BK Frem 2 - 0 Cardiff City. Match report.

Last updated : 23 July 2003 By Mark Watkins

New kit
Frem take on Brondby this coming Saturday in their opening league fixture and are hoping for a capacity 7,000 crowd. Their stadium however is in a state of disrepair and quite how they will get a safety certificate to fit that many in the ground remains to be seen.

The 600 people at the game were all housed in a covered all-seated stand running the length of one side of the pitch. The stand has around 5,000 seats and is relatively modern, which is more than can be said for the rest of the ground. Behind the goal to the left was a derilict shallow open terrace, about 10 steps deep. Opposite the main stand is another shallow open terrace in even greater need of repair, whilst behind the goal to the right was a fence with fields behind. If this is a Danish premier league ground is says a lot about the quality of their league system, which has a couple of decent teams and a lot of also-rans.

City took to the field in bright orange shirts with a black flash under the arms, white shorts and black socks. The shirts were adorned with the new club crest and Redrow sponsors logo and appears to be City's new second or third kit. It came as a shock to the 70 or so City fans in attendance to see the Bluebirds look more like the Dutch national side. Perhaps it's all part of a masterplan to see us achieve 'Total Football', unfortunately our performance was some way short of that on the night!

The referee on the night was the Danish ref who sent off David Beckham in England's World Cup game against Argentina in 1998. His name escapes me but I also seem to recall him refereeing a World Cup Final or at least a semi-final. This game was certainly more low-key than he must be used to, with no celebrities on show for him to deal with.

City made two changes to the side that started against Koge on Saturday, with Vidmar and Bowen replacing Prior and Bonner respectively. City adopted a 4-3-1-2 formation with Jason Bowen in a roaming role, sometimes behind the front two whilst also drifting wide at times.

Frem began the game brightly, looking quick and dangerous with plenty of movement from their front two. After just 8 mins they took the lead, as Frem's No.9 received the ball in a central position on the edge of the area, went between our two centre-halves and placed a low shot wide of Alexander into the right hand corner of the net. It was all too easy, with neither Vidmar of Gabbidon taking charge of the situation.

This appeared to be a wake up call for City and they enjoyed their best spell of the entire game over the next 30 minutes or so, dominating possession and forcing several corners. Earnie and Campbell both had a couple of half chances, with shots either going wide or saved by the keeper. Kavanagh was dominating midfield and troubled the keeper with a couple of long range efforts.

Despite the pressure, City failed to carve out a clear cut opening and Frem were looking increasingly dangerous as they broke quickly through the middle.

After another spell of City pressure, Frem should have doubled their lead as they broke away once again. A deep cross from the right into the City area was completely missed by Vidmar, the ball falling invitingly to Frem's No.10 just a few yards out. With only Alexander to beat he flashed his shot across the goal line, Kavanagh deflecting the ball to safety, but the shot was going wide anyway.

On 36 mins Kavanagh hit a powerful shot from all of 30 yards which was well held by the keeper. Kav was easily City's best player with Earnie also looking sharp as he shot just over the bar from the edge of the area on 40 mins.

In the 44th minute Frem doubled their lead. A corner from the left was met by Frem's tall No.5 who rose unchallanged at the far post and made no mistake from just a few yards out. Alexander sppeared to be coming for the ball but then hesitated, whilst none of our defenders put in a challange on the big Danish centre half. It was a very poor gaol to concede and City will have to be sharper in the First Division.

Half Time: BK Frem 2 City 0

The second half was a non-event for City as they failed to carve out a single opening. Frem also eased off the pace after the break, as they made several changes during the half, resting players for their opening league game on Saturday.

The first action of the second half saw Willie Boland booked for a cynical and needless challange on Frem's No. 20. He kicked out at the player when he had no chance of winning the ball, which led to the player being substituted and receiving lengthy treatment for the duration of the second half. He may well end up missing Frem's opening league game due to the injury.

On 49 mins, Jason Bowen, who offered little during the match to earn a regular first team place, put in a cross from the right which was met with a good header from Earnie which troubled the keeper. The linesman had already flagged for offside but unfortunately this was City's last real attempt on goal of the entire match.

Kav and Earnie combined well on 54 mins down the left hand side to earn a corner. From the corner the ball came back to Campbell after initially being cleared, but his attempt to dribble past several players in the area led to nothing as the ball rolled harmlessly back to the keeper.

A couple of minutes later Willie Boland tried a speculative effort from the halfway line with the keeper off of his line, but his shot went well wide. Whalley then tried to play Earnie through the middle with a pass from the left, but it was easily cut out by a Frem defender.

On 59 mins Lennie made his first changes, Prior and Bonner coming on for Weston & Boland. City had to adjust with Prior going into central defence alongside Gabbidon, and Vidmar moving over to right back. On 63 mins Maxwell replaced Whalley in midfield.

Campbell was replaced by James Collins on 69 mins after taking a knock on the chin. Collins took up a centre forward role alongside Earnie, with Gavin Gordon remaining on the bench. Gordon didn't take part in any of the warm-up's before the match so I can only assume he is injured. Campbell then received stitches on the side of the pitch to the gash on his chin. Barker also got his chance, replacing Kav and taking up a position on the left side of midfield.

On 73 mins Earnie burst onto a through ball and rounded the keeper, but his touch let him down and the ball ran onto a covering defender who was able to clear to safety. A few minutes later Earnie was replaced by youngster Stuart Fleetwood.

Frem were confined to long shots for much of the second half and City once again enjoyed their fair share of possesion. However their were little positives to come out of this game, only Man of the Match Graham Kavanagh and the lively Robert Earnshaw looking somewhere near their best.

Vidmar needs time to settle in alongside the rest of the City defence and there is still a lack of quality in all areas of the City team. BK Frem would not be a force in the English First Division, but eased past City with plenty of pace and movement in their forward play.

They are however a few weeks ahead of the Bluebirds in their pre-season preperations so this is not the time to panic. The current City squad, even with John Robinson, will struggle in Division One, but I am confident that we will see Sam and Leenie bring in another 3 or 4 quality players between now and the end of August. We may be in for a tough start to the new season, but as the transfer window closes I fully expect a few deals to be done and new players to arrive at Ninian Park.

It's Malmo on Wednesday night next - I'm off to the beach now in sunny Sweden (yes they do have beaches here!)

Full Time: BK Frem 2 City 0

Mark Watkins (Nigel Blues' Junior Correspondant!)

External reports
The Western Mail