Koge 2 - 2 Cardiff City. Full match report.

Last updated : 21 July 2003 By Matt Gabb

Earnie scored what can only be described as a fantastic goal, and City's second came from a move containing the most passes I think I've ever seen us put together.

The day started early for the bulk of the 1927 club contingent, with a 06:50 flight out of Heathrow to Copenhagen. Fortunately we were booked with SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) rather than the cowboys of British Airways and there were no problems. For reasons whch still aren't clear, the game was switched from Koge's home base some 38 km south of Copenhagen, to the small town of Hollviken in Sweden some half an hour south of Malmo.

A train from Copenhagen Airport to Malmo across the bridge, which allowed for some frankly fantastic views, followed by a bus into Hollviken saw us arrive in the town at 12.00. The use of different currency in Denmark and Sweden caused much confusion, given they are both called Kroner and worth approximately the same.

The only pub in the town was the Double Diamond pub “The William Shakespeare” (!), which bizarrely had a beach volleyball court out in the beer garden. Fair play to these guys, midday on a Saturday in the baking sun and they are out drinking and playing volleyball and all this at four pounds a pint. What they made of us I have no idea, especially the bus full of Swedish people watching us have our picture taken by a road sign.

The approach to the stadium involved a further bus ride and the ground was as picturesque as you can imagine. The ground had no real stands - just a small one on the side, but had a club house at one end , a windmill in one corner, and the flags of Sweden, Denmark and Wales flew behind the goal. Around fifty to sixty Bluebirds fans were in attendance, and the barbecue and beer tent did a roaring trade.

It was a scorcher of a day and without any cover there were more than one or two examples of sunburn come the evening.

City lined up 4-4-2 in the new home kit with none of the new signings in evidence:

Alexander, Weston, Barker, Whalley, Prior, Gabbidon, Bonner, Kavanagh, Campbell, Earnshaw, Boland.

Cardiff started slowly, letting Koge take the initiative and were one-nil down within 15 minutes after Boland tangled with a Danish attacker and gave away a penalty. This was cooly converted and we were behind. Things started to change as the Bluebirds started passing the ball and finding space out on the wings, with Barker attacking well down the left with Whalley directing operations in the centre of midfield. The equaliser when it came was an absolute peach. A cross from the right from Boland was caught perfectly by Earnshaw who belted the ball past the Koge keeper into the top corner. It was simply brilliant and it was a shame no tv cameras were there to capture the moment.

Joe Royle, Jim Magilton and the Ipswich players who had come along to watch the game were quickly reminded by the City fans that they couldn't afford him. The tractor boys are also over in Scandanavia for a similar tour to us. They all left at half time as clearly the quality was just too high for them...

City grew in stature as the half went on and could have gone in ahead if the offside flag hadn't popped up on a couple of occassions.

Half time 1-1

The highlight of the day (and the trip for that matter), was the introduction of a certain member of the Thames Valley Bluebirds onto the pitch during the break. Given the casual nature of the day, at half time fans were allowed onto the pitch to have a kick around.

This nameless individual picked up a stray football near the half way line, and after a mazy run beating the Koge full back warming up in the penalty area, set himself to shoot. Unfortunately the run appeared to have taken its toll as the ball was sliced wide and in one motion the can of beer in his hand was in the air, as he completely lost balance and landed smack bang on his backside. Classic stuff.

By now the combination of beer and sun was getting to the fans and this was greeted with the biggest cheer of the day.

The second half saw City play some excellent stuff, a Kavanagh header hit the post as the pressure went onto the Danish side. The second goal came on the hour after a flowing move seeing the ball move across the pitch from left to right and back again before being played to Earnie. He beat his man easily on the edge of the box and fired in a shot from 20 yards which cut across the keeper into the corner of the goal. 2-1 to City.

The introduction of substitutes didn't really help things, making City's play fractured and broken from around the 65-70 minute mark. Croft and Gordon came on early on before a flurry of subs saw Vidmar and Maxwell come on too. Gordon could have scored after he cut in from the left but his shot was parried.

Vidmar looked calm and assured and Maxwell looked like he'd had a a good summer. As the back four was reorganising, Koge scored for the second time as they found huge holes in the City rearguard and squeezed the ball inside the far post from close range. Lennie Lawrence was furious and as animated as I have ever seen him during (and after) the match. 2-2 and the match slowed right down as the heat took its toll.

Full time 2-2 and a good work out against the tough tackling Koge side.

All in all an ok start, but after the game Lawrence took his vengeance. He was clearly not happy with the performance of some of the substitutes and gave the team a rollicking there and then out on the pitch. The subs were sent on a long run for miles out away from the pitch and the rest of them received an ear bashing.

From the fans' point of view it was an excellent day out given the superb weather and great hospitality shown by the Swedish and Danish hosts. The night out afterwards was just as good and is the reason this report is late!

The Sunday day time flight back came in over London with excellent views of the home grounds of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Fulham before landing at Heathrow.

Copenhagen is a wonderful place (no pun intended) and the fans over there for the midweek matches can’t fail to enjoy it. The tour continues with a game on Monday night against BK Frem and then off to Malmo on Wednesday to conclude the Scandanavian tour.

External reports
Western Mail
Wales On Sunday
Koge BK Official website (for those with a flair for languages)
Cardiff City FC