Plenty in the papers. Links to the play off stories.

Last updated : 12 May 2003 By Michael Morris
Thorne: We must finish the job this time around.

CARDIFF CITY goalscoring ace Peter Thorne has urged the Bluebirds to learn from their mistakes last year and complete the play-off job over Bristol City tomorrow night.

Lennie Lawrence's men travel to the Robins' Ashton Gate lair with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Thorne's Ninian Park winner on Saturday.

Thorne describes that goal in The Western Mail today (page 5) as the most special goal of his Bluebirds career so far.

But he stressed it was imprative that City, who have one foot in the Millennium Stadium final, complete the job this time.

Last season the Bluebirds blew a one-goal advantage over Stoke, paying the price for a negative display at Ninian Park.

Thorne said, "We are not going to Bristol looking for a 0-0 this time. We will be looking to score goals there.

"We must not make the mis-take we did against Stoke. We won 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium, but we were too negative in the second game.
Full story.

Gabbidon: It's time for us to stand up and deliver.

CARDIFF CITY will grace the Millennium Stadium for the Division Two play-off final on May 25 - if they repeat Saturday's display at Ashton Gate tomorrow.

City defender Daniel Gabbidon delivered this verdict after the Bluebirds had produced one of their best home performances of the season to beat Bristol City in the first leg of their play-off semi-final.

With 16 minutes left on the clock, Peter Thorne rose above the Robins' defence to head home the only goal of this high-octane clash between two old foes.

It gave the Welsh side their first victory over the Bristol club in 11 years - and it means Lennie Lawrence's men are just 90 minutes away from the Millennium Stadium.

Gabbidon, who, along with his colleagues in defence snuffed out Bristol's much-vaunted forward line of Scott Murray, Christian Roberts and Lee Peacock, has called for "more of the same" tomorrow night when the two sides meet on Robins' home turf for the decisive second leg.

City cross the Severn Bridge clinging to a one-goal lead, but the Wales international insists the Bluebirds will not be going to Ashton Gate to defend that slender advantage.

"If we play at Ashton Gate like we did today, then I'm sure we will go through," said Gabbidon after Saturday's thriller. "If everyone plays to the best of their ability then I have no doubt that we will win the match."

He added, "The second leg is going to be very tough but there is no point sitting back and inviting pressure.
Full story.

Thorne: I feel my play off agony is about to end.

PETER THORNE described his play-off winner against Bristol City on Saturday as "the most special goal of my Bluebirds career".

A crowd of just over 19,000 watched Cardiff City's record signing tower above Robins centre-back Tony Butler to head home the only goal of the gripping first-leg Ninian Park encounter.

"I went mad. I celebrated by taking my shirt off - it's not like me to do that, so that's how much the goal meant to me," said Thorne.

"The fact it came against Bristol City made it special because Cardiff have got a bad record against them. In the build-up to the match everyone was moaning that we never beat Bristol City.

"I would have to say it is the most important goal I have scored for Cardiff - so far.

"When I saw the ball hit the net I just felt relief. Everyone was so nervous.

"We needed something to take back to Bristol. We really did not want to go to Ashton Gate after a 0-0 draw.

"It was a tight game. There were not many chances for either team and that makes my goal even more important."
Full story.

Low: Cardiff made mistake letting me go, I'd love to beat them in the final

JOSH LOW plans to punish Cardiff City for letting him go if he meets his old club at the Millennium Stadium.

Low insists City manager Lennie Lawrence made a mis-take shipping him out to Oldham at the start of the season, and the Wales Under-21 international could exact the ultimate revenge in the Second Division play-offs.

While Cardiff inched towards a final place courtesy of Peter Thorne's first leg semi-final winner against Bristol City, Low was part of an Oldham side that wasted the clearer openings in a high-octane affair at Boundary Park.

Queens Park Rangers will now start favourites to book a place in Cardiff on May 25 but Low says a reunion with his former team-mates is still on.

"We won at Rangers earlier in the season and we need a repeat performance," said Low.

"People will see us as the underdogs because they'll have a full house and it'll a big atmosphere. But we'll be relishing it, so they can say what they want."
Full story.


Scott Murray remains hopeful of being fit for the second leg of Bristol City's play-off semi-final. The winger played the full 90 minutes on a heavy pitch at Ninian Park on Saturday despite being unable to complete a training session all week.

