Date:Saturday April 22 2006
Both teams started brightly in this encounter, with Cardiff having early shots from Koumas and Jerome and Steve Thompson winning several headers in the Canaries' box. Robert Earnshaw was given a good reception before the match and showed his appreciation by responding to requests to 'do the Ayatollah'. It seemed inevitable that Earnshaw would score against his old club and indeed he did. On 16 minutes a corner from the left was half cleared by Joe Ledley but the ball came over the the right with Paul McVeigh who passsed to Earnshaw on the corner of the area, the Welsh striker cleverly flicked the ball past Chris Barker and cut inside, waited for the ball to bounce and hammered home an unstoppable volley from 15 yards. It was a great goal worthy of a return to his hometown club. Earnshaw's goal was roundly applauded by the whole ground and Earnie gave another Ayatollah before Cardiff kicked off.
Jason Shackell was booked on 25 minutes for a second blatent foul on Cameron Jerome in as many minutes making no attempt to play the ball as Jerome took him on with pace. Cardiff were struggling to create chances but on 30 minutes came a wonderful piece of skill from Jason Koumas, the ball was played long by Cardiff and Cameron Jerome's flick went stright up in the air. As the ball came down, Koumas leapt between two Norwich players and performed a mid-air scissor kick from fully 25 yards. The shot had pace and was on target but saved at the second attempt by a diving Paul Gallagher. The option was the only one available to Koumas but very few Championship players would have even realised never mind executed it so well.
The second half consisted on Cardiff trying and failing to break Norwich down. All the passing being done in front of 10 Norwich players and a lack of movement and inspiration in the Bluebirds' play. Too often passes went astray and first touches were often poor with possession being conceded. A bizarre piece of refereeing was witnessed on 75 minutes when Koumas broke on the right level with the half way line. Norwich's Huckerby blocked him off and sent Koumas tumbling, the referee waved play on in front of an incensed Dave Jones, Koumas was bewildered by the decision but got straight back up and produced an excellent sliding tackle, timed perfectly, and gaining complete control of the ball with one foot but referee A Marriner deemed this a foul in a terrible 30 second period for the official despite being only yards from the play.
Cardiff produced few chances to score but Koumas danced into the area from the right but was unable to get a left-footed shot away. Norwich were content to sit back and break through Huckerby and the lively Earnshaw, Earnie was a constant threat and held the ball up far better than when he played for Cardiff.
Cameron Jerome was replaced by Kevin Cooper with a suspicious injury. Jerome had a poor game and was targetted by many supporters for a lack of effort today. Reserve team captain came on for the final few minutes and looked assured, earning a loud cheer from the fans for clattering into Craig Fleming who had previously reacted angrily to a Koumas challenge.
All in all a poor game for City who showed a lack of invention and created few chances against a disciplined Norwich side who now leapfrog City into 8th place.
Date:Saturday April 22 2006
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