Date:Monday December 14 2009
Cardiff City scored a valuable win over Middlesbrough courtesy of a fortunate goal from winger Chris Burke - his third in successive matches.
There was little difference between the teams, and certainly it was Cardiff City who went in the happier side to be level at the break. Marshall had saved expertly from a Yeates free-kick, and been faultless when dealing with two long range efforts and some swirling crosses. His defenders too deserve great praise after throwing themselves numerous times to block shots in and around the area.
If the Bluebirds had the greater passion, Boro had the edge in possession, tempo and a potential matchwinner in the shape of Adam Johnson. He was a constant threat and caused no end of problems for McNaughton who appeared to struggle with his movement. Adam Matthews replaced him, dealt with Johnson as well as could be expected and would have been relieved to see the winger withdrawn with a hamstring problem in the second half.
It was after the break that Cardiff City improved greatly. Burke became more involved and gave Pogatetz a tough time, Chopra was busy once again even with scant service while Kelvin Etuhu, on for the injured Whittingham also tried to instil pace and a direct attacking threat.
The goal came after an hour, and it was a strange one. City won a free-kick on the left, where normarily Peter Whittingham would have swung it in with bend away from the keeper. He was off the field so Chris Burke came across to curl his cross the other way. As can often happen, his wicked ball in evaded everyone only to creep in the far post.
Boro tried to react, but were visibly lacking confidence and the likes of Lita and Emnes served only to wast possession as the Cardiff defence stood strong. Without Johnson, the Reds were devoid of a cutting edge despite the impressive Marcus Bent and committment of Mark Yeates. The best chance fell during an almighty scramble when Wheater, Lita and another tried to bundle the ball home. Lita's header evaded Marshall and looked destined to equalise only for teenager Adam Matthews to brilliantly head the ball out for Ledley to complete the clearance.
Marshall, Hudson and Burke were excellent. This game could have gone so differently, and Boro will feel aggreived to have lost since Cardiff rarely threatened. That will not upset the Bluebirds however, who picked up a magnificent 3 points against a star-studded team courtesy of hard-work, pride, determination and a slice of luck.
Date:Monday December 14 2009
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