Murray said: "The last 20 minutes my calves were screaming again so I will get a couple of rubs in the next few days and hopefully be fit for Tuesday."

City's top scorer admitted the better side had won on the day but insisted that the tie was far from over, saying: "I think Cardiff have played extremely well and probably deserved to win the game, but it's only half-time and hopefully we can do enough to get through at Ashton Gate.

"The Bristol fans hopefully will get behind us on Tuesday night and they can be an extra man for us."

Midfielder Brian Tinnion was a surprise ommision from the starting line-up with regular full-back Mickey Bell taking the left midfield spot.
Full story.


Cardiff City 1 Bristol City 0 THE mathematics are simple. Bristol City must outscore Cardiff at Ashton Gate tomorrow or spend another season in Division Two.

And Danny Wilson's men will need to display a lot more creative flair than they did at Ninian Park to achieve that objective.

City were solid, as they have been in the two previous meetings with the Bluebirds this season when they triumphed 2-0.

But there was no fortunate penalty award to put them in front on this occasion and Cardiff grew in confidence throughout the game.

"We got what we deserved. We deserved a 1-0 win, not 2-0 or 3-0, but 1-0, and I think that was a fair reflection of the game, " was Bluebirds boss Lennie Lawrence's honest assessment.

The goal that split the two sides by such a slender margin was a defensive disaster for City and after 74 minutes of shutting out Robert Earnshaw and Co.

Skipper Tom Doherty was caught in possession by Earnshaw and the ball was worked wide to the unmarked Willie Boland on the right.

He had time and space to measure a cross into the penalty area, where Peter Thorne out-jumped both Tony Butler and Louis Carey to head home.

"We were unfortunate not to come away with a 0-0, " said City boss Wilson. "We battled well enough but there was a mix-up for the goal and we got punished.
Full story.


Bristol City keeper Steve Phillips has admitted he was surprised to see Cardiff chairman Sam Hammam celebrating after the first leg of their Division Two play-off semi-final. The controversial former Wimbledon owner went onto the Ninian Park pitch to congratulate his players and supporters after they had beaten City 1-0.

But Phillips warned Hammam that the tie was far from over. He said: "I was a bit surprised at that because obviously from the way he looked he thought they had won it and were going to the Millennium Stadium.

"If he thinks that he is barking up the wrong tree to be honest with you because they are going to Ashton Gate and everybody knows how good we are there - they will have some problems on Tuesday.
Full story.


Bristol City need no incentive going into tomorrow night's titanic match. But if they do want a little something extra to fuel their appetite, then the memory of Sam Hammam's celebrations after Saturday's final whistle had brought the curtain down on a dour, edgy contest at Ninian Park, should suffice.

You would have thought the Cardiff chairman had actually completed the job on the day and won promotion, such was his reaction to their 1-0 victory, although perhaps it was more to do with seeing his Bluebirds actually managing a win over City for the first time in his Ninian Park reign.

It is hard to imagine his opposite numbers at Ashton Gate looking so gleeful had they left the field just a goal to the good with an entire second leg to come - away from home - and so much resting on the outcome.

City's ever-present keeper Steve Phillips, who made a vital late save from Rob Earnshaw to keep the score down, was one of those in the travelling contingent to notice Hammam's jig of joy.
Full story.


Danny Wilson believes an "equally intimidating" Ashton Gate crowd can play its part in helping Bristol City claw back their narrow deficit in tomorrow night's play-off showdown with Cardiff. The Robins fell to a 1-0 first leg defeat, courtesy of a 74th-minute Peter Thorne header, in front of a vociferous19,136 Ninian Park crowd on Saturday.

Now Wilson wants the same and more from his club's supporters as City bid to turn Cardiff 's advantage on its head to go through to meet either Queens Park Rangers or Oldham in the Millennium Stadium final on Sunday, May 25.

The manager said: "Cardiff 's fans were very passionate with their support but I am sure it will be like that at our place too.

"Ninian Park is always a tough place to go and, of course, this occasion had a bit more spice about it. But the atmosphere didn't faze us in the least and I thought the boys coped with it brilliantly.

"Now the lads can't wait to get stuck into them tomorrow. At home we know we have it in us to create chances. It's going to be a case of whether or not we can take them.

"Cardiff will feel they are in the driving seat and rightly so.
Full story.