Cardiff City's High Tempo Crucial To Victory
Cardiff City secured a thrilling late win over Portsmouth courtesy of Craig Conway`s long range strike when the game was well into injury time and looked odds on for a draw.
However, City needed an inspired second half performace after falling behind just inside the second period. On another day, the opposition would have crowded us out and held on but Cardiff City`s manager, players and fans alike knew that chances were going to come and the belief and confidence were abundantly evident.
Players like Don Cowie, and the recalled Craig Conway were much more willing to carry the ball in this game, a technique we are not always exploiting fully. That, and the raised tempo, were key to the success - supported by the fact that both second half goals came from quickly taken set-pieces.
Mark Hudson's headed goal was as a result of a throw-in, releasing Conway down the left. City could well have waited for Gunnarsson to come over for a long throw - while taking the throw early also meant Hudson met the ball on the move, rather than from a stationary jump where he almost certainly wouldn't have been able to score.
It was a similar situation in the final minute, when Whittingham was readying himself to take a free-kick out on the left. One last chance to win with a set-piece - most players would have waited for the big centre-halves to venture forward but Whitts saw a gap, fed Conway and the Scottish winger's effort from distance found the corner. Pompey were asleep, also expecting a cross from Whittingham so full credit to the 2 City midfielders.
The way the Bluebirds stepped up, and got the goals they needed and deserved courtesy of a high tempo, decent football and belief deserves great credit. These sorts of moments were crucial to Norwich City's success last season and the late goal saw City take full advantage of Middlesbrough slip-up.