'McNaughton' Man-Of-The-Match Award Goes To...
Cardiff City grabbed a late late late goal to cancel of Reading's late late would-be winner last night. It was a point gained in the end, but a frustrating night for the Bluebirds crowd with a disappointing performance from City.
However, it was the stand-in who stood-out, putting in a performance shoulders above all others on the park. The SW Echo report for last night gave Kevin McNaughton a 6/10, the same score as the anonymous and heavy-touched Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Ludicrous!
McNaughton has neither the build, nor the experience to play centre-half in a team challenging for promotion to the Premiership. Prior to the game, he picked up the man-of-the-match award relating to the previous home game, though it was somewhat of a surprise to see him again selected as an emergency centre-half given the recent capture of Israeli defender Dekel Keinan.
McNaughton was outstanding, winning headers, interceptions and tackles aplenty, whilst regularly finding the time and energy to cover for his team-mates with lee Naylor particularly poor. Countless time McNaughton cleared up dangerous moments and instead of aimless boots into touch inviting more pressure, he was calm and focussed enough to produce a thigh back to Heaton, or pick out a team-mate.
Amidst all the impressive moments, there were times when McNaughton gave away possession. It is worth noticing however, that he alone of the back four (Quinn, Naylor, Hudson, Kev) was trying to find a midfielder (often anonymous!) rather than lump an aimless ball forward. Countless times he found Whittingham or Ramsey with a short pass, and it was his numerous interceptions etc that saw him in possession more than his team-mates!
In short, free transfer McNaughton was once again immense and almost faultless in a team that is filled with quality but once again conceded poor goals at home. He is much more suited to playing full-back, and could well switch to replace the hapless Naylor on Sunday. One thing is for certain, McNaughton showed all the quality needed for promotion, but also the fight, determination and attitude that is so crucial on top of whatever skill and quality a team has. Cardiff City fans should be very glad Kevin McNaughton is in ours.
Don't mess with Dangermouse!