RAMBLE: Cardiff City -v- Wednesday

RAMBLE: Cardiff City -v- Wednesday

With Friday being my first proper pay-day in my new career as a teacher I thought I’d nip to the pub with my brother and mates for a few drinks to celebrate.

When I got into my car at 7am on Saturday morning to make the drive down the M1 from Leeds to Hillsborough for the Wednesdayite coach I was feeling a little under the weather!

A very heavy night and too many pitchers of cocktails were probably not a great idea in retrospect.

We made it to Hillsborough in time for the bus and as soon as we sat down my brother passed out for basically the entire journey to Cardiff – cheers James. Unfortunately I couldn’t nod-off as easily so spent the trip reading my book on the Barca v Real rivalry.

One too many meant that some were flagging on the coach...

One too many meant that some were flagging on the coach…

For me the Cardiff match was all about making sure our confidence hadn’t been destroyed after Wednesday night at the Etihad. It’d be brilliant to bounce back with a win and continue our excellent away form but I would be happy with a point.

We stopped off at a Wetherspoons en-route to Cardiff and tried to cure our hangovers with another pint to go with our steak and kidney pies, chips and gravy. A great decision. Upon arriving at the ground we topped ourselves back up with another pint whilst waiting for the team news to come in.

When the team news was announced there was one player absent, a player who has already become an integral cog in the Wednesday machine: Tom Lees.

Murmurs spread through the concourse as the news got out and everybody turned to the person next to them hoping that they could offer an explanation as to why Lees was missing from the squad. Nobody had heard any reason but we quickly established he MUST be injured or unwell. It came out after the game that Lees had injured his hamstring during the Manchester City game so here’s hoping for a speedy recovery, we need him back in action ASAP!

With Lees out it was Buxton who moved across to centre-back, with Liam Palmer reverting to his now usual right-back role. Apart from that it was the team you’d expect, with Westwood returning in goal and Kirkland going back to the bench. I had been wondering whether Maguire might miss out after a couple of less than spectacular performances in recent weeks and Helan chomping at the bit but Maguire kept his place.

Wednesday were without Tom Lees

Wednesday were without Tom Lees

Perhaps Gray will try Helan out on Tuesday at home against Ipswich where we can be braver and more attack-minded.

As kick-off drew closer the Wednesdayites were in fine voice as always and I was shocked to see how poor a home crowd there was there. After dropping out of the Premier League it seems many Cardiff ‘fans’ have ran away. One thing that really puzzles me is those Cardiff supporters who turn up in their red shirts. Ok, I know there will be hundreds who now wear the blue shirts and protest against the colour change when before they were happy to go along with it as times were rosy.

The loudest noise we heard from a quiet ‘Bluebirds’ crowd that day was when they sang “We’re Cardiff City, we’ll always be blue”. I couldn’t help but look around at the people in red shirts and how they remained seated, they must feel pretty awkward during those renditions. A very strange atmosphere amongst Cardiff supporters at the moment I imagine.

THE MATCH

As the match kicked off we started very brightly and were constantly pushing forward, moving the ball across the floor well. It was an encouraging start and I was pleased to see that the side seemed to have put the cup result straight out of their minds.

By contrast Cardiff looked poor and on the occasions when they took the ball off of us or we gave it away they soon lost possession, misplaced a pass or simply put the ball out of play. They are a squad full of talented players but they weren’t looking like a team and were clearly low on confidence.

In the sixth minute we should have taken the lead after some brilliant play from Stevie May. Jacques Maghoma did very well on the left and played a great ball through to May who took the ball around Cardiff ‘keeper Marshall and slotted the ball into an empty net – at least that’s what should have happened but Fabio managed to get back and make a brilliant goal-line clearance forcing Wednesday to settle for a corner.

Unbelievable!

How did we not score?!

Still – it was a hugely encouraging start and it got us all singing Stevie May’s name but unfortunately we failed to make the corner count and the score stayed goalless.

If only...

If only…

We continued to play positively but Cardiff grew more into the game and would have taken the lead on twenty minutes if it hadn’t been for a top save from Kieran Westwood to keep out Gunnarsson’s header, the rebound well to ex-Owl Kenwyne Jones but he kindly put the ball over the top.

It was clear that this match wouldn’t finish nil-nil with chances aplenty for both teams, it was just a matter of who took the lead. In the 39th minute, the first goal was scored by Cardiff and we were left feeling frustrated and wondering how we hadn’t already scored ourselves. A free-kick was given away by Mattock on the far left side-line, about level with the edge of the penalty area.

