Cardiff 3-1 QPR (Match Report)
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones opted for teenage prodigy Aaron Ramsey as a direct replacement for injured Stephen McPhail, and that meant a welcome return to the bench for Trevor Sinclair, out injured since October.
Cardiff made a decent start to the match and took the lead after a dreadful back-pass was picked up by Paul Parry who found JOE LEDLEY continuing his run to hit home.
The goal rocked the visitors and they looked nervy and poor in possession. Cardiff created numerous chances but were thwarted by some truly excellent saves by R's keeper Lee Camp. The stopper somehow kept out a powerful drive by Whittingham before saving moments later from Hasselbaink.
Camp also saved from Parry while Whittingham hit wide with his weaker foot when well placed. A well worked free-kick saw Loovens nod wide at the near post.
Michale Oakes in the Cardiff goal was rarely tested, although the visitors did force a few corners, it was the Bluebirds however who were on top and could ahve been 3 or 4 up. Just as it seemed that Cardiff could pay for their profligacy, the lead was doubled courtesy of a second JOE LEDLEY strike. This time, set up by Hasselbaink who worked hard all game, and after a good pass from Aaron Ramsey.
After half-time, Cardiff grabbed a third, again Hasselbaink was the provider, this time PAUL PARRY finished but it was poor defending from Rangers and Cardiff were out of sight.
After the third goal, Cardiff eased off and were put under little pressure from the Hoops, whose disappointing travelling support matched their performance.
QPR did grab a goal back in bizarre circumstances when a weak Rangers cross was fumbled by Oakes at his bnear post. The hapless keeper puched the ball straight into a crowd of players with the ball squirming in off Ephraim's knee. There were suspicions of a foul, but it was a bad mistake and Oakes was replaced by Enckelman either for an injury or for embarrassment.
No-one seemed to realise a goal had been given, leat of all the QPR players ho looked as bewilderered as I was. Ali on the PA was bemused also and after a lengthy delay announced a goal but that he 'had no idea who scored'.
Enckelman showed a safe pair of hands to hold Leigertwood's header and displayed some huge kicks, several ending up in opposing keeper Camp's hands. The debutant Finn did make one crucial and excellent save, pushing onto the bar for Johnson to expertly clear the rebound.
The game fizzled out as Cardiff lacked any attacking intent, and QPR had no ideas of their own. The R's were poor but Cardiff turned in an effectvie performance and were more than good money for the win. This was not a vintage performance, but the first hour saw plenty of chances, and crucially the game was put to bed.
Next up is promotion chasing Stoke City on Saturday, don't forget the early kick-off (on account of the Six Nations Rugby). The Potters lost last night and will be looking to get straight back to winning ways.