Andy Munro reports from Blues’ draw with Cardiff City.
First the good bit, which is that Blues completely dominated the first half and should have been out of sight. Bela was a real handful, we bossed midfield and the defence looked solid with Roberts restored to the middle of the back four.
We hit the crossbar through Belingham’s superlative strike and only a brilliant save by the Cardiff keeper kept us from increasing the lead. A lead, incidentally, that came thanks to a goal scored by young Jude on his return to the side.
However, Blues being Blues it seemed likely that failure to capitalise on that first half superiority would come back to haunt us, and so it proved. It was equally obvious that an ex-Millwall manager like Harris would read the riot act at halftime and predictably Cardiff started the second period like men possessed. Unfortunately, we looked complacent and unable to go up a gear and one wonders if ‘nice guy’ Pep was too nice to lay it on the line to his team that they would need to fight tooth and nail from the second half off.
Jude looked a bit fatigued and Sunjic was having a mare on his return. Up front the Juke was getting no change from a rumbustious Cardiff defence who also decided to give Bela a buffeting and thanks to a poor referee they got away with it. In fairness, the Juke nearly gave us an undeserved lead when his excellent header was parried by the opposition keeper but it is perhaps telling that we probably only put across a couple of decent crosses all day.
Once Cardiff equalised, it was a matter of hanging on but yet again Pep should have made changes earlier to both set Cardiff different problems at the back (Montero anyone?) and stiffened up a midfield that was being outbattled and over run.
In the end it wasn’t a disastrous result but not the best either.