Blackburn Rovers 3 Cardiff City 2. Match Report
When the final whistle blew at Ninian Park on our 1-1 draw with Blackburn, I can’t say I was too disappointed to be going to a replay. A new ground for most, and we were still in with a chance of progressing. It is a long drive up there, around 220 miles, and around 1000 City fans made the trip. The home crowd was dented by the expensive ticket prices and in the end there were less than 10,000 in the ground to see the game.
City fans were allocated the Fernhurst pub over the road from the away end. The staff had done plenty to make City fans welcome and the place was absolutely packed once all the coaches arrived. The spectre of old chairman Jack Walker looms large over the town, with the road by the ground being renamed in his honour, and there is a pub bearing his name too.
Ewood Park is a good Premiership ground. Large double tier stands behind each goal, and down the left hand side of the pitch as we looked. An older single tier stand adorns the opposite side. Not that they are ever filled that often these days.
City fans were in great voice and made all the atmosphere, there was barely a peep from the Rovers fans all evening.
The Bluebirds side showed only one change from the team that earned a draw at Leeds on Saturday, with Alan Lee replacing the injured Cameron Jerome.
(4-4-2) – Warner; Weston, Gabbidon, Collins, Barker; Macanuff, Kavanagh, Inamoto, Langley; Thorne, Lee.
City turned out in their black and yellow third kit (which may as well be our second kit for all the use the red kit gets). Blackburn in their traditional blue and white halves.
Blackburn started the better as City found it difficult to settle, and our cup hopes took an early blow when Rovers took the lead. A neat move on their right saw Thompson in space on the edge of our box, and he finished well with a low drive across Warner into the bottom corner. 1 – 0.
City didn’t lose heart though, and got straight back into the game with a series of attacks. Kavanagh looked up for it, and Thorne was more involved than usual. When the goal came it was through some fantastic interplay between Macanuff and Langley on the left side of the box, with JOBI MACANUFF firing home left footed from the angle to bring the Bluebirds back into it before the half hour. 1 – 1.
Things seemed to be looking up for us, but we weren’t destined to be level pegging at the interval. The impressive Thompson put a cross in from the right, which was missed by everyone and somehow bounced over Warner into the far side of the net. It looked dreadful, a real mess of a goal, and both defenders and goalkeeper should be looking hard at themselves. 2 – 1 to Blackburn and that’s how it stayed until half time.
The second half saw City shooting towards the Darwen End of the ground where the massed Bluebirds fans were sitting (or standing). Before we even got into our stride the game was ultimately put beyond us as Pederson sidefooted home from close range to make it 3 – 1 to the Premiership outfit. In the past this would have seen us capitulate, but we seem to be made of sterner stuff these days, and really gave it a go after that goal. Kavanagh got on the ball a lot more, and Langley and Macanuff looked dangerous down the flanks.
We gave ourselves every chance within minutes though, as we got a goal back through an unlikely source. A Kavanagh free kick from the right was floated into the box, and after a scramble the ball was in the net. JAMES COLLINS got the last touch. My first thought was that it was handball but clearly the referee didn’t see it as the goal was allowed to stand, and there was still over half an hour to play. 3 – 2.
City were forced into making changes, Weston and Thorne going off to be replaced by Vidmar and Campbell. As we pushed for an equaliser, the game got stretched and we were nearly punished at the back on a couple of occasions.
We did however have chances, an Alan Lee header and most notably Langley managed to shoot over from close range when it looked easier to score.
Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t too be and the FA Cup is over for us for another season, and it was a long drive home. Getting back at 1.30am then in work for 8 really is hard work. Time to concentrate on the league (!) with the visit of Burnley on Saturday.
Report from FootyMad
Two goals from David Thompson, his first in 18 months, and a third in three games for Morten Pedersen, ensured Blackburn a safe passage through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
After seeing off the stubborn challenge of Cardiff City in the third round replay, Rovers will now entertain Colchester United.
But Rovers made life difficult for themselves with a poor performance in front of a crowd of just 9,140.
They made the perfect start with a glorious goal after just ten minutes, Thompson hitting his first-time shot beyond Tony Warner after good link-up play between Lucas Neill and Paul Gallagher.
Rovers had further chances to extend their lead, not least a shot from Pedersen that was tipped over by Warner, before Cardiff drew level in the 25th minute.
The Blackburn defence was caught sleeping and Jobi McAnuff nipped in to fire a shot beyond Brad Friedel.
Seven minutes later Rovers were back in front when an attempted cross from Thompson beat the Cardiff defence before bouncing over the stranded Warner.
When Pedersen got on the end of a cross from Neill two minutes into the second half to make it 3-1 the tie looked over.
Cardiff though had other ideas and when James Collins scored at the second attempt in the 58th minute it was game on.
Richard Langley wasted a great chance to pull the Welshman level in the 73rd minute when he blazed over the bar from six yards and substitute Tony Vidmar also came within inches of a spectacular leveller late on.
Blackburn responded and it took a superb save from Warner to keep out a hat-trick attempt by Thompson in stoppage time.