Natural order of things fully restored in Cardiff v Leeds games.

Something decidedly odd happened on 3 November 2015. After thirty one years of trying to beat us in a game, Leeds finally managed to do it that evening as a screamer by Alex Mowatt decided a tight game at Elland Road in the Yorkshire sides favour – ironically, it was Leeds’ first home win in nearly eight months.

Four months later, Leeds only went and did it again as they survived an absolute bombardment from a City side reduced to ten men to show an impressive speed on the break as they recorded a double with a 2-0 win at Cardiff City Stadium.

Things were changing to the extent that when Leeds eased to a comfortable win, again by 2-0, in Cardiff just over a year ago, there was no feeling of it being a shock result – yes, we were a poor outfit at that time, but the old certainty that we would soon be ending any run without a win because we had a game against Leeds coming up soon was no longer there.

Perhaps those who are in charge of such things had decided that all of the fun we had at Leeds’ expense since George McCluskey’s late goal gave them victory at Ninian Park in February 1984 had to be paid for? We’d loved that never to be forgotten FA Cup game in 2002, the Koumas matches in 2005, Leeds 0 Cardiff 4 in 2010 and Bellamy’s blasted free kick to win the home game in our title winning season, but now there had to be consequences for that period of almost complete dominance.

Indeed, this time last year as I was seven months into my seventh decade of life’s journey, I can remember wondering if I might not see us beat Leeds (one of the very few sides around that I really, really dislike) again – it felt like there had been a changing of the guards and we were going to have to get used to having our noses rubbed in it by Leeds fans in the same manner as we had been doing to them for decades.

So, when we headed to Elland Road back in February, following a flat performance in losing at home to Norwich a week earlier, to face a Leeds side in fine form and with a formidable recent home record, there seemed to be only one possible outcome to me – a fourth consecutive win over us for the team we used to beat as a matter of course.

What I definitely wasn’t expecting was us doing a number on Leeds as we, first, drew their sting and then hit them with a couple of unanswered goals to record what was, arguably, our most impressive victory among the many we achieved in the Warnock inspired revival that the 16/17 campaign became.

Actually, I thought Kenneth Zohore had a better all round game up at Sunderland than he did last night, but his two, straightforward, goals could be so important in terms of how our season pans out. Although Neil Warnock said after the game that it was hardly as if he was missing sitters all of the time, his lack of goals in the past seven weeks or so must have been preying on his mind.*

So, there was to be no period of total Leeds dominance, or there wasn’t going to be one for a while at least. However, would that unexpected and, ultimately, fully deserved win just prove to be a blip, a final reminder of how things used to be as Leeds imposed a definite superiority in meetings between the two clubs?

Well, after last night’s fantastic, memorable and statement making 3-1 win over the side that came into the game on top of the league, City fans can allow themselves to believe that normal service has been resumed as far as us and Leeds are conecerned.

Leeds may go on to get more than their fair share of victories in the years to come, but that will never alter the fact that, from now on, we will have a match which may not beat the FA Cup win fifteen years ago for a sheer feelgood factor, nevertheless the raucous night when 27,000 well behaved (bar one idiot who staged a late pitch invasion) supporters saw us take them apart and supplant them at the top of the Championship table will be a clear second to the Scott Young game in the annals of great City wins over a club which, with some justification, thinks we are nowhere near their equals.

Seriously, how good were we last night? Given our faltering displays in September after the highs of August and early season reviews like this one by a seemingly awestruck by Leeds Don Goodman (remind me, where is Mr Goodman from?), I went to last night’s game expecting a draw – 1-1 was my pre game prediction.

However, when I heard that Joe Ralls and Aron Gunnarsson would both be missing from our midfield, I began to wonder if I was being over optimistic in expecting us to get a point – those two players have become so important to our whole approach under Neil Warnock that, while we could probably get by without one of them, being without both of them threatened to be too much for us to cope with.

