Lee Naylor Hits Form In Cardiff City Win
Cardiff City would need to play pretty well to beat a Leeds Utd side last night who were unbeaten in 12 games, since we smashed them at Elland Road back in October. The majority of players had a good solid game, which was pleasing - especially since our previous form had been dismal.
However, one player who deserves particular credit is terrace target Lee Nylor who followed up two desperately poor indicidual performances, with a gutsy and effective display that even made him a contender for the man-of-the-match award, certainly the first time in a long while that's been the case.
Strangely, Naylor found himself up against one of the strongest and in-form opponents in the league in Robert Snodgrass. However, the dangerous winger was well marshalled by a determined Naylor and his threat largely nullified.
Of course, Snodgrass did score leeds' goal, a sublime curled effort from over 20-yards. However, the goal came from Paynter out-muscling a retreating McNaughton on the City left, before Heaton produced a stunning save to deny Lloyd Sam. Bellamy had the chance to clear, but was caught in possession before Snodgrass lashed his shot home. Another goal conceded down the Bluebirds left - but not attributable to Naylor.
The former Celtic left-back visibly grew in confidence, and was given more protection by an energetic Bellamy who worked tremendously hard all game. Some meaty challenges, committed headers and timely interventions saw Naylor produce a strong and effective display - a hugely welcome sight, especially given his previous lack of success in marking Buckley (Watford) and Adomah (Bristol City) - on both occasions he was given a torrid time.
Naylor also benefitted from the switch of McNaughton to centre-half. His added pace and proficiency to tidy up loose balls offered added protection to the Bluebirds left, and there were far fewer gaps in between the left-back and centre-half - a serious problem in recent weeks.
There's no doubting Naylor's form has been erratic, and he is yet to convince in a Bluebirds shirt. However, I felt last night was his most adept display so far and hopefully he can replicate that sort of performance from now until the end of the season.