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Cardiff 1 Tranmere 1
27th October 2001
Surfing a tsunami of hyperbole coming into this game, the Bluebirds had their pockets turned inside out by a patient functional but completely ordinary Tranmere side.
Three points were criminally pissed away into a golden pot which should be ceremoniously upturned over the head of every one of these under-performing overpaid prima donnas.
Fast-track to the Premiership notwithstanding, the outcome of this game seemed pre-ordained, as City failed to snuff out Tranmere's game fightback, curling up into a ball in the second half when they should have been snarling at the Rovers' jugular.
The first half performance was top-drawer, the 4-3-3 formation enabling the Blues to mount a series of sharp and incisive attacks, Gavin Gordon going close in the very early stages as the home side pressed hard to convert pressure into points.
The breakthrough came at a crucial time, Bowen looping a header over the stranded keeper to light the place up. More of the same was what the punters wanted, but in predictable fashion, City were not up to the task of finishing the job, fannying about when they should have been tearing forward.
The start of a fantastic league run was cruelly hijacked from under their noses as Tranmere nicked a soft goal in the 90th minute.
The CCFC formation and personnel look right, it's now a question of applying themselves to the job and holding a goddamned lead. The substitutions also looked questionable, Disco Des on for the excellent Bowen and a clearly befuddled Josh Low on for Brayson
Mulder and Scully may have to be called in to get to the bottom of the Josh Low mystery, floating about in a completely peripheral fashion as the game thundered on around him, he was so far off the pace it was embarrassing.
The Earnster, perhaps mindful of Corky's draconian wallet-lightening penalties should he indulge in a post-goal celebratory somersault, had his quietest game for ages. Maybe he was still suffering the after-effects of being kicked off the park by Superblob Neil Ruddock last week.
Superb away victories over Swindon and Port Vale have now been overshadowed by a desperately disappointing result which should have been a breeze of a home banker. Another mighty crowd of 13,000 were badly let down today.
Hauling their ragged arses up this table is going to be a stop-start and painful ride. Consistency and ruthlessness need to be mastered well before Christmas if we are to make a realistic push for promotion.
Come on Bluebirds. Wise up !
© Paul Davies 2001