After the game, Leeds fans were bemoaning the absence, presumably also through injury, of Eunan O’Kane from their midfield and, given his selection in the Irish squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Moldova and Wales, it’s reasonable to accept that this had an impact on Leeds’ performance.

It still must be said though that Leeds’ O’Kaneless team were faced with a City midfield three of Loic Damour, Craig Bryson and the recalled Sol Bamba which had a bit of a thrown together, threadbare, look to jt.

What that reconstructed midfield had though was plenty of energy, stamina, mobility and tenacity – Leeds were well and truly “Warnocked” last night and those three were well to the fore as they got in their faces for a good three quarters of the game.

There were signs in his appearance from the bench at Sunderland on Saturday that, after a quiet three or four matches, Junior Hoilett was returning to something like the form that I believe made him our best player in August. Last night, he was as good as at any time last month – in fact, he ;probably played better and gained a deserved reward for a Man of the Match display with his fine strike from twenty five yards.*

I don’t know much at all about Leeds’ latest manager, Thomas Christiansen – he’s obviously done a very good job so far, but I found a couple of things he did and said last night quite odd. Firstly, by choosing to leave Hamburg loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Spaniard Samuel Saiz (who I’ve read some glowing reports on) on the bench, Christiansen seemed to be indulging in a spot of squad rotation ahead of this weekend’s derby with Sheffield Wednesday – strange that when you were up against a team that would overtake you at the top of the league with a win.

Secondly, although the opening quarter of the game was the sort of cagey affair you’d expect when third meets first in any league, the Leeds manager’s assertion that it was only a couple of mistakes that led to his team’s first half woes seem to be way wide of the mark to me.

Yes, the opening goal did come somewhat out of the blue and did rely heavily on Mateusz Klich’s slip as he presented possession to us just inside the Leeds half, but the process whereby the visitors would become thoroughly rattled during the second quarter of the match had already begun as our pressing high up the pitch and rapid closing down in midfield left Leeds either having to turn backwards to keeper Felix Wiedwald (who looked very impressive with the ball at his feet) or, worse, be harried off the ball in areas where City could break quickly.

Once again, we had the fascinating contrast of styles that you come across so often in City games – the opponents who favour a patient passing approach against a City side that looks to attack quickly by getting the ball forward as early as possible. However, certainly in the first half, Lees caused us little or no problem as, with the gifted, but outmuscled, Kemar Roofe alone up front, it seemed to me that they lacked someone to play off in an attacking sense.

However, City, with their direct approach and aided far more by good passing, not aimless booting, than had been seen for portions of our last two home games, carried the greater goal threat even in that quiet early period, but, once Kenneth Zohore had ended his goal drought in the twenty eighth minute, it felt like a second goal wouldn’t be too long in arriving.

When it did, it came via the sort of long shot you saw Junior Hoilett scoring from now and again for Blackburn and QPR, but not come remotely close to doing so at Cardiff until last night.

Leeds had “gone” by this stage as they found themselves put under an incessant type of pressure (even when they had the ball) that I doubt this newly assembled team had come up against before. The visitors were not only losing it in terms of football as Zohore shot powerfully into the side netting and Sean Morrison had a goal ruled out by a close, but correct, offside goal, but also in terms of their discipline.  Captain Liam Cooper (newly added to the Scotland squad) was lucky to stay on the pitch after referee Kevin Friend decided to punish a two footed lunging “scissor” tackle on Damour with a yellow card, but when he then clattered into a flying Nathaniel Mendez-Lange four minutes later with another challenge that could easily have been punished with a straight red, the ref was left with no option but to show him a second yellow.

Being really unfair on City, I was hoping to be fed until I wanted no more in the second half. The opportunity was there at half time to completly thrash Leeds (did I mention that I really, really dislike them?), but instead we, understandably I suppose, saw a “professional” approach from the team as they were content to sit back and allow our opponents to have possession.

