's for an international but has now linked with the first team squad instead.
I'd be shocked if it's not Parry and Chopra personally.
Although EJ did win a couple of flick-ons last weekend, it's a world of difference having support around you playing against a Wolves side playing deep away from home defending a lead as he faced last week to facing QPR tomorrow who are likely to pressure us leaving City to make the most of counter-attacking play. Eddie hasn't shown he's savvy enough to do that, Parry has.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The opposition in each instance (Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein) have hardly been crowd pullers but ticket pricing has been a factor. Family prices have been reasonable but the upper tiers have been £15 to £25 with 10% booking fee on top when it used to be £5 to £10. The attraction/novelty of attending Millennium Stadium has worn away too - everyone's been there by now.
It makes sense to charge low prices and have a fuller ground but in these times of tight finances, many people are making the decision to watch internationals on tv and there neds to be more inspiration, and less complacency, to pull crowds back.
At least it's finally dawned on them and they're thinking about it.
He was named on a shortlist earlier this week along with Simon Davey (Barnsley), Paul Jewell (Derby County) and Alex McLeish (Birmingham City) but his, and City's record, of 3 wins and 2 draws rising to 3rd place last month was the best of all contenders so it would have been a shock had he not triumphed.
In awarding the honour, Chris Kamara who chairs the panel paid this tribute, "Dave Jones is proving once again just what a top-class manager he is. He guided to Cardiff to the FA Cup final last season and, despite having little money to spend in the summer, has worked wonders to ensure his side have remained competitive at the top end of the Championship so far this season."
Congrats to Dave and Cardiff City.
For the record, Paul Trollope won the League 1 award and Huddersfield's Peter Jackson took the gong for League 2
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
As sensational as Chopra's return is, I'm more amazed that Cardiff City have at last made a positive move.
Too often we've seen players sold and inadequately replaced. Cardiff failing to act positively in transfer windows has held us back and when we've hit the loan market, a regular theme is that it sees us treading water.
This time, the club have sent out a message that they mean business and are aiming to keep us at the top end of this division. I cannot imagine Chops coming here without it being a view to a permanent deal and I guess it means that has to be other business conducted in January.
For now, I am happy, thankful and so pleased to see City make a statement of intent. Let's hope it gets its rewards.
The deal will initially be for a 2 month loan but there is a pervading feeling that it will be with a view to a permanent deal in January.
City have chased Chopra since the summer and as recently as 3 weeks ago. Rumours have been very strong for some time that Chops himself wanted to return as well despite recent games and goals for Sunderland in the Premiership.
His 1 season stop at Ninian Park saw him score 22 goals and become a God to the fans but it earned him a £5M deal to Sunderland at the start of last season. His time there has been troubled, often played out of position and marital/gambling troubles saw him spend some time in rehab yet he has 8 Premiership goals in 22 starts plus 16 sub outings.
The grapevine suggests City were moving for him anyway regardless of the injuries to Bothroyd and McCormack but it is likely that City accelerated their plans as a result. It is believed they can bring him back for half the sale fee. There is also a suggestion the club are still trying to get another striker as well with Newcastle United's Andy Carroll being mentioned as a short-term loan deal.
It is the most incredible news and love it!
Here are links to this evening's breaking news.
Michael Chopra rejoins Cardiff City on loan
Michael Chopra rejoins Cardiff CityWalesOnline
Bluebirds eye Chopra swoopSkySports