Cardiff 0 - 1 Blackburn. Comment

Last updated : 21 January 2022 By Paul Evans

Another home game, another defeat. Unbelievably and unforgivably, Cardiff City made it nine defeats in their last ten league matches on their own ground when they were beaten 1-0 by a Blackburn side that was nowhere near as good as their recent record (twenty two points from eight games now) suggested they’d be.


City deserve some credit for making the side that are now third in the table look pretty ordinary and this was a match they were definitely unlucky to lose, but this was the fifth 1-0 loss in those nine games and, apart from Bournemouth who scored around the hour mark, Reading, QPR, Hull and now Blackburn have all got their goal in the opening forty five minutes (the last three in the first twenty minutes actually) and then held on with varying degrees of comfort, although, in truth, it was only Reading before today where the visitors could be said to be lucky.

Although, as I mentioned, City were worth a point today, Blackburn did not need to rely on Reading like luck for their three points because they defended like a side that had only conceded three goals in their last nine league games before today, getting in important blocks when they were needed and then when the defenders couldn’t repel City’s efforts, goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski was there to foil them with some good saves.

I should say at this stage that I’m unable to provide much of a detailed report of the game because, in truth, I didn’t really see a great deal of it. The game had been switched to a 12.30 kick off so that City would be able to provide a live stream of a match UK based fans would not have been able to watch if it had kicked off at three.

However, even season ticket holders who had already paid the entrance fee for this match so to speak had to pay the £10 fee to get to see the game. I say see the game, but it seems that for many, that was a forlorn hope. When I went to log into my club account a few minutes before kick off, I was greeted by a gateway error message. I gave up after ten minutes of getting that same message every time I tried to log in,  grateful at least that that I hadn’t yet paid the tenner for the viewing pass, but I understand that there were plenty who had and it seems that City will have a lot of apologising to do and decisions to make regarding supporters who had, in effect, paid to watch this game twice and were let down on both occasions.

Of course, you have to feel sorry for City in one regard in that the kick off time change and the need to change streaming arrangements were only needed because of the Welsh Government’s decision last month to ban crowds for indoor and outdoor sporting events.

For myself, I used a dodgy, non official, stream to attempt to watch the match, but, apart from the last twenty minutes or so of the first half, the constant buffering meant that I missed as much of the action as I saw.

The stream worked for the few seconds leading up to the goa though, but I still don’t know how Joe Rothwell was put into the huge amount of space he had in the area in front of our back three because I haven’t seen the part of the build up. From there, it was a repeat of what we’ve seen so often this season as an opposing player scores from around twenty yards while not being closed down by any of our team. This one came courtesy of a classy side footed effort which started outside the goal but curled back enough to find the net.

So, credit to Rothwell and perhaps to one or two of his team mates for playing him into the area from where he was able to go on and score, but I was still left wondering why he had all of that room and then was not closed down by a retreating Aden Flint who seemed to me to be doing nothing more than offering Rothwell an aid when it came to measuring up his shot in terms of where he needed to put it.

However, I read Wales Online and listen to the match commentary on the club website through that dodgy link and Flint gets credit for showing Rothwell “the angle” whatever that means! Indeed, the newspaper website even says Alex Smithies was to blame for the goal. Now, I am a bit of an old fogey and the game has changed a lot since I first started watching it, but I don’t get how and when centrebacks retreating away to keep a gap of five to ten yards from an advancing opponent became good defending rather than bad defending – similarly, I’m not sure when it became the case that goalkeepers are to blame for not keeping out the sort of shot Rothwell came up with today.

It would be wrong to say that was it as far as Blackburn were concerned as an attacking force, but there wasn’t a great else from them besides that. However, although Steve Morison talked about us playing well up until the final third today, that really only shows how easy we are to score against when you think about it. We’ve now had more than five months of the season and, criminally, we’re still only on one clean sheet kept – I’m sure I’ve said this before on here, but the more I have to say it, the more likely it is to come true – unless we start keeping clean sheets and stop losing at home, we’re going down.

One final thing about our defending today, I’ve been critical of Curtis Nelson over the past few months, but I thought he played as well as I’ve seen him all season today and would make him our man of the match.

As it turned out, Nelson came as close as anyone to scoring for us today with headed chances from set pieces. That revolving circle on my television screen to which I direct no end of abuse meant that I didn’t see the first one, but the second one (from a Joe Ralls corner) drew the best of Karminski’s saves. Sub Isaak Davies also hit the woodwork (in truth, that sounds better than it actually was though, because it was the outside of the post from a cross which was more an attempt to get a corner than anything else). Apart from that, it was a story of Blackburn blocks more than anything else, notably from a well struck Will Vaulks shot in the first half and a Ralls volley after the interval which he caught perfectly.

City dominated possession, I’ll say that again, City dominated possession, but their 66/34 advantage only served to emphasise a common failing when they do have over, say, fifty five per cent of the ball, because it only tends to emphasis their lack of creativity more. Ryan Wintle slotted into that central three pretty seamlessly and my early impression is that he helps to improve us in that area, but only because he does much the same as most of the players we already have in that area, just that little bit better.

New loan signing from Leeds Cody Drameh made a good impression in the first half and was quieter after the break, while I thought Perry Ng at left wing back improved on his recent showings on his more favoured side.

Our manager had a point about our play in the final third, but I thought he didn’t help our cause by taking off Mark Harris and I would have liked to have seen him having a chance leading the line with Davies coming on for the hard working, but ineffective, James Collins instead.

To finish on today’s game, referee Matt Donahue somehow saw fit to issue eleven yellow cards, seven to Blackburn, four to City, in an encounter that was never dirty. Two of them were to Blackburn right wing back Ryan Nyambe, the first for dissent and the second a harsh one for a foul on Ng.

To be frank though, the dismissal didn’t do City much good. Blackburn dug in and looked to play on the break more, which meant more possession for opponents they knew would struggle to create chances.