Some credit should go to Leeds though because they were definitely a better outfit with ten men than they were with eleven and Neil Etheridge was able to offer a reply to some of those who have been critical of him after recent difficulties against QPR and Preston with a good double save early in the second half as the visitors had three efforts within the space of thirty seconds which threatened our goal more than anything they had produced up to then, but once Zohore had tapped in a third goal on the hour, even I was able to accept that we should now be on our way to three points!

What followed in the aftermath of our final goal was somewhat akin to the Sheffield United match where the result was in little doubt, but City were being forced back – to me it’s a little like the old did he fall or was he jumped question, were we being forced back by the play of the opposition or the desire to take things a little easier after the immense effort by all of our outfield players that had got us into the winning position?

A bad night gets even worse for Leeds as Liam Cooper is shown a red card by Kevin Friend for a second poor tackle within five minutes – Leeds managed to restore some pride with an improved second half display, but, effectively, the game was all over as a contest from this point.+

If it was the latter, then that would be understandable because the amount of closing down done by the front three and Bryson and Damour in particular was incredible and, as I’ve mentioned before on here, my one real fear about this squad is that they are playing in such a physically intensive way that they may run out of steam come the spring.

That’s for the future though. For now, I’d say we’ve just made a statement to the rest of the division that, for now at least, there aren’t many teams in this league who can live with us when we get things right. The wins against Villa, Wolves and now Leeds should all have been ones to make the rest of the league sit up and take notice, but I get the feeling that any praise we receive will be of the grudging variety and come with the view that our lofty position is not going to last.

I can only believe that this lack of recognition comes because we are perceived as long ball cloggers -laughably, I’ve seen comments from Leeds (did I mention I really, really dislike them?) fans claiming we kicked them off the park!

While the pundits seem to drool over the Fulham’s. Wolves’ and Leeds’ of this world as they look to open up defences with intricate, patient football, we are viewed as polar opposites who  only succeed because we are powerful, dogged, committed and quick in certain areas – if you like, we are the ugly sisters among those at the top of the league.

Yes, we do play differently, but we are also very good at making teams dislike playing against us and that’s something that teams with a more “footballing”approach don’t often come up against. Anyway,(and while I’m in mid rant!) if any side in the Championship had scored a goal like our third one with that rat a tat of one touch passes (in a way which fully sums up the different things us supporters and the pros in the game notice in a passage of play, Neil Warnock reserved most praise for Bryson for his run that took Leeds defenders with him – I, on the other hand, didn’t even notice it!) the media would be drooling about it – I’ve not seen a better goal of it’s type in the Championship this season.

The precision, movement and pace in that passage of play offered evidence that our front three were back on form and all of them had a claim for City man of the match. Sky gave it to Hoilett and I agree with that decision, but Bamba, magnificent overall and, surprisingly, effective in the creative sides of the game ran him close, as did Bryson and Morrison – there were no weak performers in a marvelous display which, once again, confirmed that we are a side to be reckoned with this season.

I’ll leave you with this thought. We’ve now played four of the other five sides in the top six with us currently (we’ve also played, and beaten, the side in eighth). We were poor and got what we deserved at Preston, but by the same token, our wins over Wolves, Sheffield United and Leeds were all merited.

Only Milwall, Barnsley and Sunderland can match us in having played four of the current top six and, apart from us, only Leeds, Preston and Boro of those in the top ten at the moment have played a top six club more than once (in each case, they played two top six teams) – so, as of now “Champions in waiting” Wolves have only played, and lost to, the one top six team.

So, with games already been played against improving Villa, Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday as well, I feel it could legitimately be claimed that the side currently at the top of the league have got there despite having a more testing first ten games than any of their rivals in the division.

