Cardiff City res 1 - 1 Bristol Rovers

Last updated : 03 November 2005 By Paul Evans

A few years back I can remember City reserve teams chock a block full of first teamers being easilly turned over by young Bristol City and Swansea teams on successive Wednesdays and that experience taught me that, for all sorts of reasons, you do not get first team levels of performance from reserve sides featuring lots of senior players.

So it was today that a City team featuring eight players who have played in competitive games this season were held to a 1-1 draw today by a Bristol Rovers side previously without a point in the reserves league who themselves featured five first teamers.

To be fair to the City side there was no lack of effort on their part, but it just did not happen for them as stubborn opponents grew in confidence to gain a hard earned but somewhat lucky point.

With Paul Parry (apparently fresh from driving back from Norwich overnight!) putting City in front early on, he and Ardley constantly getting to the bye line and the Rovers rearguard struggling to cope with Alan Lee, it looked for a while like we were on for a hatful of goals. However, despite the domination, there wasn't too much in the way of an end product and, gradually City began to get a bit careless and Rovers were able to get a foothold in the game.

However, apart from a header by Haldane after a neat move which beat Margetson but flew wide, the visitors didn't threaten too much, but, then again, neither did the City really - Lee had a shot deflected over after a clever Ardley pass had set him up and Parry fired wide from the edge of the box but it remained 1-0 at the break.

To be honest, the first half passed me by a bit because I spent most of the first half listening to a bunch of Rovers fans behind me gossiping about their past, present and future managers (apparently Jim Smith is about to be confirmed as their new boss!)!

Phil Mulryne had gone off after about 35 minutes with a knock and with Alan Lee not reappearing after the break, it was good to see Anthony Taylor and Stuart Fleetwood returning to action following that car crash last month as their replacements for a second half which which was more even than the first yet featured far more efforts on goal by the City.

Despite having more of the game Rovers did not cause us any problems for the first quarter of an hour after the restart, but then, completely out of the blue, they drew level. The goal arrived when Ardley swung a corner out to Parry about twenty five yards from goal, Parry's shot was blocked, the ball broke free and all of a sudden, visiting striker Haldane was running clear on goal about fifty yards out and he duly went on to easilly beat Margetson.

Credit to Haldane for showing speed, strength and no little composure in scoring, but it must have taken about ten seconds from us taking a corner to the ball ending up in our net and City had again showed the carelessness that had characterised much of the first half!

Haldane was involved again a couple of minutes later when he was tackled by Byron Anthony and trod on the City players arm as he lie on the floor. There was no suggestion of it being anything other than an accident, but that was no consolation to the City skipper who immeadiately left the pitch with what looked suspicously like a a fracture to his hand.

Curtis McDonald replaced Anthony, but it was Stuart Fleetwood who had the best opportunity to win the game for City when a forceful run by Jermaine Darlington ended with him falling in the box. Although it looked a bit like a dive, the referee pointed to the spot but Fleetwood saw his penalty saved by keeper Horsell as he dived to his left.

By then it didn't come as that much of a surprise that the penalty was saved because Horsell had already made good saves to deny Anthony, Ferretti, Parry and Fleetwood and the Rovers keeper continued his defiance to the end as he foiled Ferretti again, Koskella and McDonald with further smart stops.

With Margetson also saving well from Campbell and Lines there was an entertaining end to the game and those Rovers fans seemed to rate their sides display as better than much of the stuff they have seen from the first team this season! However, City really ought to have won - all I can say is that games of this nature are much easier to accept as long as they happen to the reserves rather than the first team!