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Cardiff City FC - reports and rants   Cardiff 4 Luton Town 1
  Championship, Saturday September 16th 2006


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First off, where were you?

Cardiff City are riding high at the top of the Championship playing the best football seen at Ninian Park for aeons, and still the so-called loyal supporters cannot be bothered to get off their saggy arses and support the boys.

Sleeping giant? I think not - that myth has been well and truly put to bed over the past couple of seasons.

After Tuesday's calamitous self-destructive capitulation at Plymouth (complacency? Bad pint? Darren Purse?), there was serious work to be done at NP to get the CCFC bandwagon back on track.

With the feckless fickle floating voters staying at home in their thousands, today's gate was an uninspiring 14,108, down several thousand on what these heroic footballers currently merit.

With the usual suspects Birmingham, WBA, Wolves, Palace and Sunderland all getting their collective groove back, there was no time for self-pitying post-mortems.

Nothing less than an emphatic win would do today, in the immortal words of Eddie Eddie Eddie May.

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The Bluebirds responded in magnificent style, wiping the floor with a plucky but completely outclassed Luton team. The match kicked off in bright early-season sunshine and the boys in blue ripped into the fleshy underbelly of the hapless Hatters like starved Rottweilers.

Slick up-tempo passing football pulled Luton out of shape within minutes, the breakthrough coming after 10 minutes when a fiercely struck Scimeca header rebounded off the clearly outstretched hand of Luton defender Lewis Emanuel.

Hats off to the linesman who waved his flag furiously to attract the attention of the ref, and after a cursory consultation, the penalty was awarded.

A small delay whilst referee located the red card, and then Darren Purse strode up without fear to strike his penalty none too convincingly past flat-footed keeper Marlon Beresford. Game on.

Ex-Bluebird Richard Langley did everything possible to wind the Cardiff fans up further (his ill-advised blabberfest to Eggo journalist Mark Bloom in the week having already ensured a hostile reception), by complaining to the referee about the penalty decision for a belief-beggaring 2 minutes. Finally, the ref had had enough and waved a yellow for dissent.

Given Tuesday's horror-show, Cardiff were determined not to let things slip, and attacked Luton relentlessly throughout the first half, underlining their advantage with a smoothly placed left footer from Paul Parry after 30 minutes.

To be fair to Luton, they failed to collapse, launching plenty of attacks of their own - chief protagonists being the increasingly fired-up Langley, a very lively Carlos Edwards and the handful of a striker Rowan Vine, who eventually capped a tidy bit of Luton pressure with a ferociously struck shot on the stroke of half time, which left Neil Alexander with no chance.

Darren Purse was clearly at fault for the goal, a lapse of concentration gifting the ball to Langley in a very dangerous position.

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City's second half attitude was peerless, maximising their advantage by pinging the ball over the park, building from deep with classy possession football, shifting up a gear as they approached the penalty box, with Parry causing havoc with his mazy dribbles, Chopra bisecting the defence at will with cleverly timed runs, and Thompson putting himself about with buckets of gusto.

Scimeca in midfield had another titanic man of the match performance. Defence held firm despite allowing the Luton attack too much time and space in front of goal - they had a hat-full of corners in the second half, which they should have converted.

Cardiff made sure of the victory with a brace of second half goals, Chopra making amends for a terrible miss when he was one on one with the keeper, by latching on to a Thompson ball on 58 minutes, then rattling in substitute Kamara's cross on 70 minutes.

The rest of the game was played out at a reduced tempo with more substitutions, Flood and Glombard for Parry and Thompson, the result never in any doubt. Raucous cheers echoed round the ground at the final whistle with news from St. Andrews that Birmingham had been held 2-2 by Ipswich.

Top of the league again, 17 points from 8 matches, 15 goals scored, a goal difference of +7, and it feels good.

Difficult but eminently winnable trip to Southend next Sunday followed by another top 8 clash with old rivals Wolves in front of what will hopefully be a capacity crowd. Should be a belter.

Paul Davies 2006

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It was a difficult game for us and when you get that bit of luck, as we did with the sending-off, then you've got to make sure you use it.

Even at 2-1 up you could feel the nerves jangling but the players kept theirs and that was important.

Every win is satisfying, but it's the manner we had to do it in that was really satisfying for me.

Cardiff manager Dave Jones "

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