Cardiff City res 1 - 0 Bournemouth res

 

Allison, Darlington, Anthony, Parslow, Jacobson, Easter, Taylor, Khalil, McDonald, Fleetwood (Corcoran), Ferretti (Robinson)

Both teams were similar in that they featured ten youngsters and one very experienced player - in City's case it was Jermaine Darlington, who must be ten years older than the rest of the side, while Bournemouth had keeper Neil Moss (who played against us in the League Cup last season) and ten others with barely any first team experience between them.

It was hard to judge therefore if City were very good in that first half hour or Bournemouth very bad, but, whichever one it was, it was something of a mystery how we only managed the one goal in that time.

The game couldn't have been much more than fifteen seconds old when Andrea Ferretti fired in the first shot at Moss' goal and this set the pattern for much of the first half as the overworked keeper kept the socre down with a series of good saves.

The goal came after about ten minutes - Jamal Easter playing on the right of midfield had already caused problems and sent over some good crosses before he was neatly played into space by Stuart Fleetwood, Easter then put in a low cross which was turned in from about six yards out by Tariq Khalil who has a decent scoring record at this level for a midfield player.

After that Moss foiled Ferretti's cheeky back heel from a Taylor shot, made a fine save from the same player when he was played in by Fleetwood and then when Fleetwood found himself one on one with the overworked keeper his attempt to lift the ball over him was blocked.

Whether it was frustraition at not seeing their smooth approach play better rewarded or not I don't know, but City didn't maintain the standard they had set themselves - there was still the odd flash of good football and scramble in the visitor's goalmouth, but Bournemouth were now getting a foothold in the game as shown by Pitman's feirce drive which flew wide of Allison's goal.

Having said that mind, that was the only occasion on which Bournemouth threatened the City's goal in the first half and in the last five minutes of the half Khalil had the ball in the net again this time from a free kick, but as it had been awarded for an obstruction on McDonald, it was indirect and Moss was able to let the ball go in knowing the goal wouldn't count.

Shortly after that, City were awarded a penalty when they broke from a rare Bournemouth attack and Moss brought Ferretti or Fleetwood down just inside the box (I honestly can't remember who got brought down - I think it was Ferretti, but you have to make allowances for the fact I'm 50 in less than a fortnight!).

Anyway it was definitely Stuart Fleetwood who took the penalty! Fleetwood has missed a few spot kicks lately and I think his effort today reflected that as Moss plunged to his left to make a comfortable save from a low shot which was not hit too well.

Just as with the first team, the City's second string created very little when attacking the Canton Stand End after the break. Moss continued his personal duel with City's front two with a couple of good stops from Fleetwood and Ferretti, but the fluency had long since disappeared from City's play and their frustration was reflected in a series of fouls which eventually saw captain Byron Anthony yellow carded.

Bournemouth still offered virtually nothing going forward, but, at just one down, it only needed one error by the City to get them back on level terms and that really should have happened when Allison's poor clearance went straight to the unmarked Pitman who blazed wide much to the relief of the keeper.

Michael Corcoran and Ian Robinson were given a brief run out towards the end (the first time I had seen either of them play at this level), but there were no signs of further goals and the match finished 1-0 - City had not played that well, but, in truth, they were pretty comfortable winners.

I found it hard to pick stand out players today - so many of the team started well but were unable to sustain their performance for the full ninety minutes. However, I suppose the central defensive partnership of Anthony and Parslow did well because they they kept their opposite numbers very quiet and I thought the central midfield parnership of Khalil and Taylor (for whom this was a new role) maintained their performance that bit better than most of their team mates.