*pictures courtesy of http://www.walesonline.co.uk/

+picture courtesy of http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/

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16 Responses to Natural order of things fully restored in Cardiff v Leeds games.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Paul what a night, it’s always a nice feeling to beat Leeds and although they were down to 10 men in the second half they did play some good football. That said it was mostly ineffective.
    That third goal had me buzzing it was pure class and must be a contender for goal of the month and season. It was simply a gem. A great team goal.
    I must admit with bamba in midfield Cardiff do look strong and the damour and Bryson chasing will go unsung but they were all over the place, well done to them.
    Great to see Zahore back on the scoresheet that will do him a power of good.
    Nice bit about who has played who and if you look at our start we have played the teams who are deemed the contenders and beaten them. After that we have the games against derby middlesbrough and Norwich then we tackle the lower end of the league teams. I am not saying these matches will be easy but we have had on paper so really difficult matches.
    The banana skin which is derby and joe ledley may prove troublesome this weekend but I can see us stretching the lead over the coming weeks.
    A special mention to warnock who having had his midfield decimated quickly put together a strong replacement in its place.
    The value of having that strength as back up augers well for this season.
    On the downside I was impressed with the cameo of ward when he replaced zahore and feeder didn’t do anything when he came on. I would like these to be fighting for a place in that team. Maybe boggle and pilkington could have been a better option

  2. Barry Cole says:

    That iPad writes what it wants
    The last bit should read I wasn’t impressed by ward and feeney hope that clarifies why I suggested boggle and pilkington

  3. Neil G says:

    As a Leeds fan, last night was a painful watch, but not unexpected. Leeds started the campaign like a team possessed, with fast, powerful, exciting attacking football backed by an impregnable defence. I seriously believe that side would have taken at least a point from Cardiff. However, the last four games has seen a huge decline in confidence, focus and discipline and Leeds look decidedly mid table now, so a heavy defeat away to a top side was unfortunately inevitable.
    That said, Cardiff finished last term very strong under Warnock and have improved further this season. Watching them last night confirmed my opinion that they will surely finish in the top two. Much of their movement against Leeds wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League.
    More than anything, I’m happy for Neil Warnock. He was handed a poisoned chalice at Leeds during a period of pure lunacy, and at his age, that could have put pay to his aspirations of ever managing in the top flight again. However, he is proving with Cardiff that he is nowhere near done and looks set to return for another stint in Europe’s elite league

  4. Richard Holt says:

    Thanks for the write up Paul. I had a feeling when my daughter phoned at 9.30 yesterday morning to ’summon’ me around to sort out a leaking radiator that threatened to bring down the kitchen ceiling that a) – my plans of driving to Cardiff could well be scuppered and b) if I didn’t go it would turn out to be a ‘not to miss’ match. By the time the radiator was sorted the option of going had disappeared but there was at least the consolation of seeing the match on Sky at a friend’s house only to find out that he has a house full of visitor’s this week – none of whom are particularly interested in football. Still not going and wishing I had is lot better than going and wishing I hadn’t !
    I must admit my sneaking optimism took a bit of a knock when I saw the team line up but hey what do I know. Apart from keeping a clean sheet (their goal looked pretty lucky to me mind) and improving our goal difference at the expense of Leeds’ it seemed pretty much a perfect night for City. So much this season does depend on our front three clicking as we know they can and I don’t think many teams in this league will cope with us when they do. If we can maintain this and get a result against Derby then my pre-season prediction of 8th may have to be revised upwards.

  5. Anthony O'Brien says:

    As our ever percipient Blogmeister declares regarding last night’s game,”There were no weak performances in a marvellous display”. I was delighted to see that Zohore, getting tight on the goal-line more frequently than used to be the case, ended his goal drought with two well taken goals. Even though he noticeably tired as the second half wore on, he had done his job and will probably regain whatever confidence he had lost.

    It was Bamba’s performance as a holding (and CONSTRUCTIVE) midfielder which made him my man of the match, although Hoilett ran him close. I noted some time ago, based on observation of the pre-match warm-up sessions which end in forwards taking pot-shots at goal. that Hoilett hits the ball more cleanly than any of his colleagues. There have been some instance in previous matches when he tried long range shots with his left foot, but his right foot effort yesterday was a delight to see.
    In addition to team selection and tactics adding to the quality of Cardiff’s performance, the crowd also came good, and the crowd played its part throughout the game. I noted that many of the people flooding into the ground had paper tickets. In other words, they were not season-ticket holders. Yet, the majority of them seemed to be wearing Cardiff City shirts, which goes to show that there is a fan-base of former fans already in existence. All that is needed is a run of good results and good football.

