| Cardiff 0 Southend United 1
Championship January 13th 2007
...we're doomed I tell you...
Having not won a game since November and entertaining the worst club in the division, any Cardiff City fan with a bit of history could have told you that today we were bound to lose. And so it came to pass.
Hard to quite put your finger on what is going wrong at the moment, apart from everything. Less than 3 months after we swept all before us,we are now struggling to put away the bottom club in the division.
In the televised game against Southend in September we absolutely slaughtered them, the gulf in class was Grand Canyon-like, a 3-0 defeat could have been 8-0, such was the measure of our superiority.
Today we didn't look like we could beat anyone. Forget automatic promotion, forget the play-offs and get a cold hard dose of mid-table mediocrity - if you are lucky. It is shocking to think what these highly paid prima donnas have done with this lead we had accrued earlier in the season - 6 points clear and a goal difference of +15 on October 15th for those of you with short memories.
We started well and moved the ball about OK in patches, but were unable to make any significant inroads into the Shrimpers' defence. An early head injury to Kev Campbell obviously unsettled us, and it didn't raise the confidence of City fans when 3rd choice striker Campbell was replaced by 4th choice Ferretti.
The boy Ferretti was tip-top in terms of effort and application, but the cutting edge was seriously absent - two strikes on goal was the sum total of his involvement.
Southend were clearly up for it in a larger than large style, and embarrassed Cardiff in front of the usual denuded crowd (a pathetic 13,822). Their goal was a piece of magic, a Freddy Eastwood knockdown walloped past a blameless Alexander on 23 minutes by Lee Bradbury.
It should have been the electric shock up the rear end which City needed to haul themselves out of this post-Xmas languor, but, in truth, the likelihood of scoring diminished with every minute played.
Loovens hit the post early in the first half, and Ferretti did the same in the second (when it would have been easier to score), but apart from that, any serious goal-scoring chances were negligible - Southend threatened to compound our misery in the last ten minutes, but Eastwood placed a right-footed shot wide of the post.
The transfer window remains gapingly open, but whereas our main contenders (Birmingham, Sunderland, Derby) are splashing the cash big-style, thus far we have committed just 350K on Aston Villa's Peter Whittingham.. If next week's EGM does not lead to a mini-splurge in the transfer marketplace, then we can kiss goodbye to a glorious shot at promotion - our best chance for 30 years.
Whittingham impressed on his debut - rushed into the action because of an injury to McNaughton, his passing and movement oozed quality. Elsewhere though, Ledley, McPhail and Scimeca all had poor games in midfield, Flood was eager and mobile but unable to make the last pass count. Chopra ran around a lot, but was again largely ineffective.
Trying to put a positive spin on today's pathetic performance, we are 8th in the table (just), only 3 points behind 4th placed West Brom.
Oh, and it didn't rain...
Paul Davies © 2007. Photos ©Paul Davies.
"We defend as a team and attack as a team but the quality in the last third was poor.
We've got to keep working hard and believing we can do it. Our strikers need to start picking their socks up and start banging them in again.
There's no point putting balls in the box if there's no-one on the end of it. We had enough chances but we've had a lapse of concentration at the back and a sloppy goal but we should still have gone on and won.
We're still three points off fourth spot after a dreadful run in terms of winning games and we're still hanging in there "
Dave Jones, Cardiff manager.
Cardiff: Alexander, Gilbert, Purse, Loovens, McNaughton (Whittingham 52), Flood (Glombard 82), McPhail, Scimeca, Ledley, Chopra, Campbell (Ferretti 26).. Subs Not Used: Forde, Johnson
Southend: Flahavan, Hunt, Barrett, Clarke, Hammell, Gower, Maher, Guttridge, Campbell-Ryce (Hooper 68), Eastwood (Francis 85), Bradbury (Harrold 86)
Subs Not Used: Welch, Sodje.
Goals: Bradbury 23.
» BBC report
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