CARDIFF CITY - Kevin McNaughton is out for another week but back into the squad after injuries came Kevin Etuhu, Jay Bothroyd, Anthony Gerrard and Adam Matthews. The only changes form the side that lost last kick at Barnsley a a week ago were Bothroyd for McCormack and Matthews for McNaughton
CCFC line up: Marshall; Matthews-Hudson-Gyepes-Kennedy; Burke-Rae-Ledley-Whittingham; Bothroyd-Chopra: Subs were: Enckleman-Quinn-Gerrard-Taiwo-Scimeca-Etuhu-McCormack.
IPSWICH TOWN - Roy Keane's Ipswich have won just 4 of 19 league games and now 2 of them are away at Cardiff. It was doubly galling this happened after our collapse to them in Ninian Park's last ever fixture last May. They came in 23rd spot but have picked up and are now unbeaten in 7 albeit with 5 of them being draws. They have a decent squad and should be doing better, I'm quite sure they'll be nowhere near the bottom spots soon.
ITFC.Wright Wright-McCauley-Rosenior-Delaney; Leadbitter-Garvan-Edwards-Priskin; Walters-John.
The day was horrid, chilly, dark with swirling winds and heavy rain at times. No surprise that the pitch wasn't at its best and greasy but it was still remarkable given the recent weather. Fans however found themselves getting soaked in the stands, even if they were siting 20 or so rows back like myself. A plush multi-million stadium and fans cannot be dry? Even atNinian, we were mostly dry under the stands. You think they would have shut the roof today!
Due to the weather, I went straight to the game. The Salvation Army were playing Christmas tunes under the Family Stand ... and ignoring requests to do some Dizee Rascal or Metallica although they tried their best with some traditional songs used at times as football anthems. Ref today in traditional headgear was Mr Singh whose distant relative was a former Cardiff City manager >>> Alan Turban!
The crowd was announced as 19,463 with 600 or so East Anglians. How many of those were season ticket holders who didn't turn up is anyone's guess. The Ipswich side had apparently flown in, I never knew tractors had advanced to that stage. City lost the toss and for the first time at the new stadium, the teams turned around with City defending the Family Stand/Grangetown end of the ground in the opening half rather than attacking it.
Cardiff opened well and Gavin Rae had an excellent shooting chance in the first 30 seconds but with the crowd baying, he tried a pass, was blocked andIpswich broke fast nearly profiting at the other end. The game was open and going at pace with Ipswich showing well but a wonderful Hudson block prevented a shot on goal before a real let off as they headed over from a couple of yards. A feature of Ipswich 's play was that they were getting too many crosses into City's area too easily, Mark Kennedy and his side of the the pitch struggling to cut them out.
However, Cardiff had more quality and cutting edge going forward and were desperately unlucky as Peter Whittingham struck the crossbar twice. First came in the opening 10 as Bothroyd went on a fantastic run and hit a ball across the box which Whitts turned onto the bar. The next time saw his brilliant dipping drive just as brilliantly palmed onto the top of the woodwork by Ipswich keeper Richard Wright.
City were now applying heavy pressure with Hudson and Gyepes nodding wide before Chopra was denied turning home a Rae through ball by Wright charging out of goal but the keeper appeared to pull ahamstring doing that and after 3 or 4 minutes treatment, he was taken off and replaced by former Cardiff City trainee Aaran Lee Barrett, the player ignoring requests to do the ayatollah.
10 minutes before the interval, the visitors finally cracked but it took a moment of true class and inspiration by PETER WHITTINGHAM to do it. Chris Burke cut inside fed Jay Bothroyd whose deft header set up Whitts but his finishing was supreme as he struck the most incredible dipping volley across Lee which flew in. Undoubtedly City's goal of the season so far and it may be come next May as well. City were so crap 2nd half that it was almost forgotten by final whistle.
Stunning. "Worth the entrance money and coming here just to see that" was the popular opinion at the interval. Those saying that were also laughing at Roy Keane singing "you're getting sacked in the morning" but reaction walking away and on forums later was that they want to get Dave Jones seeking his P45 instead. The irony was lost on them. .
Ipswich almost equalised from the restart as on loan Stern John got behind our defence and was denied only by Dave Marshall bravery charging out to block him. However that injuredMarsahll as well and he never returned for the second half replaced by Enckleman so both sides had now lost their main goalkeeper.
Half-time: CCFC 1 ITFC 0
The second half must rank as the worst 45 minutes of football seen in the new stadium. Low quality would be too kind a description for the football and entertainment on offer.
Through all of that however, you could sense Ipswich were fighting for everything and far more committed. City yet again fell deep and left the front men isolated. Ipswich made positive substitutions and used all three by the hour, Dave Jones changed nothing even when the visitors were over-running us in the centre of the park. Uncertainty was running right through City with Peter Enckleman plying as if he didn't know the rules. One comical roll out saw the ball barely get out of the box, Matthews looked at him, Enks didn;t know if he was allowed to go, City just go it away. It was symptomatic of how ragged the team had become.
The manner in which City lost their lead on 72 minutes was terrible. Gavin Rae, make no bones about it, chickened out of a challenge on halfway.Ipswich advanced, spread play right and there was JON WALTERS to crack home an unstoppable shot over Enks.
Loud boos were ringing out from some sections of the stands, the players getting deserved verbal volleys for becoming so lethargic. Joe Ledley, stinking out the place, seemed to be getting more attention than most. Of course, only when Ipswich equalised by DJ make a change even though the writing had been on the wall from long before. Etuthu replaced Burke, like-for-like of course!
City tried to pick up momentum and were denied at a free-kick as Bothroyd flicked a header home but was adjudged offside. You sensed the best Cardiff could hope for was a point and that would have been enough to take them to 5th and above Swansea but courtesy of shocking defending and a cruel deflection, sub JON STEAD pinched a win for Ipswich with 5 minutes left.
Jones tried a change for the second time after conceding, McCormack for Rae but Cardiff were gone. I cannot use words to describe just how dire City were in that second half. I never boo them at games but those doing it and a significant number could hardly be criticised after what we were made to endure. This was a realsickener. To see your side lose and go down without a fight is impossible to take with just a shrug of the shoulders.
The defence were poor second half but the midfield was infinitely worse. The much maligned Mark Hudson is the only player from those areas who should avoidcriticism. Mark Kennedy looks shot to me recently, Rae and Ledley in midfield were both useless. Up front, Bothroyd and Chopra were starved but switched off. Chops is still the Championship's leading scorer but is now 2 months and 8 games without a goal. He's not even getting shots at goal lately, amassive concern.
I left the game feeling angry coming after the surrender at Swansea and the crap served up at Barnsley. It really is disgraceful, no point in trying to avoid being negative. I am truly fed up of what I am seeing. They appears to be little fight on the pitch and little motivation off it. Are they all in a comfort zone? It certainly looks like it.
Cardiff's faults are many at present but here are my pet grudges;
City sitting back on leads and falling deep with nobody on or off the pitch stopping it.
Midfield dropping back and further back, allowed to be overrun
Lack of Commitment in tackles and attitude
Losing games simply because the opponents want it more (this is never acceptable but we've seen it too often this season already)
Dave Jones watching on and doing nothing (subs today only after goals went in, the writing was on the wall long before)
Late goals conceded (it's now 4 times in 5 games, the other time Swansea won it with 25 to go so didn't need a late one)
Dave Jones unable to stop bad runs, unable to influence games, unable to change tactics and formations.
It truly was a disgraceful 2nd half showing from front to back ... and in the dugout. I'm ashamed and angry, I really do wonder if they feel the same?