Cardiff City 2-0 Preston North End - Deserved
Cardiff City won out a tough looking encounter against fellow play-off contenders Preston North End but will have been suprised by the lacklustre performance of the Lilywhites.
The match started evenly though Jay Bothroyd nearly punished Lonergan's woeful clearance but lashed his left footed drive past the post from 30 yards. Preston failed to show much attacking intent but had some dangerous play in the middle third. Ross Wallace and Chris Sedgewick looked dangerous with Brown just failing to reach a low cross from the right.
Cardiff looked dangerous when breaking at speed with Routledge skinning Preston left back Callum Davidson who could have been sent off later for hauling back Routledge when he looked to move in on goal.
Our fans were frustrated by the inability to keep possession and we lofted high balls forward with alarming regularity. However, just before the break we got exactly what we needed as McKenna handballed near the touchline and Roger Johnson nodded in his second of the season to his obvious delight. His goal has been coming for some time now, he missed another header shortly before but there was no stopping this one. 1-0 and a crucial lead at the break.
The second half was a different story as Preston were forced to venture forward and we revelled in the extra space. Paul Parry was magnificent down the left, regularly beating his man while the final ball delivery was also very good in contrast to previous games. Nutmegs, flicks and outsprinting their markers was the order for Parry and Routlege who caused no end of problems for Preston.
Enckelman had to be alert to save from Wallace following a breathtaking move from PNE, easily their best of the game. Brown's flick was superb, Wallace played an incisive one-two but Enckelman was equal to his shot and one other later in the game from distance.
Rae's shot from a Parry pass was brilliantly stopped by a full stretch Lonergan, Ledley shot over while Bothroyd's header cannonned back off the post.
The second goal came as little suprise and it was Bothroyd's direct running at Mawene that yielded a penalty for Chopra to dispatch. Bothroyd showed good skill all game but rarely in the opposition box, he deserves crdit for the penalty which he drew definate contact and needed little invitation to go down.
A decent performance, excellent in the second half but it is the result that matters here. All three points against a very good outfit and we made them look distinctly ordinary. Well done to Dave Jones whose changes at half time allowed the wingers to feature far more prominantly and that was the difference between the teams.