    However, I feel obliged to mention that many of the crowd last night (at least, so far as the Canton Stand was concerned, insisted on standing up throughout the game, giving no thought for those including lots of children — in the seats seats behind them. This did not affect me personally, since my own seat is directly above the entrance to the block in line with the touchline, but I noticed several unhappy parents with children complaining to the stewards, though nothing was done to rectify the situation. It is surely something which the administration should look into.

    All in all, last night was otherwise perfect. Le us all hope there is more of the same to come.

  6. Clive Rymon says:

    Hi Paul,good summary as per,well well well did we see that coming,I must be honest I thought a draw would be a good result in the circumstances but I once again underestimated this side as another riveting performance is executed.

    What a game they all had none more so than Bamba,this is just an opinion by myself but I have thought for a while that having two holding midfielders in Ralls and Gunnerson at home seems a bit defensive and last night Bamber played like two men which allowed Bryson and Damour with their energy to join in with the front three and cause havoc in the Leeds defence.Now I know it is sometimes horses for courses but last night it worked a treat.

    Now we take on another fancied side and I am sure the team can look forward to that game with confidence,it will be good to see Ledley on home turf again but sorry Joe I hope you go back to Derby empty handed.

  7. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul another perfect summary , like you I detest Leeds and have done so from the Revie era to date , Ihavevto say though there MOM last night were thier away fans who did make some noise even at 3 nil.

    For me Bryson once again showed what an astute bit of business his loan is , he has a tireless box to box attitude , whose first instinct is to go forward , and when the ball is lost he chase and harrasss the opposition into mistakes , at the moment he’d be my first choice midfielder .

    Leeds couldn’t cope with our version of Pogba in the guise of Bamba,he must have enjoyed that result as he left Leeds under a cloud ,they must regret that move.

    Holliet was excellent again a real wide player on top of his game, his desire to take defenders on , is a delight .

    The best part of the night though was Zohore banging in few , I was particulary impressed by his shielding of the ball when isolated .

    Well I never thought we would still be top when viewing the fixtures before the Fulham game , it’s all a bit unreal.

    What will happen come January if were still up there , stick or twist Mr Tan, death or glory.

  8. Colin Phillips says:

    Thank you, Paul, another excellent and accurate account, and I just happen to agree with every word of it. Some nice replies as well.

    I didn’t feel well enough to brave a large crowd on Tuesday evening so I had to settle for the rather dubious pleasure of watching the game on Sky!! It was if everyone had come to watch the new exciting Leeds and we were just there to celebrate their exciting attacking football. Shame that Cardiff wanted it a hell of a lot more than they did. Thought Kevin Friend did an excellent job (would have been a different story if I was supporting Leeds), not blowing-up every time one of the Leeds players broke their “best nail”.

    Difficult to find fault with any of the Cardiff performances, especially those mentioned above and Sir Neil will have the luxury of having to decide who to leave out. Bryson being unavailable will lessen his problems but still some difficult choices to make.

    Here’s to Saturday and Derby (my team to hate) not sure I’ll be there yet but I do hope I can make it.

