Cardiff 1 Brighton Hove Albion 0 (aet)
Carling Cup, August 14th 2007
Clutching my birthday present, a bob bank terrace ticket, I weathered
my way from the pub to Ninian Park through the torrential downpour.
We'd decided that standing on the terrace in such weather would be a
act of lunacy and made the decision to ask the ticket office if please
sir could we go in the Grandstand instead.
After queuing in the rain outside the ticket office the nice lady
inside said that we could and issued us with shiny new Lower
Grandstand tickets at no extra charge. Yay!
Off we went to a part of the ground we hadn't been before the lower
grandstand bar nearest the away fans. After consuming a warm sausage
delicacy known colloquially as a Hot Dog (which ironically was neither
hot nor made of dog) and a alcoholic beverage we made out way to our
seat to be confronted with blue skies and not a drop of rain in sight.
In fact it didn't rain for the entire match so we'd left the pub early
to get wet changing our tickets for no reason. Ho hum!
So the match starts with a fairly strong squad considering that a
number of the first team regulars are missing. Purse, Johnson, Rae,
McPhail, Parry, Feeney and MacLean were all there though.
Cardiff's style play pretty much mirrored the end of last season. Pass
the ball around as much as possible to retain possession. Take it up
to the 20 yeard line, back to the half way line again, back up to the
20 yard line again, cross over to the other wing, take it into the
corner and wallop it into the box to be crowded out by the defence who
had been given all the time in the world to trundle back to defend.
Where are our players in the box, er dunno.
There were about 5 or six shots on the Brighton goal in the first half
all taken from outside the box. Paul Parry's been the only one on
target but in the right place for Brighton's alert goal keeper to
catch with only a tiny bit of trouble.
Chris Gunter ambitiously had
quite a few attempts but unfortunately needs to learn to keep the
altitude down a little. BskyB were no doubt concerned for their
entertainment satellite but lucky he just about missed knocking it out
of orbit. Cardiff's goalkeeper Ross Turnbull meanwhile had little
opportunity to fight his way into a first team place as he had nothing
to do. This remained the case for the entire game.
Half time started with the inimitable Ali reminding the crowd that if
there was no result after 90 minutes we would be heading into extra
time and possibly even penalties. None of us want that he reminded us
so suggested that we support the boys and make some noise.
I moan to a mate about there being a reason I don't normally do
nonsense mid week league cup matches that could go on and on forever
to penalties before remembering the match is my birthday present off
him and continuing with "but I'm really enjoying this one of course as
my ticket has been bought for me".
"You give a mate a free ticket and all they do is moan whinge moan" he
good humouredly replies.
So for the second half the 3700 Cardiff supporters livened up and for
a brief period so did the football. Brighton had the odd cry of
Seagulls! Seagulls! but that was about all their 60 odd supporters
I suspect the message had been for the players as much as the fans as
I doubt that they fancied having to stay late either. It was a kick up
the backside and for the next 15-20 minutes Cardiff went all out on
attack. Parry was working like a demon and for my money was heading
for man of the match.
Even reserve team players like Capalidi were
putting tricky little moves in to send Brighton players skidding past
them. Unfortunately this sustained assault yield little.
noticed the players slipping onto the back foot again and that's when
the crowd truly came alive with unbelievable the grandstand leading
the singing and to the Grange end's delight who began to repeatedly
ask us to sing em another song after song before informing the
Brighton supporters that they could see them holding hands (I
shouldn't smile but it was amusing at the time).
At 65 minutes Feeny, who had worked his socks off to be fair, was
substituted for Mat Green who immediately got stuck in but the result
was pretty much the same.
Not long after we get our first offside call. Yes that's right our
first. That gives you some idea how much we miss the sneaky defence
challenging runs of Earnshaw, Jerome and Chopra. Not until two third
of our way into the game to we try to sneak past the defence with a
run. You'd understand if we were playing with say a lone target man
but we weren't.
After 78 minutes Whittingham (who'd had one Gunter'esk crack at goal
from outside the box) was pulled off for a Ledley who you could see by
the Merecat way he'd been prowling the sidelines had been keen to get
Despite the supporters best efforts (and the players' too I guess) 90
minutes came and went with not a sign of a goal in sight. Extra time
beckoned and the odd supporter started to leave.
So began the first half of extra time with pretty much mirrored the
first half of the match.
For the third and final time the teams change ends and 5 minutes later
Roger Johnston heads the ball smack into the net. The crowd erupts
into cheers of both joy and relief.
I wish I could tell you more about
the goal but to be honest all I remember is the ball hitting the net
and me thinking to myself thank god for that. Penalties had been
looming ominously for quite some time. I'm reliably informed that it
was a McPhail corner that gave lanky Johnston the opportunity to leap
highest and nod it in. I'll take their word for it.
With our lead established Cardiff made their final substitution Parry
for youngster Ramsey.
Scarily for Cardiff Johnston twists his ankle
almost immediately after the substitution and has to valiantly nurse
it for the remaining 10 minutes of the match. Things are tense and
Cardiff are on the back foot.
My second mate reminds me of a similar match last season where goal
keeper Howard mucked something or other up, I cut him off quick saying
"shut up, shut up, shut up" as I just know he going to jinx it for us.
Johnson is announced man of the match as his reward for goal. Its still tense.
The extra time board goes up. 3 minutes to go. Very tense.
What seems like after 4 minutes the play is still going and a wide ball that should have been easily gathered by Ross is instead fumbled for a corner.
I glare meaningfully at my friend. The tension is
unbearable. Luckily its headed away and a little while later the
whistle goes. We all shuffle out with relief that we have been spared
the dreaded penalty shootout.
Marius © 2007.
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