Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
On a cold night in the Potteries, it seemed like a good game in prospect as in-form Stoke hosted the league leaders Cardiff City. The first half went well for the Bluebirds as they dominated and reduced the home side to ambitious long-range efforts. Cardiff were passing well and playing some good quality football and Michael Chopra should have given them the lead in the 18th minute after an accurate Paul Parry cross found him free in the six yard box but Chopra`s header was off target. Stoke had some decent pressure and the impressive Lee Hendrie began to dictate play in the middle. Chopra went close again after more good work from Parry but Simonson in the Stoke goal just got there in time.
Half time: Stoke 0-0 Cardiff
The second half began in much the same way with Stoke`s frontmen struggling to make any impact but Tony Pulis decision to make an early substitution was absolutely inspired. Pulis replaced Vincent Pericard with Riccardo Fuller, back from suspension, and he was on hand just minutes later to put Stoke in front. Roger Johnson slipped in the Cardiff box and Liam Lawrence collected before setting up Fuller to powerfully drive home. Within a minute it was two when Cardiff failed to clear a corner and Liam Lawrence drove through a crowd of players to shock the Cardiff players further.
After the shortest of respites, Cardiff were at it again as they stood of Fuller and his pass found Sidebe in far to much space and he finished powerfully from just inside the area. An absolute nightmare 5 minutes for Cardiff and the game completely lost, the rout was started by an untimely slip from the unfortunate Roger Johnson and the floodgates opened.
Partik Berger should have made it 4-0 but blazed over but Cardiff`s misery was not quite complete until the final stages when Stephen McPhail was shown a straight red card for an alleged push in Lee Hendrie`s face. Hendrie fell down hard but there appeared to be little in the altercation but the incident caused a heated exchange with Chopra and also with Cardiff manager Dave Jones who was incensed by Hendrie`s dramatic exaggeration.
A night best forgotten for Cardiff and they lost top spot to Preston. Recent results have been worrying for Cardiff and the goals have dried up worryingly. There were good signs in the first half until the nightmare period and the way City respond is crucial after their first hammering of the season.
Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
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