Andy Munro watches as the Blues revival continues.
Hardly a world-shattering headline but when you’ve suffered your worst ever home league defeat two weeks beforehand then it’s something worth shouting about.
Cardiff have their own problems, with a Malaysian-inspired identity crisis and a relegation battle with which to contend. However, they are undoubtedly in a better financial state than Blues and have kept a fair number of their Premier League squad, together with a recently-appointed new manager who has a successful track record in the lower reaches. So much so, that they had ex-Blue Tom Adeymi on the bench who was ‘welcomed’ and joyfully serenaded by the Tilton with chants like “You only joined for the money” and so on.
Gary Rowett unsurprisingly kept the same side but, to be frank, the first half was a fairly turgid affair with chances at a premium and neither side taking the game by the short and curlies. Randolph made one excellent save whilst Cotterill went close with an excellent free kick. However, despite not firing on all cylinders, Blues kept a decent shape and looked solid with Morrison again an impressive figure.
Things changed in the second half when, with Cardiff in a slight ascendancy albeit without really threatening, Rowett sent on Thomas and Gray for Shinnie and Arthur respectively. I have to say that Shinniesta seems to polarise opinions and dragged me into a heated debate at half-time. My view is that he’s too lightweight and gets muscled off the ball too much and that his lack of pace doesn’t help. The opposing view is that he’s sheer class, keeps possession well and is a footballing visionary. It’s all about opinions.
Either way, we certainly livened up and should probably have won the game with both the subs causing panic, Gray with his mesmerising skills and Wes Thomas with his power and pace which certainly gave the hardworking Donaldson a hand. We did have the ball in the net, only to be ruled offside albeit by a suspiciously late flag. We certainly weren’t given any favours by the ref, who allowed the Cardiff side to get away with some blatant body checks.
This led to the contratemps involving Wes Thomas and one of their central defenders who took exception to the physical side of things (pot calling the kettle black springs to mind) then sized up and pushed the physically smaller Wes, who retaliated with what could only be described as a tap rather than a slap and the big Cardiff jesse went down like he’d been hit by Mike Tyson in his prime.
All he got was a yellow while Wes got the red. To me, an elbow in the face is a far worse sin and, whilst the ref might have been technically right to send off the Blues player, what sort of example does this set for youngsters in terms of the disgraceful gamesmanship of the Cardiff player? To be frank, on the topic of bad examples, I was so enraged, I felt like running onto the pitch and giving the Cardiff player a proper left hook and saying, “There son, NOW you can roll around.”
Whatever the decision, Blues deservedly held out and our mini-revival continues.