Date:Friday April 14 2006
Cardiff will feel unlucky to have lost today when Sheffield Utd all but confirmed their Premiership status for next season. Neither goalkeeper made any proper saves in a game where chances were few and far between.
Cardiff looked the better side in the first half, Sheffield looked to use the pace of Nick Montgomery on the right by breaking quickly especially from goal kicks but stand-in left back Joe Ledley was able to deal with most of the attacks on his side. Rhys Weston recalled in place of the injured Neal Ardley looked slightly rusty have not played first team action for a few weeks, some passes misplaced and some minor misjudgements. Cardiff forced several free kicks in the first half hour but most were comfortably dealt with by Paddy Kenny in the Blades' goal.
Steve Thomspon looked sharp uf front for the Bluebirds after passing a late fitness test on a tight hamstring. Thompson held the ball up well and showed good touches in gaining space for himself to cross. Thomspon also went close with headers from Koumas crosses and narrowly failed to connect at the back post following a Koumas free kick from the left.
The best chance for both sides came late in the first half when Jason Koumas broke from deep on the right side. Koumas countered from inside his own half cutting in to the centre of the pitch. A good sliding tackle dispossessed Koumas but the ball broke free 5 yards in front of him and Koumas made a full and committed challenge to win the ball back and was immediately on his feet to play a great ball perfectly into the path of Kevin Cooper on the left side of the area but the shot from 16 yards was rushed and flew high over the bar when he really should have done better.
Darren Purse was replaced by Neil Cox at half time after Jagielka came down on his shin during the first half. Sheffield Utd showed their attacking intent by replacing Neil Shipperly with record signing Ade Akinbiyi.
Jason Koumas broke free from the Blades' defence on 49 minutes but was thwarted by a great last ditch tackle by David Unsworth on the edge of the area when just about to shoot. Koumas again was prominent on 54 minutes when he showed good skills 35 yards from goal then drove at the defence to win a free kick 25 yards out but the free kick was hit into the wall.
Sheffield Utd started to dominate possession in midfield and created a great chance on 68 minutes when substitute Steve Kabba turned Jeff Whitley in the Cardiff box and squared the ball to Danny Webber 8 yards out with just the keeper to beat but Webber snatched at the shot and skied it over when he really should have scored.
The deadlock was broken on 76 minutes and it was Sheffield who got the goal. Rhys Weston made a good challenge on the edge of the City box and the ball was cleared up to Cameron Jerome on the half way line but his attempt to lay the ball off went straight to Danny Webber who broke quickly as Rhys Weston lay prone on the edge of the area playin the Blades' strikers onside. Webber made up for his earlier miss cutting inside onto his right foot and cooly passing around Alexander form 18 yards, a very good finish from the striker giving Alexander no chance.
Cardiff rarely looked like getting an equaliser but on 80 minutes Paul Parry found space on the Cardiff left and his shot hit the arm of Rob Kozluk in the Sheffield Uited box but only a corner was given by referee Mr Jones.
Cardiff were unlucky to lose to a well organised but nercous looking Sheffield United side. Neil Warnock was his usual abrasive self around the Sheffield United dugout complaining and contesting every single decision. He was congratulated by Dave Jones and Sam Hammamm on the final whistle but Sheffield look well below the level of Reading and will need reinforcements in defence, midfield and upfront if they are to emulate Wigan's and West Ham's premiership triumphs this season.
Congratulations to Sheffield but 2 home games lost on the bounce now for Cardiff although to be fair both teams havn't found it easy. Cardiff definately have a foundation to build on for next season but need something from the game away at Crewe on Monday and the final home game vs Nowich next week to end the season on a high.
Date:Friday April 14 2006
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