Norwich 1-0 Cardiff (Report)
The game began at a frantic pace with Norwich showing immediate positive intent but it was Cardiff who created the first meaningful chance through Steve Thompson, the big Scot driving narrowly wide. Manager Dave Jones had chosen to start with unproven Frenchman Luigi Glombard in place of the suspended Michael Chopra. Just 7 minutes in, the Canaries took the lead in front of an expectant crowd. Safri's pace found Dickson Etuhu 25 yards out who hit a beauty into the top corner curling past Alexander for a superb goal for the Nigerian. Carl Robinson and Robert Earnshaw had chances to extend the lead as Norwich dominated. The yellows were fisrst to every ball and the pace of Croft, Earnshaw and Huckerby worried Cardiff. Gilbert was given a particularly difficult time by Darren Huckerby and Cardiff failed to find their passing rhythm at all. At half time, Cardiff were lucky to only be one goal down and the players looked slightly shell-shocked as they trudged off at half time after being thoroughly outplayed for the first time this season. Jones made a change at the break replacing Luigi Glombard with Malvin Kamara and moving Paul Parry just behind Thompson. Glombard showed good pace and tried hard but he had massive boots to fill and it was a big ask of the youngster in his first start.
The second half was far better for the Bluebirds and was played at a frantic pace and Alexander twice saved from Earnshaw while Kamaralooked effective and asked questions of Adam Drury atr every opportunity. Darren Purse went close after a corner and Loovens headed over soon after. Cardiff were on top but failed to create any clear openings without the invention and charisma of Chopra. Kevin Campbell came on for Thompson and went close with a headerfrom a Kamara cross. City forced numerous corners and a Willo Flood shot was scuffed and lacked power. In the closing minutes Paul McVeigh and Kerrea Gilbert were sent off after clashing on the floor and squaring up, Gilbert will be banned now and this could cause problems unless McNaughton recovers.
It was a tough game and a good lesson for Cardiff who, despite doing much better in the 2nd half, would have been a bit lucky to get a point. Peter Grant has picked up wins against Cardiff and Birmingham now and Norwich looked irresistable in the first half with waves of short neat passing. City still top the table, now just 3 points ahead of Preston and will need to pick themselves up. They came up against a re-vitalised Norwich who still hold realistic promotion ambitions, these things happen in football and the response is key.
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