  9. BJA says:

    Good Morning Paul and fellow bloggers.
    I, too, am no fan of Leeds but cannot really say why but I really, really don’t like them. So Tuesday’s effort from the men in blue gave me more satisfaction than other victories this season, and if there was a disappointment, it was the deflected shot by Roofe that evaded Etheridge’s despairing dive to prevent us from a clean sheet. But let me not dwell on that.
    What impresses me, is the style that NW has imposed on the City team to chase and harry opposition once they start to advance towards our half of the pitch. Damour’s actions in causing Herr Flich to slip and concede possession was a case in point, and his delivery to Hoilett was perfectly placed to allow our Canadian to advance at pace, and place a perfectly weighted pass for our Ken to blast home.
    When I returned home, I apologised to Mrs BJA by saying that I was going to watch the recorded version with full glass in hand and that I would join her upstairs some two hours later. Ultimately it was not quite as long as that as once I had seen our third goal, and what a goal as you rightly report, I fast forwarded just to listen to the pundit’s reports who seemed quite impressed with our display. And so they should.
    It really was an excellent team display with many stand out performances. Bamba – immense as were all of the attacking quintet, but I would like to add a special mention for Bruno. There are times when he seems just a cut above the normal Championship defender and I must congratulate those at the CCS who persuaded him to stay with us even if, as rumoured, he is now on a reduced salary having rejected more remunerative offers from elsewhere.
    And so on to the Rams and their visit in two days time. I have given up on second guessing our starting eleven these days, but there will have to be a least one change as Bryson is unavailable. Someone should offer a prize as to whoever gets it correct, but I would not enter, I haven’t got one right yet!!

  10. Adrian Lloyd Pickrell says:

    Another great report and the odd hint that Paul does not have a Leeds scarf hanging above his bed.
    I am always thankful for these reports as I really do not get to see many games. I follow it all on my phone (live ticker). On seeing the highlights I was thoroughly thrilled at what looked like a dramatic City Performance. The first Goal was nicely executed, the second a lovely thunderbolt but for me, our third goal was just beautiful. Just like playing “one touch football” in training camp.
    P:S I have a Problem with Leeds too, but mine is based on the fact that that my school class in Neath in the 70s was full of little plastic Leeds fans who all became little plastic Swansea fans when the Jacks started their climb through the divisions in 1980(?) There were only two Bluebirds in our class but we were then and still are City fans and we were on the supporters bus from Neath for every home game back then, Saturdays and weekdays. I wonder what happened to all those Little Leeds fans.

  11. Lindsay Davies says:

    Thanks, Paul – spot on, as ever.
    I knew there would be days when the pain of having moved so far from God’s Own would be almost unbearable – well, that was one of them…sheer pride and excitement, here in Norwich.
    And, Rambo showing some form for the Gunners.
    Good to be alive.

