Cardiff 0 - 0 Blackburn. Comment

Last updated : 22 February 2024 By Paul Evans

Do you look at tonight’s 0-0 draw with Blackburn at Cardiff City Stadium as a stopping of the bleeding with a point and a clean sheet after three straight losses or is it an indication of how low standards have dropped at City that a dull, goalless draw at home to a team even more out of form than us is greeted positively by some and touted as a kind of turning of a corner?


Speaking for myself, I would say that yes, City did play better than in their last three home games which were lost by an aggregate score of 0-7. At least for a while tonight it looked like we were trying to win the game rather than giving the impression that a 0-0 draw was the height of our ambitions – as it was against Leicester and Leeds.

I reckon the reaction to falling a goal behind tonight would have been as craven and disappointing as it was against Preston, but Blackburn, on a run of one win in eleven league games themselves, weren’t too interested in pressing for the win and, in truth, one madcap scramble which included a fine save by Ethan Horvarth from sub Tyrhys Dolan apart, they were kept at arm’s length by a City defence in which I thought Nat Phillips turned in a man of the match performance.

Rather like against Preston, City had the better of the opening half an hour, but, with this team, domination does not equal goals or even goal attempts. Through the whole of the first half, there was only one angled shot from Karlan Grant which keeper Aynsley Pears beat out with the rebound hitting the City player to go out for a goal kick to get excited about..

Despite the fact that this was the sum total of City’s genuine goal threat in the opening forty five minutes, I spent about half of that time thinking the a City goal might be coming, but I was applying the standards I use when watching other sides play on the telly – you expect a goal when a team is on top, but a City fan shouldn’t when their team is.

It was hard at times to work out whether we were playing with a back four or three cents backs. Sometimes it looked like Mahlon Romeo was in his normal right back position (strangely, a fit again Perry Ng was consigned to the substitutes bench and stayed there all game) or whether he was the right sided member of a three with Josh Bowler operating as the wing back. By the end, I was thinking we’d played with a back four all game, but as our earlier ambition faded and not losing became the height of our ambitions, Grant, Bowler and substitute Ollie Tanner all looked more and more like Erol Bulut wingers (i.e. more concerned with defending) to me.

Bulut’s selection was more rearranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic stuff to the extent that only Horvarth and Phillips of the January signings who were supposed to turn our season around started and you have to wonder if they’d have been there if Jak Alnwick and Mark McGuinness had been fit. This time it was Ryan Wintle and Manolis Siopis’ turn to be the two defensive midfielders and, unusually and possibly uniquely under this manager, Rubin Colwill was given a third straight start.

The fact that only three subs (Tanner, Famala Diedhiou and David Turnbull) were brought on strongly suggests that City were not really chasing the win themselves in the last quarter of the game. In a team that has not scored in four home matches now, the fact that Bulut keeps picking a kid on he bench who scored a solo goal a week ago for the under 21s where he ran past three or four opponents, but, apparently has no intention of using him is baffling. Cian Ashford scored a great goal deep into added time for Wales under 21s in October when an equaliser was desperately needed, why not give him a run out for ten minutes in this goal shy team?

City ended the first half with their “dominance” a thing of the past, Blackburn coming back into things not so much by attacking us, more by keeping the ball and the beginning of the second period offered more of the same until a two minute spell completely at odds with what happened in the other eighty eight, First, Bowler had a shot from the corner of the penalty area that Pears turned aside on his near post, then the resultant corner was worked to Grant in a position similar to the one he scored from against Plymouth on Boxing Day, but , this time, Pears tipped his shot over.

A couple of minutes later, Colwill (again the Cardiff player most likely “to make something happen”) did well to tee up Etete whose fierce shot from ten yards was again turned for a corner by the suddenly overworked keeper. That said, all of Pears’ saves were ones he should have been making as, yet again, City’s finishing lacked the accuracy to cash in on their half, chances.

More proof of this came soon after as Grant was a yard too high with a free kick and Dimitrios Goutas headed wide the sort of chance he was scoring from before Christmas.

Ten minutes into the second half I was getting confident again that City were going to score soon. What I didn’t know though was they’d run their race as far as goal attempts went and it was Horvarth who had to make the save of the game as the ball bobbled about in our penalty area before reaching Dolan who took a touch to steady himself as he seemed sure to score from seven yards only for Horvarth to turn his shot away.

After that, Blackburn were comfortable in seeing the game out against a side that had lost its earlier attacking intent and a poor spectacle ended 0-0 with both managers left to try to put a positive spin on the outcome.

While our manager’s post match claim that “we create a lor” had more going for it than it did when he first said it,, it was still a very optimistic (some may use less generous words there!) interpretation of events  

A few hours earlier, the under 21s had played their third game in eight days and made it seven points out of nine with a hard fought, but just about deserved, 2-1 win over Charlton at Leckwith. Cameron Antwi put us ahead early on and the win looked to be sealed when sub Troy Perrett steered a low shot beyond the keeper from twenty yards – it was a fine goal and it turned out to be the match winner as Charlton got a goal back with ten minutes left and the visitors then had an equaliser ruled out by the eccentric referee for a foul before the points were confirmed.