Cardiff City & WBA Share Points In Strange Game
Cardiff gained a creditable draw against a fellow promotion chasing outfit, severely weakened by injuries in the shape of West Bromwich Albion. This was a peculiar game, littered with some poor errors but nevertheless entertaining and played at a decent tempo.
In a frantic opening, Gavin Rae screwed a shot well wide when well placed and Luke Moore`s first time effort also slid past the post. The opening goal duly came on 8 minutes when the impressive Bothroyd latched onto a through ball and drove into the box from the Cardiff right. As he attempted to circumvent the giant Olsen, he was bundled to the ground and the assistant referee awarded the penalty for PETER WHITTINGHAM to dispatch despite a feeble attempt at gamesmanship by Scott Carson.
WBA had an excellent chance to equalise after capitalising on hesitant defending by Kennedy at left back as Dutch winger Slory was presented the ball but could only poke his shot onto the post. A big let off for City, and the gaping midfield chasm was presenting more than a few worries as Albion were able to drive forward at will. However, Cardiff still managed to forge the better chances and with Chopra sniffing - we always looked capable of extending the lead. Chris Burke went close with a 22 yard effort, palmed away by Carson.
Just as the third minute of extra time was drawing to a close, WBA scored a deserved equaliser. Ross McCormack was cxaught as the last man, and again it was the gap between Kennedy and Gyepes that was exposed allowing Zuiverloon to steal in and direct a shot on target, Marshall managed to palm it upwards, but the ball sneaked over the line. For that moment and during half-time, the sizable Baggies contingent were in fine voice - for the gametime, they were quiet - bizarre!
After the break, Brunt fired a warning shot as he hit the side netting, while Wildig had an effort blocked from 5 yards. Both teams tried to be quick on the break, and profited from some sloppy distribution - Gavin Rae particularly wasteful. Gabor Gyepes found space for a header, but was off balance and it was an easy save for Carson. Substitute Wood missed with a free header in one of few clear cut chances.
Both teams had a great chance to steal the points in the dying minutes with Chris Burke key to both moments. First, Chopra broke free and saw his cut-back intercepted, the ball breaking free to Chris Burke whose placed effort from 16 yards missed by a yard - a big chance gone. At the other end, Burke was on hand to clear off the line from a Dorrans corner - David Marshall got a fine punch to clear the next cross.
In the end, a fair result. It`s difficult to tell from this report but Bothroyd was everywhere and deserves special credit while Chopra`s work-rate was also superb. Kevin McNaughton was beaten once by Brunt, but was otherwise exceptional but the defensive frailties of McCormack, and the shocking distribution (Gerrard and Rae most culpable) gave cause for serious concern. The midfield is still not functioning, they back off too quickly and are easy to by-pass by short, quick passing. Our poor passing is as much a result as no-one (save Chris Burke) wanting to receive the ball, we need a midfielder always willing to pass and move if we are to continue to compete at the top.