Cardiff left to rue Bogle’s lack of discipline.

Yesterday’s lunchtime defeat by 2-1 at Ashton Gate against Bristol City was the first example this season of those occasional games every year where circumstances mean I have next to no access to pictures, commentary or online updates as to what is happening in a City game.

It tends to happen two or three times a season and so, as I suspect virtually everyone who reads this will be better informed than me as to what happened, I’ll do what I always do on here when this happens and limit myself to a few general observations on matters arising from the match.

The first thing to strike me on watching the highlights of the game is that, if they represent an accurate reflection of what happened, then it must have been a pretty dour affair with both sides, perhaps, being more concerned with avoiding defeat than going for the three points.

Certainly, from a City perspective, the selection of Craig Bryson instead of Lee Tomlin as the only change from the side which beat Ipswich has to be seen as a cautious move. That said, with Tomlin having been sentenced the day before to eighty hours of community service and having to pay prosecution costs after pleading guilty to affray while out in Leicester with Accrington Stanley striker Billy Kee in January (charges of wounding and GBH against Tomlin were dropped by the prosecution and on the orders of the judge respectively), Neil Warnock’s decision could be understood on the grounds that the player would not be in the right frame of mind to start against his former club.

In the event, the only piece of live action I was able to listen to came just after half time with the score at 1-1 and, as it turned out, I heard what was, if not the game’s decisive moment, perhaps it’s second most important one.

I tuned into Radio Wales’ commentary just as Bristol midfield player Marlon Pack (who had already been booked) was fouling Sol Bamba. The immediate reaction from the commentators was that Pack may well be seeing red because it was a bad foul, but, by the time it had become obvious that Premier League ref Mike Jones had decided that just the awarding of the free kick was sufficient punishment for the player, they seemed to have come around to thinking that the right decision had been made.

I’ve not seen the challenge yet, so cannot comment on whether Mr Jones got it right or not, but, in light of what happened a few minutes later and how the game ended up, it was always going to be an incident that would attract comment afterwards.

What seems to be agreed by all concerned was that the official was right to send Omar Bogle off after he ploughed into Pack shortly afterwards. The striker, who had scored his second goal in two games when he had equalised Callum O’Dowda’s well taken opener for the home side, was, seemingly, upset when play was not stopped to allow him treatment after he had gone down following an earlier heavy challenge, but this could be no excuse for the lunge on Pack which, from the pictures I saw, left Mr Jones with no alternative but to dismiss our goalscorer.

On the day before the match our manager had praised Mr Jones, but he was less complimentary once it been completed. However, tellingly, Warnock’s ire was directed at the decision not to send off Pack, rather than the one to dismiss Bogle – on that score, he had no complaints whatsoever and was scathing in his criticism of his centre forward who he accused of costing City the game.

Our manager also found time to have a justified moan about the way the winning goal was conceded as home centreback Aiden Flint was allowed to run onto a long throw in and power home a header as he gained a yard or two on Sean Morrison – the City captain was at fault then, but there were others who looked pretty static as we conceded the sort of goal we really shouldn’t be doing given the height we have at the back and in other areas of the pitch.

I touched on the decision not to start with Tomlin earlier and said I thought Neil Warnock’s decision was understandable in the circumstances, but was the choice to replace him with Bryson the right one? Again, I’ve not seen enough of the match to comment with any authority, but I have read reports which said our midfield was “overrun” in the first half and it seems that nothing happened yesterday to quell a growing feeling I’ve had that, although Neil Warnock’s overall record in the transfer market during the summer should be seen as a good one, his two deadline day signings need to do a lot more yet before they can be said to offer further evidence of how well our manager did.

There are some positions on the pitch where being thirty should not be seen as a problem, but I would argue that box to box midfielder and winger are not two of them. It would be wrong to say all players who are thirty in those positions (Bryson is thirty one tomorrow and Liam Feeney reaches that age in January)  are in decline, but I feel that they are often at a stage in their careers where the game is becoming not as easy for them as it once was and often this means they have to started adapting their game to adjust to the changes their body is going through.

