Cardiff City res 0 - 1 Swansea City res

Last updated : 24 November 2004 By Michael Morris
Report from Paul Evans

This afternoon I watched another game where a Cardiff City team served up ninety minutes of punchless dross and lost at home without scoring. The difference this time though was that it was the reserves that did it! To be fair to our second string, for a year or so they have played good football in home games and been involved in some decent matches, but today was as bad as anything the seniors have come up with when you consider the circumstances the game was played under.

Firstly, it was a very inexperienced Swansea side that only had goalkeeper Brian Murphy with any significant first team experience and secondly, they had to play the last hour with ten men after right back Jacob Guy was red carded.

There was no Peter Thorne and Richard Langley in the City line up which, I assume, means that they are out of the running for Saturday at QPR. Andy Campbell and Rhys Weston were playing though as were Anthony, Thomas, Fish and Jerome who have all featured in the first team this season while there was what I am pretty sure was a first appearance at this level for Craig Attard in goal.

For twenty minutes, you would never have guessed how the game was going to end up. After Pritchard threatened early on for the jacks, City completely took over with Danny Thomas hitting the bar with a tremendous snapshot from twenty five yeards, Murphy making a great save from a Jerome header, Jerome inches from connecting with a Campbell cross and numerous other close shaves for the visitors defence.

However, the City storm started to blow itself out midway through the first half and after that it became the sort of game that regulars at Ninian Park have become all too familiar with this season as a City side runs out of ideas and invention and a feeling of inevitability descends that it is going to be yet another nil!

Swansea were competing far better, but hardly threatening when the game took what should have been a decisive shift towards the City when Guy was given a poor pass and lunged into Kirk Huggins in a bid to retrieve the ball. It looked a nasty tackle as both players flew in for the ball, but I must admit to being surprised when referee Cordy (he and his linesmen certainly gave some interesting decisions!) produced a red card.

City just seemed to think that vistory was a certainty after that, but did themselves no favours by doing little to make their numerical advantage count. A clever Nicky Fish pass put Thomas through and he took the ball around Murphy, but, in doing so, was forced wide and his effort was blocked with Jerome unable to force the rebound home.

Goalless at half time it may have been, but you still had the feeling that if the City could get one, more goals would follow, however, the second period proved very disappointing.

Michael Parkins turned the game with Cheltenham three weeks ago when he came off the bench - he was brought on after about fifty minutes today, but, this time, there was to be no repeat performance as he was unable to rise above the mediocrity that engulfed the team.

There were only two chances worthy of the nsme created after the break by us - firstly, Campbell had a good chance about 15 yards out but mishit his shot which fell to Jerome who knocked it wide when he should have done better and then Rhys Weston fired an angled shot past Murphy but also past the far post.

At trhe other end, the jacks rarely threatened, but, somehow, you could sense that, if a goal was going to be scored, it would be them who got it and that is what happened about midway through the half when Pritchard found himself in the clear and lobbed the ball over the helpless Attard and into the net. Pritchard may or may not have been offside - it looked like a touch and go decision to me, but he was up front on his own with three City defenders not too far away from him and you have to question the defending in such circumstances.

After that, the game died a death with the jacks comfortably holding on to their lead against some uninspired and predictable attacking and, although City undoubtedly had the better chances, Swansea probably deserved their victory because they defended resolutely and seemed to want the win more than us.

After the debacle against Preston, it would be nice to say that there were players in the reserves banging down the door to get into the team for Saturday, but there weren't. Of the two experienced campaigners, Andy Campbell's performance mirrored that of the side with a bright and lively twenty minutes followed by seventy minutes of anonymity, while Rhys Weston did better than Campbell in my view, but, surely, not enough to displace Darren Williams.

Of the rest, I thought Nicky Fish playewd well until he was taken off early in the second half and replaced by Parkins. Given our performance in central midfield on Friday, I wondered if this was a sign that Fish may be in the running for a place at QPR, but as he was given an ice pack on coming off which he was applying to back of his leg, I assume he had a knock.

The only other player I would mention was Anthony Taylor on the right who consistently had the beating of his man - most of the good things City did today seemed to come through Taylor.

That's it though I'm afraid. At the moment, Cardiff City have too many players looking sorry for themselves in my view. Confidence (particualarly in front of goal) is very low and it is begining to look more and more like a bleak winter coming up for City fans.