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    A great night, from a City perspective at least, and a great set of replies to mark it.
    Adrian, people talked about the 2,500 Leeds fans plus that were on Tuesday and my snorted response was that most of them didn’t have to make a journey that was any longer than the one made to the match by home supporters! I worked in the Patent Office in Newport from 1989 to 2009 and the place was crawling with Leeds fans, there were plenty of Liverpool supporters, a few Man United devotees, a gathering of us City fans and individuals who were the lone representative of their club, but it was Leeds who had the most.
    As one or two of you have noticed, I am not a Leeds fan by any stretch of the imagination and that springs from the time in the 60s and 70s when they took gamesmanship, dirty play and intimidation to new levels. I also happen to think that that they were the best side in the country by some distance over a ten year period and would have won far more trophies if they had just concentrated on playing the sort of football they were capable of, but, apart from 73/74 when they won the title playing what even I had to admit was an entertaining brand of football, Revie’s paranoia ensured that there was always that cynicism close to the surface.
    To borrow a modern day phrase that wasn’t around back then, Leeds were a “marmite” team when I was growing up – you either loved them or hated them and what I will say about all of those south Wales based Leeds fans I’ve come across down the decades is that, unlike in Adrian’s case it appears, they stuck with them though thick and thin (they were in League One in last few years of my time in the Patent Office, but that didn’t put off any of the Leeds fans that I knew).
    Anyway, I digress, that third goal wasn’t bad for the worst passers of the ball in the Championship was it! To continue the Leeds connection, someone from Wales Online said it reminded him of a goal Brian Flynn scored for Wales against Scotland at Ninian Park back in 1975 I think it was. That’s a great shout and I’d say that the Wales goal was the better of the two because it was harder to put together such passing movements on end of season pitches in the 70s, but what Tuesday’s goal had over the earlier one was that it was all done so much more quickly than it was over forty years ago – I wouldn’t need too much persuasion to change my mind as to which one was the best.
    BJA, I agree with you about the disappointment of conceding that goal. At the game I thought it was a goal to compare to Hoilett’s in terms of the quality of the shot and it was only when I got home and watched some highlights that I realised that Etheridge would probably have saved it if it wasn’t for the deflection off Morrison – you also make a very good point about Bruno Manga (I think we’ve passed the ball better than we were doing in our last two games and his presence in the team always helps in that aspect of the game.
    Colin , it’s a shame you missed such a great occasion, but being able to watch City put on a good showing for the Sky cameras must have been a novel experience – when I was able to record television programmes I had a tradition whereby I would religiously set my recorder to have the game I was just off to ready for me to watch again when I returned and then I’d record over or delete without having watched any of it!
    Yes Russell, it must be said that the Leeds fans were pretty impressive on Tuesday. As for what we do in January if we are still in the running for a top six finish, I’ll continue with the early seventies theme and say that I can remember Man City signing Rodney Marsh for an awful lot of money when it looked like they had the Championship in their grasp, only to lose momentum as they tried to integrate Marsh and end up losing the title to Derby I think it was. More recently, Newcastle had a handy lead at the top of the Premier League when the spent a fortune on Fausinto Asprilla and were reeled in, then passed by Man United. If City really do have the sort of camaraderie and spirit within the squad as appears to be the case from the outside, then great care would need to be taken regarding any new additions – especially if they were to cost a big fee.
    Clive, I know what you mean about underestimating the team I support. I’ve always been able to easily figure out just how bad a City team may be, but, equally, I’ve struggled to come to terms with appreciating how good one might be. I always tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to predictions about how we’ll do, so, for now, I’m sticking with my pre season forecast of us finishing somewhere between eighth and tenth, but, having seen the way we we’ve caused top half teams huge problems with the speed of our front three on the counter attack, I’d say I’ve not seen a better team than us in that facet of the game, while the Wolves encounter and, in particular, Tuesday’s match has made me appreciate that we are a really tough side to play against at this level.
    Anthony, there were compensations to us being so poor in, say, 14/15 because the crowds were so small that you never had to get up from your seat as soon as the ball crossed the half way line when we were attacking like we used to have to do in the new ground’s first five years or so – now it’s just starting to become a feature again and the most annoying aspect of it all is that, invariably, there is no need for the people responsible for creating the problem to stand up because their view is a perfectly good one. Interesting thoughts about Hoilett as well – I’d say his finishing has been one of the weakest parts of his game since he signed for us, so I had no great hopes that the ball would end up where it did when he lined up his shot on Tuesday, but, although I reckon he did pretty well for us in 16/17, he’s a different player this season.
    Richard, one of my radiators has stopped working, you couldn’t come around to have a look at it next time you’re in Cardiff could you? “Still not going and wishing I had is lot better than going and wishing I hadn’t !” is a very mature way of looking at things if I may say so!
    Neil, good to hear from you and welcome to the forum – I feel guilty now because you’ve returned my carping about and knocking of your club with civility and compliments! In my piece, there was an element of “they’ve not met a side like us” before to my writing, but a day later, I’m beginning to think that may not be true, because I’d say Millwall probably presented you with a similar set of problems as we did. It’s interesting, and heartening, to read about you seeing us as top two material because it goes to the heart of what I was saying about it being harder to acknowledge how good your team may be. If I may say so though, I think your opinion of your team is an over pessimistic one – accepted, you know more about these things than me, but it struck me that your manager got his selection and tactics (I like Roofe, but he was never going to get much change out of Morrison and Manga with Bamba patrolling in front of them.
    Barry, the fact that it’s become a cliche, doesn’t mean that the old line about anyone being able to beat anyone in the Championship doesn’t hold true. The way Ipswich, Millwall and Bristol City are going has me thinking that this testing run of fixtures we are in could be extended well into November instead of the late October I was first thinking of. However, it doesn’t seem to be worth looking a month to six weeks forward to when our run of “easier” fixtures starts because such games are very rare occurences in the modern day Championship – I’d say the only “easy” game we’ve had so far is Villa. Nevertheless, it is a fact that, if the league table is the criteria for what decides that a game is tough or easy, then the facts are that there is no side in the division who have played more tough games than us and we’ve played twice as many of them (at least) than any other side in the top ten.
    Lindsay, before the international break, I was writing off your team as being too dodgy at the back to do anything this season after they conceded eight times in losing at Villa and Millwall, but now they’ve gone to Sheffield United and Middlesbrough and won without conceding – you really shouldn’t look too far ahead in this league, but, Preston apart, shown an ability to end up with something from games where we’ve probably been second best that many in the Championship appear to lack.

