Cambridge United 0 - 0 Cardiff City. Match report.

Last updated : 31 July 2003 By Matthew Gabb
A small Bluebirds following of around 150 watched City play in this lacklustre match at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday. City lined up 4-4-2:

Alexander, Weston, Vidmar, Gabbidon, Barker, Maxwell, Boland, Kavanagh, Whalley, Earnshaw, Campbell.

City travelled straight up to Cambridge from Heathrow after arriving back from Scandanavia on Friday. It's a ground very familiar to City fans, as the U's and the Bluebirds have often been in the same division over the last few years.

Memorable matches include a 7-2 win for Cambridge at Ninian Park, a 1-0 win for Cambridge when the infamous Barry Knight refereed in Cardiff, and a 4-0 away win for the U's in 2000 when City were last relegated from division 2. City highlights include the 2-2 draw in 1997 when Jeff Eckhardt equalised in the 11th minute of injury time, the "8 men" 0-0 draw where City held out while David Elleray contented himself with sending off three Bluebird players.
Anyway, we've played them a lot, and I've been there about half a dozen times.

To start with the ground: The major change since our visit for the dreadful 2-1 defeat of 15 Sept 2001, was the stand behind the goal to the right. Last time we visited there was nothing there, now there is a brand new low stand running behind the goal. This was closed today, as the away fans were in the Habbin Stand terrace, with plenty of room for the 150 or so Cardiff fans who had made the long trip east.

The game was a typical pre-season match. Lots of pretty passing as the closing down and pressure on the ball wasn't as quick as usual, but little cutting edge from either side.

Early on in the first half City had a goal disallowed for offside after Campbell was put clean through on goal by Rhys Weston, after some excellent forward running from the City right back. This prompted a rather over exuberant celebration from one or two city fans and it took a lengthy enquiry before it was established that it wasn't a goal.

Whalley looked on form in midfield, and could prove to be a key player this season in division 1. He picked a couple of great passes through to the forward players, but I would still say we are too one-dimensional with too much of our play being compressed through the middle of the field. Earnie had a chance before being smothered by the Cambridge keeper, but I honestly have little recollection of much else going on in the first half, except for Alexander being forced into a good early save after a rising shot looked to be on target from 20 yards out.

Half time 0-0 and time for a sleep.

In the second half City had all the play but couldn't put any of the chances away as the Cambridge goalkeeper had a stormer. A Gordon header and Kavanagh free kick were the best of the Bluebird chances, although Earnshaw also belted one in low and hard from the angle, but his shot was parried away by the Cambridge keeper. The plethora of substitutions (as always) upset the rhythm of both sides games and left the game fizzling out disappointingly. City target KITSON up front for Cambridge looked like a young version of Leo Fortune West, all arms and legs and no real control. I would stick my neck out now and say he isn't good enough for the first division, and personally I would be surprised if we took a risk on him.

City's next pre-season friendly is tomorrow (Tuesday) at Whaddon Road, Cheltenham, as City travel to take on Bobby Gould's west country side. The Bluebirds then move on to play their only home pre-season friendly on Friday against Charlton Athletic, before an away trip to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday 5th August. A week Saturday Cardiff then travel to Rotherham as the season starts for real.

Western Mail report here.

Pictures from the match here courtesy of Ipswich Blue.

Update: Cambridge official site report here.