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Cardiff City FC

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 could manage.

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.

The crowd 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 on.

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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