Late Gunn Show Delight For Cardiff City
Cardiff City needed a late Aron Gunnarsson header to see off 9-man Watford with City coming from a goal down to bag all three points - despite controlling the match from start to finish.
The Bluebirds were largely wasteful in possession, a number of clipped crosses were wayward, others tried to be too cute and it was Watford who had the best chance when Vydra's effort was squeezed away by an off-balance David Marshall. Later, the visitors did take the lead when we failed to deal with a corner and youngster Hoban poked home from 4 yards.
The was tough on Cardiff, who caused problems through Craig Noone and Smith, even though the final bhall was often lacking. The recalled Craig Bellamy looked out-of-sorts and was withdrawn at half-time.
The game continued in the same vain, though Manuel Almunia made several deecnt stops. Later, City were given a major boost when Pudil was shown a striaght red for lashing out at Craig Noone following a tussle. Pudil had been skinned twice by the flying winger, while Casetti on the other flank was lucky to be on the field after hacking down Noone (booked) and Whittingham (only warned) in quick succession. The red card incident was just feet from my seat and was instigated by Noone after Pudil had fallen on him. Nevertheless, the Watford man lashed out and caught Noone in the face - this sort of collision occurs in every Championship game but do react within a metre of the assistant referee was stupid in the extreme. Noone clearly indicated to the assistant that contact was made with his face, a claim he re-iterated several times.
Helsuson missed a sitter immediately after but City continued to pile on the pressure. Something had to give and did when one of a succeassion of low crosses from the right was blocked by Jonathon Hogg's arm. Again the Hornets were the architects of their own downfall, and despite protesting furiously - Hogg's block appeared more like a save! Whittingham coolly dispatched the penalty down the middle.
10 Hornets became 9 as Chalobah became the next player ordered off the field. Again you have to question what went through his head as, already on a yellow card, he kicked the ball away from a CCFC free-kick long after the whistle and just feet from the referree - lunacy!
City went all out for the win, but lacked a killer instinct and it was Watford who used the ball better on their (very) rare forays forwards. Marshall saves well from Yeates before Hogg clipped the crossbar for Watford. Eventually though it was left to super-sub Aron Gunnarsson to expertly head in a Noone cross from 12 yards - a difficult chance actually.
Watford have only theirselves to blame. They have some technically gifted players, but lost their heads and succombed to the pressure of a Cardiff side well below our best. Three points was crucial, no matter how they came.