Warnock praised Feeney’s contribution after he was brought on as a seventh minute replacement for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and questioned whether he may have made a mistake in taking him  off when Danny Ward came on following Bogle’s dismissal, but, based on what I’ve seen of him, that assist at Fulham apart, all Feeney is doing is showing us how much we are missing Kadeem Harris who is yet to feature this season.

Especially after the way he played in midweek, losing Mendez-Laing so early in the game was a big blow for a manager who is having to cope with injuries to important players like Zohore, Gunnarsson, Bennett, Harris and Richards (Lee Camp has had to have another operation as well and it looks like his City first team debut is still some way off yet, while Anthony Pilkington picked up a very bad dead leg injury early last week which stopped him being a member of the eighteen against Ipswich), but, on a hopeful note, Warnock seemed to think that the winger’s injury was a minor one and that he, like the first three named above, will be available for selection when fixtures resume in a fortnight after the latest international break.

Given those injuries and the decision not to start with Tomlin, the like for like substitution of Mendez-Lange by Feeney so early in the game seems the obvious move for him to make, but I wonder if Neil Warnock gave any thought to bringing on Danny Ward at that time? Ward could have gone on to the left and offered more support to Bogle whose frustration levels due to him being isolated up front may have been increasing as the game progressed.

Finally, with everything pointing to City not appealing against Bogle’s red card, the striker will have to serve a three game suspension. Understandably, this news overshadowed the fact that Lee Peltier’s early booking (Warnock contrasted the innocuous level of Peltier’s offence with what Pack was to “get away with” later in the game) was his fifth of the season which should mean that he will miss the Brentford match as well.

Home wins for Wolves and Sheffield United this weekend mean that we are back down to third, but that is still some way ahead of what our manager, who has said he would have been happy with being in the top eight at this stage of the season, was targeting. City have made a great start to the season, but they need to have a bigger pool of fit and available players to select from when fixtures resume than they have had for the last two or three matches.



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13 Responses to Cardiff left to rue Bogle’s lack of discipline.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Like you Paul I believe the wrong team was picked and that along with the sending off lost us a game we should have won.
    I not into the blame culture because like you there is a feeling that tomlin is still feeling the effects of the court case and in that instance should not have even been part of the game.
    The problem lies in midfield and with the role that Bamba is playing it leaves a lot of work for ralls and Bryson to do. It did seem that we were actually giving a little too much respect to Bristol city by playing what virtually was three centre backs.
    Whether NW is struggling who to drop from the 2 in 3 scenario may be the answer but the 3 centre halves only work against certain teams and a depleted Bristol city team was not one of them. Especially when the second goal was scored and none of our three centre halves were to be seen.
    So I would have gone with a back four and drafted damour into midfield. The 4-3-3 would have been far better and although we bossed the first 20 odd minutes the first sight of goal by Bristol resulted in just that, a goal.
    Mendes Lang going off should have brought on ward, you are spot on there Paul . I don’t just see what feeney brings to the team that’s a little bit extra .
    Inn regards to the ref I really think booking peltier early on left him in a awkward position and he bottled the sending off of pack which made him look rather silly. But like NW I have no qualms that Bogle had to go but at that time it should have been 10 a piece.
    Ward was brought on a ran his socks off again but he still misses vital chances indicating that he isn’t quite at the pace of the game. Had he have come on earlier who knows.
    Then to bring tomlin on instead of damour seemed an odd choice considering he was returning to his old club after the court case which had affected him
    I rest my case

  2. Jeff Blight says:

    The footballing gods certainly did not smile upon us yesterday and I agree with all of your comments guys, especially those revolving around the 3 centre halfs and Bryson.

    The international break has come at a good time for us, hopefully most of our key players will return from injury.

    Pity that Bogle will have to miss the next 3 games as he looks a natural goalscorer and an adequate replacement for Zohore.

    It doesn’t get any easier as I was very impressed with Brentford in the highlights that I saw, Leeds got off lightly as the Bees missed a penalty and hit the woodwork twice and looked a very good footballing side.

    If Cardiff have genuine hopes of achieving automatic promotion our management
    have to revert back to the dynamic attacking style we employed earlier this season and a midfield of Gunna, Damour and Tomlin is the best combination we have.

