Cardiff City Heroes See Off Leicester Challenge
Cardiff City produced a heroic finale to secure a brilliant win over rivals Leicester City despite a glut of disruptions to the formation. The Bluebirds started reasonably well but found chances hard to come by. With Kelvin Etuhu up-front, we lacked power and any aerial ability but McPhail was playing tidily and Burke was a constant threat. Despite that, the Bluebirds scored another early lead when Etuhu`s fairly weak shot was parried by Weale to the lurking ROSS MCCORMACK who had a simple finish.
The diminutive Scotsman, recalled at the expense of Chopra, was delighted and nearly doubled the lead when his back-post header beat Weale only for Jack Hobbs to clear off the line. Injury then hit the Bluebirds as the impressive Darcy Blake was withdrawn suffering a shoulder problem. With Hudson and Gerrard already out, we were down to the 6th choice centre-half as Paul Quinn switched inside with Adam Matthews slotting in at right-back.
Matthews produced a moment of pure magic after racing 60 yards, beating 5 challengers and steadying himself only to see his powerful strike fly over from 17 yards - a magnificent piece of play by the youngster. Just moments before half-time, Cardiff City scored the crucial second goal. This time it was McCormack`s shot that was parried by Weale, falling to Gavin Rae at the far post. The goal-shy Scotsman took a touch to control in front of an open goal before squaring for (who else?) PETER WHITTINGHAM to finish from close range.
Leicester City had few chances in the first half but were denied a goal by a scrambling Marshall after a corner swirled towards goal. It was the other end from me, but the travelling Leicester masses thought they`d scored.
After the break, Leicester brought on big Steve Howard. He, along with Jon Stead and Darren Pratley have a certain fondness of playing against us and he indeed found the scoresheet with a volley after David Marshall failed to get distance on a punch from another Foxes corner.
James Vaughan took the field for Leicester and immediately was in the action. The Everton loanee looked a clear yard offside when put through on goal, Gabor Gyepes made what could only be described as a rugby tackle and was rightly sent off - the most cast iron red card I`ve ever seen. Thankfully, the foul resulted only in a free-kick which was fired wide by Gallagher. However, that left us with no recognised centre-half on the pitch and Paul Quinn and Tony Capaldi (on for the injured Kennedy) were the unlikely pairing.
Despite a wealth of possession, Leicester City were not as threatening as they should have been. Howard won nearly every header, but inexplicably dropped deep regularly and the dogged Bluebirds chased, harried and blocked at every opportunity. Wellens had a shot well saved, but it was set-pieces that looked the most likely to produce an equaliser.
As the clock ticked on, the Cardiff City fans were magnificent - prodocuing a cauldron of noise and the 10 remaining players stepped up manfully. Quinn was superb, McPhail a nuisance and rigorous organiser while Gavin Rae threw himself all over the park to block passes, shots and through-balls. How they held out, I`m not sure but it was a stirling performance of passion, grit and determination in very adverse conditions. A vital three points, and a true backs-to-the-wall triumph for the resurgent Bluebirds.