Cardiff City Get Physical To See Off Middlesbrough
Cardiff City recorded a morale boosting win over fellow play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough courtesy of an early goal at the CCS.
It was evident from the first moment that the Cardiff City players were up for it and they showed superb grit and determination to grind out the win. Gavin Rae was much improved on recent weeks although faded after the break while Darcy Blake added steel and commitment in the middle.
It was Blake's 3rd minute chipped cross which was mis-controlled in the area and JAY BOTHROYD was on home to finish from 5 yards. There were few other chances in a tight first half although Lita shot wide when well placed and Chris Burke was unlucky to be booked for diving in the area. Chopra again looked off the pace and saw his attempted chip easily saved by Coyne.
After the break, Boro rallied somewhat and began to get more involved. Lita saw a free header beat Marshall and the crossbar as the Reds found more space. Chris Burke was again lively and was unlucky on several occasions as the referee allowed play to continue after he was fouled - only to rule that the advantage was over. Gavin Rae's downward header from a Burke cross went close but Boro felt aggrieved to see a Wheater flicked effort ruled our for (seemingly) handball. That close call seemed to galvanise the Bluebirds and we continued to show commitment and determination.
Marshall was forced into smart saved to deny Killen, Lita and divert a 30-yard Gary O'Neil free-kick over. Some solid defending was called for and Gyepes, Gerrard and co were strong and put themselves on the line. Kevin McNaughton was again outstanding and a modicum of calm - tidying up loose balls, winning his challenges and a succession of free-kicks to relieve the pressure.
Chopra saw a late effort blaze wide, and Darcy Blake his the crossbar with a nicely placed shot from a Burke cut-back and the Bluebirds stood strong to claim all three points.