  3. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul like you I’m off the radio grid this weekend .

    I thought we might grab a winner or at least a draw so not able to comment ,I read with intrest comments who did attend and those comments weren’t glowing, although not as bad as the Brum game.

    I think your right about the midfielders and energy around the age of 30 ,and even Ledley would slip into that window, and those young and energetic midfielders would be grabbed by bigger clubs , perhaps loans are the answer.

    Few things we must find a solution to though, Bamba in midfielder because he has to play him and Manga somewhere ??

    Why no Manga at full back or midfield.

    Gunnerson back will force this change , so what happens then as he and Ralls do have enegy.

    Does Ralls and Gunner energy allow us to pick Tomlin ,who let’s be fair is a creative midfielder, whose skills we need to enhance our danger in the box .

    Does Jordon Mitch have a club?? he was a good box to box ,but may now be ageing.?

    Like to see Bennett back asap , and Patterson perceived with somewhere.

    Need Zohore back, or when Ward does plays we adopt a different tactic as Ward is no big front man .

    Returning to Manga I do wonder if a bid will come in for him in a January and if Warnock would be tempted ,considering the surpluses and options at centre back as Connolly ,Patterson , Bamba ,Peltier and Morrison can play there.

    If we sell either Manga or Zohore, or both , the later I think has been tapped up, we may have a 20 million war chest.

    I will watch with intrest Zohore’s activity with the international break upon us ,and his inclusion in the Denmark set up.

    The international break on this occasion is a blessing, equally the inconsistency of clubs below us is very welcomed .

    I now think Wolves have this league sown and only they can lose it.

  4. Russell says:

    Ooops I meant to agree with Jeff , Damour in for me as well .

  5. BJA says:

    Good morning Paul and others. I listened o the whole game on Radio Wales, and have seen Sky’s brief highlights of the match and goodness weren’t they brief.
    Bogle’s dismissal seemed correct, but Pack’s two challenges that only brought one yellow were not shown. But from most accounts, the Bristol player may well have been fortunate to stay on the pitch, Warnock being incensed at the time and later.
    The radio commentary mentioned that Bruno was not having his best game, and I well understand what they mean. Now I am a big fan of his, but from time to time, his desire to display footballing skills produces worrying moments, and yesterday, produced more than usual, particularly in the first half. So, I think that I may well have considered removing him and introducing Damour so that we had a more energetic mid-field, and a regular back four (Paterson, Morrison, Bamba and Peltier).
    The loss of Mendez-Laing was a huge blow, but like you I would have preferred Ward as I believe him to offer more threat than Feeney, but our supremo does like wingers, hence the introduction of the latter.
    Bristol’s second goal was scored as a result of our captain not following his man. The Radio Wales team mentioned that Morrison does not always defend these situations as well as he should, and Flint’s goal was a case in point. A great delivery from the corner kick, met by a player on the move with a crunching header. Goalkeeper no chance.
    We did create a couple of chances later on to equalise, free kicks close to the penalty area taken by Tomlin, but it was probably too much to ask for a story book ending.
    So, with a third of the season gone, third position is probably beyond most supporters wildest dreams. With Wolves and Sheff. Utd both having convincing wins, there is a modest points gap opening, but this division is proving difficult for many of the fancied teams to be consistent, with Villa, Derby and Leeds all tasting defeat, the latter from a spirited performance from our next opponents.
    That being the case, just hope that Kenneth, Gunnars, NML and Bennett are available.

