Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City (report)
Cardiff City lined-up in a strange formation with teenager Chris Gunter playing at left-back and Kevin McNaughton, having played mostly at left back this season, on the right. Scottish striker Steve Thompson was recalled to the line-up to petner Chopra up-front.
Cardiff stepped into gear quicker than the visitors and looked lively in possession and had the better of play but once again they failed to create clear-cut chances and the final ball was lacking quality. Paul Parry went close with a long left-footed drive and Steve Thompson had a shot superbly blocked by Fortune. Thompson also went close with a shot that flashed wide and Parry met a left wing cross to head into the keeper`s hands.
David Forde ran out to clear but was rounded in a rare Stoke attack but the cross was cleared by a stooping Darren Purse. Stoke came more into the game, and it was the visitors who took the lead on the half hour. Fuller and Pericard combined to find Hoefkens supporting on the right, and he cracked a brilliant shot into the far corner, the ball sailing across Forde`s body from 16 yards.
Cardiff were bereft of ideas and were negative in attack, no-one took responsibility and the Stoke defence were clearing with ease. Despite dominating the possession, Cardiff had rarely troubled Simonson and were behind at the break.
HT Cardiff City 0-1 Stoke City
The second half began in similar fashion, and Stoke rarely enjoyed long spells of possession but rarely looked under threat. Michael Chopra latched onto a poor backpass to run clear on goal, he checked inside the covering defender but shot disappointingly over with just the keeper to beat.
Steve Thompson also went through clear on goal but as he arrived to shoot, Simonson just managed to get something on the effort to deny the recalled striker. The best chance of the match though came to Stoke on the counter attack. Chris Gunter`s slip allowed Liam Lawrence to run clear and after drawing the keeper he squared for substitute Martin Paterson coming in at the far post but he shot inexplicably wide from 8 yards with the goalmouth gaping.
The miss spurred Cardiff into life and they pressed forward, with Willo Flood and Whittingham crossing to Johnson and Thompson but their headers couldn`t threaten. Just when it looked like it wasn`t to be Cardiff`s day, a hopeful cross from the right found Thompson whose header across goal was acrobatically converted by MICHAEL CHOPRA to silence the vociferous away crowd and give the home support something to cheer.
FT Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City
Cardiff had much more of the game, dominating possession and having far more shots on goal. Stoke City however had the better chances and could easily have wrapped the game up. A reasonably fair result, that did neither side any favours. At least Cardiff City ended their losing streak and can take some credit for blunting one of the in-form sides of the division.
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