  13. Lindsay Davies says:

    Paul. Just for clarity, I meant “pride and excitement” at CCFC’s performance (s). Norwich – tidy at times – didn’t force the Bristol City ‘keeper into a single save last Saturday.

  14. Russell says:

    Paul going back to the Leeds/Newport issue I have noted the same in my short spell of living and working in Newport , a lot were Leeds fans.

    interestingly I am aware that on the night of the game a number of Leeds coaches were parked up in Newport, and the pubs were full of their fans , coincidence or arranged ,who knows ??

  15. HarryKirtley'sGhost says:

    Nice to see Vincent’s Vision open again. Loved every moment of the game. And of course the third goal was a thing of beauty, but no more so than our first goal in the previous game at Sunderland. (A splendid kick from Etheridge, a flick on, and then Bryson – one touch – and it was in the net.)
    Mr Warnock must use the outstanding kicking length of his keeper more. And remember that you cannot be offside from a goal kick.
    Tonight on TV, Pickford smacked the ball some 85 yards to Rooney suddenly free on the edge of the box. He just could not control it, otherwise it would have been some goal.
    In the same game incidentally, we saw yet another instance of the opposite: a goalkeeper tapping a goalkick out to his right back, who then found himself closed down, and then made a suicidal backpass…this one Rooney was NOT going to miss.
    The Limassol full back got the blame from the commentary team, but it should have been the keeper to get lambasted. And let’s hope that Mr Warnock – the most inspirational manager Cardiff City have had since the mid 1950s (I am not old enough to go any further back) – will fine any goalkeeper who flaunts the opportunity to get the ball down to the opponents’ defensive third of the pitch, and thus misses a chance to replicate that Bryson gem.

  16. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Sorry Lindsay, I thought I’d typed “your adopted team” – turns out I’d missed out the middle one of those words, I’d never make a sub editor!
    Russell. It’s impossible to tell about those coaches in Newport, but what you say doesn’t surprise me. All I’ll say is that a neutral who found themselves in the away end on Tuesday would have been a bit confused because they would have heard plenty of Welsh accents among the Yorkshire ones – they would probably have started getting themselves all worked up about an apparent lack of segregation!
    Nice to hear from you again Ghost. Regarding Etheridge, they’re are plenty on the messageboard I use who don’t rate his kicking – it was as good as I have seen it on Tuesday. As for fining our keeper for not kicking long upfield, the club’s coffers would not have been filled much even if such a rule had been in operation from the moment Neil Warnock took over, let alone this season – it’s probably happened now and again, but I can’t remember it if it has.
    Yes, it may have taken a tickets for a fiver offer, but the Folly has now been opened for one more Championship game that I ever imagined it would be once the decision had been made to close it. I can see definite potential for it happen again if we can stay in and around the top six (Fulham on Boxing Day being a distinct possibility), but I’ll be paying particular attention to tomorrow’s attendance – after Tuesday, you’d like to think there’d be 20,000 at least there, but I’m by no means sure there will be.

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