  6. HarryKirtley'sGhost says:

    Thanks Paul, as ever.
    A most thoughful piece from you.
    You are ever so right to refer to NW’s pre-match words of confidence in Mike Jones, as tempting fate somewhat. I too felt as soon as I saw those words on Friday…”oh gosh, I hope these words will come back to bite him”. I prefer the Neil that is always in the ear of the fourth official and complaining about bad decisions.
    And the Neil, that accepts that certain things in football are written in stone, and one is “a referee is always unduly influenced by the home crowd”…and I believe that ALONE is the reason he did not show a second yellow to Pack. He knew that the crowd would be on his back from then on.
    Of course the Bogle red was deserved and never in doubt, but had it been Bogle who was committing Pack’s second yellow, trust me, he would have gone.
    As for his red, I was talking to two friends here in Grimsby last night, and they are not the least surprised. One (a season ticket holding “Town” fan) said…
    “He has bags of energy, a powerful shot, can head the ball half decent, good speed, and never gives up…but he has always had a red mist in his head. Maybe Warnock will get that red mist out of him. But I am not sure that Warnock is a man to set the right example”.
    Bit hard is that. Neil is a very intelligent guy who hopefully will channel Bogle’s energy, deal with the hernia in Bogle’s head, and set the right example by not going berserk himself. That said Neil, don’t go the other way by buttering up refeees. Their egos are already way off the graph.
    I have still never forgotten that disgraceful homer Mike Dean changing “that” decision at the Riverside in that vital game…and moving from a harsh yellow, to an insane red on Dale Stephens, just because he saw the blood on the Boro player’s leg, and thus changing the game before halftime, with Brighton until then the better team…and indeed, were still the better team even with ten men…but alas just failed to get the achieved result (because their best player had been red carded following the ref bowing to crowd booing and Boro players surrounding him). You (Paul) relatively recently lauded Mike Dean …and when you did I reached for my sick bag, because that day Mike Dean achieved a new low for referees.
    I have never forgotten that day at the Riverside. As fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle, I looked at Chris Hughton: what a wonderful dignity he possessed in the most gut-wrenching disappointment of that moment.
    And what wonderful karma exactly 12 months later to see Boro relegated from the EPL, and Brighton take their place.
    And so back to Mike Jones. He just conformed to type. No more no less.
    A couple of other points re your excellent review Paul. I agree that past the age of 30, then whether players have the legs to be a midfield player, is a real doubt. But you also include wingers.
    Wasn’t Stanley Matthews going on 40 in the Matthews Cup Final…? 38 definitely.
    And his greatest period in the game was the last quarter.
    That guy was so fit. I recall seeing him at Ninian in a Stoke shirt when he was fifty…and he was even then leaving City defenders for dead with his pace over the first fifteen yards.
    And a final word on Sean Morrison. Why are people surprised that he cannot defend? He is another Steven Caulker…a chap who if a teacher at school had not said “you are a tall lad, I will make you a centre back”…but instead said “I will make you my centre FORWARD”…it could all have been so different. That is how important P.E. teachers are.
    Both players possess a serious talent for attacking the opposition goal. But managers won’t think outside the square.

  7. Richard Holt says:

    Thanks for the write-up Paul. Losing to Bristol City is an unpleasant experience at any time even though yesterday’s result was no great shock.
    Most of my thoughts about the game have already been made by yourself and in other comments but is a good time to take stock of our season so far though.
    Obviously being 3rd in the table at this stage is well beyond what most of our expectations were at the start of the season and we all have to be happy with that. However after our ‘blitzkrieg’ start of 15 points in 5 games our following 11 games have yielded just 16 more points. 16 from 11 is mid-table form and I would say that as a mid-table side is pretty much how we are performing at the moment.
    On a more optimistic thought if over the next 30 games we continue to accrue points at the same rate as over the last 11 we would still end the season on the 74/75 point mark. That’s not enough in itself to guarantee a play-off spot but it would only take a small improvement on current form for us to be fairly certain of a top six spot. Another 5 straight wins would help mind !

  8. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Some time ago I was told that Cardiff City had been within minutes of signing Peter Crouch. If he had joined us he would have given Cardiff a dimension which our current centre forwards do not provide – namely, aerial dominance and effective hold-up play.

    Bogle did quite well yesterday until his moment of madness, but neither he nor Ward (nor Zohore for that matter) can tyrannize hulking defenders.

    The best display I have seen of aerial dominance and effective hold-up play from a centre forward at Cardiff’s ground occurred in May 2012, when Carlton Cole, playing for West Ham, wiped the floor with our central defenders and destroyed our hopes of going to Wembley for the play-offs. He did not run around like a scalded cat but was always the focus for get-out balls from deep.

