Date:Monday March 8 2010
Cardiff City bounced back from some woeful form with a much needed 1-0 win against Middlesbrough. Apart from the win, and a morale boosting clean sheet - it was the manner of the performance that really impressed the 19000 watching fans already disgruntled by off-the-field problems.
From the first whistle to the last, the Bluebirds players showed a passion, grit and determination far outstripping the turgid and lacklustre offerings of the previous month. It was by no means a vintage performance, but one that showed good team spirit and fight.
Central to that work ethic was the reborn figure of Darcy Blake. Just a few months ago he was on loan at Plymouth Argyle, marginalised from the CCFC squad after failing to break in and after some dubious timekeeping saw him blasted by Dave Jones.
What Darcy brought to the team was a sttely presence, and he put in some meaty challenges. These weren't rash, hopeful lunges that make the supporters cringe and have been on show from the likes of Gavin Rae, Willie Boland and Darren Purse. Indeed, Blake's partnership with Rae was effective, and looked far more balanced than of late, allowing the more creative players like McCormack and Burke more attacking freedom. It's good to see the 'almost man' of the CCFC academy taking the plaudits after years of watching the likes of Jerome, Gunter, Ramsey, Matthews break through before him.
Blake looks certain to keep his place in the side, and it's purely on form with Sol Taiwo and Aaron Wildig also available for tomorrow's trip to Ipswich Town. There have been few such instances in his Cardiff career, and he has been used primarily as a full-back. The first appearance he made in central midfield was last season as a substitute against Crystal Palace in a 2-1 win for the Bluebirds, a rare game in which there was a contested drop ball. While Palace debated who should contest the drop, Roger Johnson jogged away and pointed Darcy to take his place. It's a long time since Cardiff City have seen a hardman in the side, Blake's dogged and steely performance on Saturday showed we can play that way if necessary. More of the same please.
Date:Monday March 8 2010
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Vital Preview: Derby v Cardiff (Friday September 19 2014)
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