Cardiff City's Downfall: Turning Point Three
Cardiff City enjoyed a fruitful season, ultimately ending in bitter disappointment though one solitary goal would have seen a completely different finale to the season. Vital Cardiff City look at three specific days where events conspired against us and contributed to our overall failure.
Turning point number 3
18th April 2009 Preston North End 6-0 Cardiff City
Four games of the Championship season to go, Cardiff City were all but mathematically assured a play-off place but travelled to Preston with the Lilywhites hoping for a bit of luck. In truth, they weren`t going for our play-off spot - more likely Burnley or the faltering Reading would be the ones to drop out but Preston needed a win to retain any hope.
What followed is the stuff of dreams for Preston fans and of nightmares for the Bluebirds. Cardiff city were relaxed and knocked it round quite well, there was certainly no sign of things to come even when a lucky free-kick found Neil Mellor whose deflection wrong-footed Taylor for a fortunate opener. Lightening struck twice 20 minutes later when another deflection proved the undoing of Cardiff City and saw PNE sail into a fortunate, and un-deserved lead. However, the turning point was yet to come. Ledley was fouled in the area just seconds before half-time, McCormack stepped up but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Andy Lonergan (the best Keeper in the Championship?) - that changed everything. At 2-1, we could have bided out time and used the pace of Chopra/McCormack whilst searching for an equaliser. Instead we, had to change formation and attack.
That mentality lasted mere seconds as Jon Parkin out-paced (yes - really) Gyepes on half-way as the City defence remained stunned. He scored the decisive third and the game was all over. Except that it wasn`t, only the result. Preston were in party mood, buoyed by they supporters who were daring to believe. Kennedy`s bizarre own goal, a diving header under no pressure, added insult before Brown and Williamson netted in a 6-0 rout.
Preston went on to win their remaining games with their added confidence and momentum. We stumbled to the finish line, wounded and humbled and everyone knows that we missed out by a solitary goals - the narrowest of margins. The fact that Preston hammered us 6-0 is almost unbelievable, but I`m sure they never expected to and had no idea of the afternoon we were to have. Just a 5-0 defeat would have seen us OK but it was the manner and the total shell-shocking and bewilderment that was our downfall as we failed to recover and never looked the same side. A strong and miserly defence were made to look like amateurs by Preston. McNaughton, Johnson and Gyepes are among the best defenders in the league - they didn`t look it. Simply unbelievable.
Turning Point Number ONE
Turning Point Number TWO