Cardiff 2-2 Ipswich (match report)
Cardiff City boss made 2 changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Colchester, one was enforced by the injury to Paul Parry with youngster Chris Gunter playing and Kevin McNaughton moving to left midfield. One surprise was the inclusion of veteran Kevin Campbell at the expense of Steve Thompson, who dropped to the bench.
The game was barely 2 minutes old when Kevin McNaughton won a corner on the left and took it short to Chopra, McNaughton clipped the return ball towards goal where DARREN PURSE got ahead of his marker to divert home. The goal ended over 7 hours without a goal for City and settled the anxious crowd. After the opening, the game descended into a scrappy affair with many fouls given for innocuous challenges while Kevin Campbell's every touch was penalised by the fussy referee. Ipswich were sitting deep and doing most of their passing in their own half until Alexander was forced to save from Danny Haynes low effort. After 25 minutes, Ipswich created their best opening of the first half as Kevin McNaughton was penalised on the Cardiff left and the free kick found Haynes free at the front post, but his header went wide when he should have done better. Another Ipswich attack found Welshman Gavin Williams free at the far post but he fell over at a crucial moment and fluffed his shot and on the stroke of half time Owen Garven saw his 25 yard drive fly inches wide with Alexander beaten. For all their chances, Ipswich did not look dangerous in the final third, most possession was kept in front of the City 9 while Cardiff failed to provide their frontmen and Campbell could not win the ball in the air above De Vos or Naylor.
Just minutes after the restart, Ipswich were level when a corner was not cleared and a shot through a crowd of players fell to Jon Macken just 3 yards out and he couldn't miss. The opportunity came directly from a City attack when a long clearance found Gary Roberts completely free and he won an opportune corner for the Tractor Boys.
Very little action occurred before Cardiff restored their lead. Jason De Vos was adjudged to have held down Steven Thompson but the referee's assistant intervened to confirm the incident had occurred inside the area. A free-kick may have been fair, but there is no doubt the referee would never have awarded a penalty and it wasn`t really deserved. DARREN PURSE coolly dispatched the penalty after a lengthy delay during which De Vos should really have been booked for persistent complaining at both referee and assistant.
The referee later took pity on Ipswich for their misfortune and awarded a penalty against Chris Gunter after another corner scramble. There was a clear handball by a Town player and several players ended in a heap but a spot-kick was given which Jon Macken scored. Again it was no penalty but at least it evened the score up on that count. 2-2.
The rest of the game saw some shocking play by Cardiff who looked nervous and apparently lost the ability to pass but Ipswich were little better and some truly woeful play by both sides meant that a draw was always the most likely result. Luigi Glombard, playing on the wing, added some impetus to Cardiff's attacks and looked lively with the ball at his feet but too often City's final ball was poor and no clear chances arose.
A draw was a fair result by the end but both sides looked like lower mid-table teams and much improvement will be needed. Ipswich looked to frustrate Cardiff, but we needed no help there as we gave the ball away far too regularly. Just the one point then but the makeshift side had to work hard and at least the goal drought is over.
The fact that Michael Chopra's name has not been mentioned over the entire 90 minute repost speaks volumes, City just couldn't find their tempo and Chopra's confidence was down and his touch let him down also.
Next up Hull away, Flood could make a welcome return but McPhail is still suspended.