Cardiff 4-1 Derby: Score Belies The Truth !
Don't let the scoreline or the press reports fool you - this was no vintage display by Cardiff City though the 4-1 victory over Derby County is no less important.
Derby County were by far the better side in the opening quarter having a strong penalty shout turned down fopllowed by a succession of corners. Veteran midfiedler John Eustace had a number of snap-shots and forced a smart save from Taylor with an overhead shot.
It was against the run of play when Cardiff City scored, Bothroyd tugged on the right and Whittingham curkling in a decent cross for Roger Johnson to show great aerial control and flick home. The rest of the first half passed without major incident, though Bothroyd, McCormack and Chopra all had speculative efforts and a superb Chopra flick saw Rae go close. That said, we were far from our best and lost possession far too cheaply.
Rob Hulse was a forlorn figure for the Rams, he actually did really well at times but had absolutely no support from his team-mates and was crowded out. The opening to the second half was an awful standard with both sides guilty of some woeful misdirection. The second goal came with the first bit of sheer quality in the match. Chopra made a brilliant flick to the oncopming McPhail whose slide-rule pass found Gavin Rae who had continued his run. Rae rounded the keeper (yes really!) like a pro and netted for a really good goal.
Just moments later the game was dead and buried when a corner narrowly evaded Gyepes and fell to Jay Bothroyd to bundle home. The striker spent a lot of time on the floor last night but was heavily involved and deserved his goal.
With the points wrapped up, Jones rested Bothroyd and brought on Eddie Johnson to the usual greeting for the American. However, Eddie had made just a few small contributions before pounsing on a bad mistake by a Rams defender. He still had 45 yards to go but bustled in on goal, drew the keeper Bywater and finished with aplomb.
That sparked a great celebration and marked Eddie's second goal for the club. A moment of comedy came a few minutes later as P.A. announcer Ali asked fans to vote for their man of the match, sparking a chant of 'Eddie, Eddie' from the Bluebirds. He had touched the ball about three times in his 5 minute cameo!
Right at the death, Derby County forced a late corner - Eddie Johnson bizarrely clearing behind him for another corner. As it came in, a mess erupted and Eddie Johnson this time managed to put through his own net. Taylor was furious, as was Roger Johnson who spent the rest of the game laying into team-mates for tiny indiscretions.
The 4-1 scoreline did not tell the true story. Derby were the better side in the first half and could well have had two early penalties. We took our goals well, and were fortunate with the timing. Only the 2nd goal showed real class and Albrechtsen had gone walkabout for the Rams. Important points nonetheless and an enjoyable game for the last floodlit match at Ninian Park.