Plymouth 2-2 Cardiff City (report)
Cardiff City fielded a makeshift team against Plymouth this weekend, including two players in Parry and McNaughton playing in unfamiliar positions.
The game was a scrappy affair, and did little to enhance the reputation of Championship football in the first half. Attempts on goal were few and far between until the deadlock was broken on the half hour.
The makeshift defence allowed a free-kick to find its way to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who has far too much space on the edge of the area and volleyed home. It was a good finish and the youngster did well to keep his shot down but it was a soft goal to concede and needed a Loovens / Purse type player to throw themselves at the ball.
Hasselbaink, Gunter and McPhail all had half-chances but Cardiff failed to create any decent opportunities in a dire first half.
HT: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Cardiff City
City looked more purposeful second half but some sloppy defending allowed Plymouth the better chances. When substitute Akos Buszaky was allowed free reign in the centre, and unleashed a low shot, there seemed little danger but the rebound fell to Ebanks-Blake who slotted under Turnbull for his second.
I was disappointed with Turnbull's effort for the second. It's far to easy to criticise the keeper, and fans have wrongly begun to turn on him already. However, he did well to get down to the first shot (from 30 yards!) but succeeded in pushing straight into the danger area where Blake managed to squeeze it under him from 16 yards. There was no power in the shot.
Fowler came on, with a lot to be done to save the game, and this lifted City. Fowler had a chance when the Pilgrims keeper missed a cross but couldn't react quickly enough, the ball breaking to Hasselbaink whose shot at an empty net was deflected wide.
Cardiff got the break they needed on 70 minutes when a Sinclair ball in from the left found Parry whose shot was only parried (!) to Gavin Rae who poked home from close range. A lifeline for City.
Fowler couldn't get enough on a back-post header as Cardiff pressed on. We turned to the only remaining option on the bench, the transfer-listed, non goalscoring striker whose holiday mishap saw him miss pre-season and the start of the campaign. It proved a masterstroke. McNaughton's forward ball was flicked on by JFH, breaking left for Thompson who finished with aplomb from a tight angle.
Plymouth had a late chance to win it with Nick Chadwick falling over when presented with a good chance, the ball flying over the bar to leave both sides with a point.
FT: Plymouth Argyle 2-2 Cardiff City