Monday, 17 September 2012

Cardiff City 2 - 1 Leeds United

Saturday started at half past 5 in the morning for me, we were setting off from Leeds at quarter to 7 but I had loads to do!! The sun wasn't even up and it was pitch black but I was in a pretty good mood and so ready for some football :o)

We were all pretty much of the same opinion on the coach, this was going to be an extremley tough game for us. Wales is never a good hunting ground for points for Leeds and I don't think anyone was confident we were going to get anything out of the game.

It was a really lovely sunny day all the way down, but we knew when we were in Wales as it clouded over and the road signs didn't make sense anymore.

We stopped off for a couple of pints in a nice little pub for about an hour and then we had to meet the police (AKA Heddlu) at Cardiff West Services to get our tickets for the match. You see, we don't get match tickets sent to us when we play Cardiff, we get vouchers, when you get into Wales, you then meet up with the police and exchange your vouchers, for match tickets and then we get escorted into the ground.

We got off the coach and headed for the turnstiles, Jamie got frisked and said to the guy that did it "Oooh that was the best one yet" to which he replied, "thanks!!" We were laughing and I said to him, "Are you feeling up my boyfriend?!" he said "I am yes, would you like some tips?!" I laughed for like 5 minutes, it's very rare you can have a bit of banter like that with the security staff!!

As both Norris and Green are injured, we signed Michael Tonge on loan from Stoke on Thursday, until December. Tonge hadn't played a competitive match in quite a while so for me, this was a bit of a risky signing but Warnock seemed confident of his abilities.

In the opening minutes of the game, a tackle was made by Jordan Mutch on Ross McCormack and from where we were it looked bad, the ref didn't give any kind of advantage to us though and the game carried on on, but Ross was still down and looked in agony.

He attempted to get up but couldn't put any weight on his foot, he was eventually taken off of the field in a stretcher and replaced by Luke Varney.

To be fair there was nothing much to get excited about from either side in the first half at all, pretty much everyone agreed it was one of the dullest halves of football they had seen in quite some time.

It was tit for tat and there wasn't a great deal of shots on target from either side. It felt like the game never really got going and was very stop, start.

The game restarted after the half time break and Warnock made a change to the squad as El- Hadji Diouf came on in place of Adam Drury.

Cardiff looked like the 15 minute break had done them good, and were coming up with a few more shots both on, and off target, testing us more and more as the game went on.

Tommy Smith was involved in a couple of shots on goal as Cardiff looked to go into the lead, one was saved by Paddy Kenny on the 57th minute and one that just cleared the bar on the 63rd.

When we got possession we weren't doing enough to keep it and very rarely was it going to the forwards, Cardiff were onto us and we were losing whatever grip we had on the game.

On the 63rd minute Craig Noone was replaced by Craig Bellamy.

3 Minutes later and a foul by Michael Tonge on Nicky Maynard gave Cardiff a free kick from outisde the box. Craig Bellamy lined it up and from the second he hit it, we knew where it was going, top left, Kenny had no chance, 1 - 0.

This was only the start for Cardiff though as 5 minutes later they scored again, Peter Whittingham putting the ball past Kenny after a penalty was given when Tom Lees fouled Nicky Maynard in the box.

Aron Gunnarsson replaced Jordan Mutch just after the goal and 4 minutes later was involved in a foul on Luke Varney.

Rodolph Austin fired the free kick into the bottom right corner of the goal making it 2 - 1. We felt like we had a bit of a chance, that was until a minute later when Cardiff came straight back at us and Nicky Maynard had a shot blocked by Jason Pearce.

That was his last feature in the game though as Cardiff made a change, bringing on Don Cowie in his place.

We also made a substitution, bringing on Dom Poleon for Luke Varney who was already a substitute when he came on for Ross McCormack earlier in the game.

Cardiff's Tommy Smith tested Paddy Kenny with an effort from 18 yards out 5 minutes before time, but we responded when Lee Peltier headed the ball towards the goal but it went just over the bar.

5 minutes added time went up on the board, and as soon as it did, Cardiff seemed to be getting these mysterious injuries that kept them on the floor for 30 seconds at a time, but some kind of miracle cure meant they could get up and play on without any pain at all. The blatant time wasting was frustrating and we never really saw the ball in the closing minutes, as every time a Cardiff player was touched or nudged, they rolled around on the floor and the ref gave them the free kick.

The referee ended the game and the once blue, reds, had won.

It was an extremely frustrating match, if we'd have switched it on in the first half it could have been a different game, but I personally think losing McCormack in the opening minutes of the really affected the way we played.

Varney is not a suitable replacement for McCormack in my honest opinion, he had a terrible game and to say I don't rate him would be an understatement. It just makes you realise how small our squad is when we have injuries. I would hope, if we hear that Ross' injury is going to keep him out for a while, that we look to the loan market for some kind of replacement however I fear we will try to get on with the season without as we have Diouf, Gray and Poleon.

I have said it time and time again, Aidy White can get into some fantastic positions but when he gets to the final third, he doesn't know what to do with the ball. He loses it far too easily and all the hard work he's done goes down the drain!! He had no chance of

doing anything though when Bellamy came on, White just wasn't able to deal with the way he was playing.

The problem was that we didn't have anyone to come off of the bench and change the game, Bellamy did that for them and you can't knock his goal, it was brilliant.

Tonge didn't exactly set the world on fire and didn't look fit to me, it's all well and good playing in U21 matches but he's 29 and The Championship is a completely different ball game, this is a tough league and any flaws you have will quickly become apparent when you are matched with quality opposition.

I will say that some of the ref's decisions were terrible though and he really did make some vital errors. The way Cardiff were time wasting towards the end of the game was a disgrace, I've never seen time wasting so blatant in all my life and not only did he not pick up on it, he gave them advantage after advantage for absolutely nothing.

He definitely wasn't wholly to blame though, the performance as a whole though just wasn't good enough and we'll need to improve a lot if we have any chance of winning tomorrow.

MOT xx <3 xx

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