    Cardiff’s style of play has often cried out for such a player but it has not really been an option this season. Someone like Carlton Cole would have been a godsend yesterday, giving us a viable alternative in attack. I know his outstanding display at Cardiff was five years ago and that he has been something of a flop in recent times, but he still has the physical attributes and experience to play the target man role. Unless I’ve missed something (which is entirely possible) is he still a free agent?

  9. Clive Harry says:

    Some interesting comments, many of which I agree with, particularly the Ward rather than Feeney substitution and Damour instead of Bryson suggestions. Also. as Paul knows, I’m not a fan of Peltier – even less so at left back and if Bennett is out I think Ralls would give us more options there and free up a space in midfield.
    However, my main grouse today is refereeing. A few weeks back we had an idiot at Birmingham who turned down a blatant penalty for a kick in the head but conceded it would have been a free kick anywhere else on the pitch! We had another clown against Millwall last week before yesterday’s Premier League referee who perhaps thought he shouldn’t have been there. My main complaint being the non sending off of Bristol’s Pack for a shocking tackle early in the second half which I thought could have been a straight red rather than just a second yellow. However, Mr Jones has apparently said that he took no action because he thought that Pack got a ‘touch’ on the ball!! I wasn’t aware that the rules had been changed so that bad fouls are permissable as long as a player gets a ‘touch’ first. Significantly, Bogle was subsequently correctly sent off for a foul on – Pack! If ever poor decisions influenced the outcome of a game, it was definitely this one.
    Rant over. For once, I think an international break has come at the right time with our injury list.

  10. Clive Rymon says:

    Hi Paul,sometimes your going to play games that whatever you do it’s not going to end in a good way,yesterday was no exception,although I thought that we started brightly Mendez with his injury being replaced ,we still were competing well and then all of a sudden we’re a goal down.we managed to get back into the game with a great bit of skill and determination from Hoilett,where it really started to unravel was the Bogle incident,then you had the feeling that it was not going to be our day.

    Can I say that having witness the game at first hand as I have stated many times this team does not know when it’s beaten,in fact towards the end of game we might just have sneaked especially if Tomlins effort had just been a few inches lower.

    We now have a couple of weeks to get some of our injured players into the mix,and I look forward to Brentford with anticipation.

  11. Stephen Fairhurst says:

    Just a quick comment after looking at the highlights and seeing the team in our recent home games I feel Peltier in the left back isn’t working and wonder do we have a left sided player from any of the Cardiff squads that will be more natural in that position.

  12. MIKE HOPE says:

    Our manager has justifiably built a fund of goodwill which currently makes him immune to serious criticism about team selection and tactics.
    I cannot help thinking that a former manager would have been well and truly sladed for some of yesterday’s events.My main concern is that he seems to have too high a regard for the ability of Feeney.Is it because he is brilliant in training or perhaps something to do with the terms of his loan?
    I have no doubt that Pack would have been given a yellow card if he had not already been on a yellow.He certainly took the ball whilst scything through Bamba’s legs and his head holding reaction when the ref signalled a foul suggested that he expected to go.
    My weekend is always ruined when we lose but I am telling myself that I should not feel despondent about this result.
    Had I known that we would be going into this game without Zohore, Gunner and NML (apart from 7 minutes) due to injuries and that we would have to manage with 10 men for about 40 minutes a one goal hit to our goal difference would not have seemed too bad.
    Mind you had I known that the winning goal would be scored by a centre half heading the ball from a long throw-in by an Icelander I would have expected something different!

  13. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning everyone, it looks like the six month sage that is the sale of my house and purchase of a new flat is all going to fall through today (can’t say I’m overly disappointed after learning a few more things about my proposed new home in the past few weeks), so I’m going to be very busy today.
    Thanks for your replies and to quickly answer a couple of questions, Stephen, Rhys Abbruzzese is a specialist left back who is a regular in the Wales Under 21 team this season, but he has been absent from recent Development team matches. I’m hoping he’s been injured, rather than having to step aside to accommodate all of the trialists that have been appearing recently, but he’s some way off the first team yet I’d say.
    Anthony, Carlton Cole is still playing in Indonesian football;-

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