It seemed a tad harsh to me, he slid for the ball and it struck his arm but the referee gave a free-kick and handed Mattock a yellow card. The ball was whipped into the box and Sean Morrison lost Glenn Loovens to jump unmarked and head the ball past Westwood and put Cardiff 1-0 up.

Damn it.

We knew we didn’t deserve to be behind so we roared the lads on but when halftime came we were still behind by a goal to nil.

HALF TIME – CARDIFF 1-0 WEDNESDAY

We needed to get straight at Cardiff and put them under pressure early in the second-half as if we got an early goal we could easily go on to win this.

Chris Maguire hadn’t had the best of games, he’d given the ball away a few times and either not got enough on his passes or over hit them. If Gray was going to make a change at halftime then I felt it’d be Maguire who made way but when the teams came back out Gray kept it the same for the restart.

We started the second half in exactly the way we needed to with us pushing forward and we got the perfect restart when five minutes into the second half we drew ourselves level. Giles Coke did very well to spot a ball out wide for Chris Maguire, his cross was cleared but Coke again did brilliantly to win the ball, getting fouled in the process, and sent the ball to Maguire again.

Chris Maguire has looked off colour

Chris Maguire has looked off colour

Maguire then put a deadly ball into the six-yard box, low and hard across the floor – exactly the type of ball that causes mayhem in the box and defenders hate – and Sean Morrison got his foot onto the ball to try prevent it getting to May but Morrison was only able to steer the ball into his own net.

We went mental in the away end, it didn’t matter who had scored the goal, we were back level and we definitely deserved it. Morrison had managed to score twice in the same net, either side of half-time and for both teams. From hero to zero with the home fans!

Getting the equaliser only spurred us on further and we piled the pressure onto Cardiff, we had numerous chances to take the lead but failed to make them count. Liam Palmer delivered a delicious ball into the box which Stevie May rushed onto and met with a slide but his effort went the wrong side of the post.

Cardiff had chances too and the game became pretty end to end, with either side capable of grabbing the winner. Peter Whittingham had an opportunity to put Cardiff back in the lead when the ball fell to him on the edge of the area after a poor clearance following a corner, he had the chance to shoot on goal unmarked but he failed to force Westwood into a save.

Buxton then failed to clear properly, taking too long on the edge of the box but we were let off when Semedo was brought down inside our box.

When Cardiff eventually did retake the lead through Pilkington on 61’, it wasn’t really a surprise. A good ball was delivered into the box and Kenwyne Jones headed it across for Pilkington who was able to head the ball twice before unleashing a powerful volley past Westwood.

Hard to criticise one player in particular as it was a bit of an off day for our defence but Pilkington was Loovens’ man and I imagine he’ll have been disappointed with himself.

Stuart Gray's 10 striker policy still couldn't force an equaliser

Stuart Gray’s 10 striker policy still couldn’t force an equaliser

For the final half-hour of the match try as we might we didn’t ever really look like finding an equaliser. Gray threw everything he could at it, with us finishing the match a front line/midfield of Hallam Hope, Roysten Drenthe, Jacques Maghoma, Gary Madine, Stevie May & Atdhe Nuhiu but it just wasn’t to be.

If any team was going to score it was more likely to be Cardiff to extend their lead and they even had a goal ruled out for offside.

We did have a good few laughs about a seagull who kept flying low over the away fans and entered the field of play. Some very amusing chants came from the Wednesdayites such as “get the seagull off the pitch” and my personal favourite – “He’s a Wednesdayite seagull!”

FULL TIME: CARDIFF 2-1 WEDNESDAY

When the fulltime whistle went it was a feeling of disappointment and frustration amongst the travelling support from Sheffield as it was a game we could have easily won and if Stevie May’s early chance had gone it could have been a totally different story.

It’s now important that we bounce back with a positive result against Ipswich on Tuesday night back at Hillsborough as we don’t want to go on a winless run which could quickly see us slide down the table. We know we’re good enough to beat any side in this division and despite the fact that the Tractor Boys are on a decent run we need to start picking up victories at home.

If you haven’t got a ticket for the match then I ask you why not? Get yourself down to Hillsborough and cheer the boys on!

 

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

Charlie
Owls Alive
E-mail: admin@owlsalive.com

Twitter: @THEsharpey and @OwlsAlive


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *