Cardiff City 1 FC Twente 0
Friendly, Ninian Park, 4th Aug, 2007
A lovely sunny day for a friendly and a day where I did something I hadn't done for over 18 years. I paid on the gate. This resulted in my friend and I standing on the Bob Bank Terrace as everywhere else was restricted view or full.
Unfortunately this now means that I have set myself the challenge of sitting in the Spar family stand before Ninian Park is torn down. That will mean have sat or stood in every part of the stadium before its demolished.
The first thing that struck me was the unusually high number of photographers present until I remembered that Robbie Fowler was due to play his first Ninian Park game. He got a warm reception as he came out onto the pitch which he seemed to appreciate.
The squad numbers were called but the new announcer seemed to be having a problem counting from one to 10 ass he missed number 8 and went from 7 straight to 9. Oh he is saving Robbie for last.
I hope he isn't going to do that every game my friend was heard to say when he announced the squad the second time the same way.
We don't want to keep giving him star treatment and kissing his arse all season long or the other players will get pissed off. I had to agree. The new announcer was courtesy of Kiss FM who seem to have done a sponsorship deal with the club. Many were the cries of "He's rubbish, bring back Ali".
So the game begins and FC Twente seem to do a good job of chasing down our players so that they have little time on the ball.
I wondered how long they would keep it up and they kept it up pretty much all game.
FC Twente passed the ball around well in their own half and around the midfield but went to pieces whenever they got near Cardiff's box or corners. Cardiff's play by comparison wasn't as smooth (because of the constant pressure on the ball) but had more evidence of purpose about it.
When Cardiff went for the tackles they invariably won them more times than not and the dutch players went down like sacks of potatoes and the merest nudge more often than not.
At 25 minutes a Cardiff substitution was announced. Someone had taken a small knock and so we assumed it would be them but to everyone's short lived surprise it was Fowler.
They must have booked more press interviews for him than could be handled without an extra 65 minutes I guess. Although its claimed he strained his thigh he didn't exactly limp off.
Warren Feeny came on in his stead and not shortly after slots in a lovely goal from the left that flies clear across the goal and into the opposite side of the net.
The goal came from a Sinclair freekick that curled straight to Feeney that had burst past his markers and if memory serves me correct was struck mid air first time. My first thought was oh no Sinclair's freekick has missed the goal by miles but then I realised it was a set play. If they have been practicing that as a set play well they nailed it on the day.
To be honest the rest of the game was pretty much a no contest with Twente still chasing down the ball but not really that enthusiastic about doing anything with it once they had it and Cardiff pretty much settled back deep to defend their goal lead.
There was a bit of a clash in the FC Twente goal mouth second half that had to be calmed down before punches were thrown but all in all that was the most exciting thing about the second half.
Man of the match wasn't announced. No doubt as the sponsors will have wanted to meet the man who was only on for 25 minutes. For me though man of the match was Trevor Sinclair who looks to have been a great signing for us.
He never stopped putting in full effort, was pacey with a great little flick ons with his head that found the player he wanted.
The added bonus to our past picks for his position is that he is strong and by no means shy of going into a hard tackle and winning it. In fact he put in quite a number of really good tackles.
Ross Turnbull looked good in goal but then he never really had anything to do. Time will tell if we will regret that we gave Alexander his marching orders.
Rae gave a good performance too so it does look that we might just have a stronger squad this season afterall.
Attendance was 8,000 something which is amazingly good for a pre-season friendly. If you removed all the fans with newly acquired kits with Fowler on the back the total would probably dropped to 4,000.
I'd considered it myself but I'm tempted to be different and get a Sinclair shirt.
Marius © 2007
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