I’ll start with the Under 21 match against Colchester. Going into the fixture, City were two points behind leaders Swansea, but had played three fewer games – unfortunately, they blew the first of them by losing 2-0 to a visiting side that spent much of the time defending, but City missed some good chances and their poor final ball meant that Colchester were always in the game – it could be said that they deserved the win because of their better finishing.
The first half was something of a non event with a young City side finally warming to their task in the ten minutes before the break when Tyler Roche had a shot turned aside by the Colchester keeper on his near post, the largely anonymous Guido Burgstaller was also foiled by the keeper as he moved on to a lovely through ball by captain Tommy O’Sullivan and, following a swift, O’Sullivan inspired, counter attack, Deji Oshilaja fired high and wide having done well to control Burgstaller’s cross.
The second half provided far more in the way of entertainment, with nearly all of City’s chances falling to Danny Johnson – the striker, who has been in such good goalscoring form lately, was unlucky a minute from time when his well struck shot from eighteen yards rebounded off the upright, but he should have buried the chance he had from about five yards out when O’Sullivan’s poor corner somehow found it’s way to him on the far post and he didn’t look too comfortable when he had to shoot with his right foot after being given a run in on goal in the inside left channel.
On both of those latter two occasions, the Colchester keeper was forced into decent saves, but you felt Johnson could have done better with what were very presentable chances. The same applied to Roche when he shot wastefully high after a good run by sub David Tutonda, while another sub, Gethyn Hill, was more unlucky when he flicked a Kane Owen volley from another O’Sullivan corner just wide.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though by any means, Ben Wilson was forced to tip over a long range shot by the visitors left back and then made the save of the match to deny one of their subs, Conor Hubble. However, he was helpless when Hubble scored from the edge of the penalty area with ten minutes to go and then, seconds after Johnson had hit the post at the other end, he was beaten again when he parried a shot into the path of another sub, Nnamdi Nwachuku who scored easily.
Perhaps City were a little unlucky to lose, but they were some way below their best and, apart from their 3-0 win over a very young Bristol City side, the Under 21s seem to have a big problem scoring goals at Cardiff City Stadium this season – they’ve only managed two in their five other matches there and one of those was a penalty. One last thing, like all City sides below first team level in the last decade or so, the Under 21s always try to play a passing game by building from the pack – given the thud and blunder stuff we’ve become used to seeing at first team level lately, all we seem to be doing is making it harder for our youngsters to break into the first team because it plays a brand of football they aren’t familiar with.
Just a few words about transfer dealings. It’s being reported that Millwall left back Scott Malone has agreed terms with the club and is having a medical today before finalising a £100,000 move, Chelsea youngster Islam Feruz is training with City ahead of a possible loan move and we are being linked this morning with Rotherham’s experienced striker Alex Revell who played for Russell Slade at Leyton Orient and, I believe, at Brighton.
Finally, there was what might just be a very important statement on the club’s website yesterday. Hardly surprisingly, this news of a meeting with supporters this week at Vincent Tan’s behest has led to speculation about a possible return to blue – although the statement talks of “a number of topics in relation to the Club.”, the overwhelming priority for those supporters representatives attending surely has to be the nonsensical rebrand we’ve had to live with for the past two and a half seasons.
The cynic in me thinks that, with season tickets to sell soon and plans for demonstrations by supporters planned during and before upcoming home matches, the club will try to soft soap people with vague promises of more consultation regarding the rebrand in return for us all being good boys and girls and buying our season tickets like we normally do.
I’ve lost most of the trust I had in those running the club over the past two and a half years and let’s not forget that only twelve days ago, the man who now wants to consult with supporters was saying
“Cardiff will stay red and we hope the fans will think carefully and support the club so that we can get promoted to the Premier League”
while talking about Cardiff fans not having kept their end of some mythical bargain he believed he had struck with them – how does any of this chime with
“We care about our fans and their views are important to us.”?
However, although I think it’s only natural that many City fans will share my misgivings, this is an offer that I believe should be taken seriously – I’ve seen it argued by some (not many mind) that there is nothing to be gained by attending such a meeting, but just think of the field day the club would have if they were given the chance to tell all and sundry “we were prepared to talk, but they didn’t even want to listen to what we had to say”.
Apparently invitations have been sent out to more than forty people to attend the meeting. That seems about twenty five too many to me and there has to be a chance that the whole thing will descend into shouting matches between supporters as the club representatives look on in amused silence. I’d like to think though that those who are genuinely there representing other supporters (e.g. the Trust representatives) will be able to make themselves heard as opposed to those usual suspects who seem to think people turn up just to listen to them represent themselves – this should be treated as an opportunity and there’s going to be plenty of unhappy supporters if that opportunity is blown because a few people thought their ego was more important than trying to get Cardiff City back to being the club that most of us loved so much.