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Cardiff City FC - reports and rants   Cardiff 2 Notts County 1
  13th April 2002

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Be still O bluebirds with quickening pulses and fluttering hearts, there will be anxious times ahead over the next couple of weeks, but now is a time for rest and relaxation, the first part of a job expertly accomplished by a team which is roaring ahead of its rivals, fuelled by 5 star rock n roll petrol, with uncut Grade A confidence coursing through its veins.

Despite the scoreline, this was a 2-1 massacre, Notts County put up a game fight but were pummelled into submission by a team which is unrecognisable from the dithering powder puffs of several weeks ago.

The result was never in doubt or danger, and is yet another massive endorsement of the motivational and tactical skills of Lennie Lawrence, the team having won 9 and drawn 3 of the last 12.

This is promotion form, and with a little bit of fortune a final day victory at Tranmere (who are owed some payback after dumping us out of the Cup) will seal third place and a second leg semi at Ninian.

The identity of our play-off opponents is now almost immaterial, there should be no fear of facing Brentford, Stoke, Huddersfield or even Reading - on their current run Cardiff look capable of beating anybody.


Yesterday's victory was all the more impressive given County's recent record of six victories and two draws, and also the fact that prior to the game they needed three points to ensure survival. On top of this, Cardiff were missing the crucial talents of Campbell, Legg, Gabbidon and Bowen, and young Earnshaw is still a yard or three off full match fitness.

To compensate for this, Leo Fortune-West continues to play out of his skin, a range of deft touches and flicks added to his muscular hold-up play. Rhys Weston has been transformed as a player, solid at the back and now confident enough to surge forward in the style of Mark Delaney.

Perhaps he is finally fulfilling his potential. Peter Thorne's busy performances in "the hole" have started to pay dividends, and Kavanagh was once again an influential presence in midfield, though his corners and free-kicks were woefully off-colour.

A huge crowd of 17,000 pumped up the atmosphere for the last home match before the nail-biting really begins, and the noise inside the ground as victory hove into view was something awesome to experience. This crowd are the best, and with all four sides of the ground roaring the team on, Ninian Park was a very special place to be.


Cardiff being Cardiff, a certain amount of suffering had to be endured before Scott Young got the party started. After some significant possession, County deservedly went ahead via a soft goal which Alexander should really have covered at the near post.

The Blues came back into the game and had several chances to equalise before half time, the closest being a rocket of a shot from Earnshaw which rattled the cross bar and bounced on the line before being cleared. After the interval the pressure mounted as Cardiff tore into the County defence, desperate to get back on terms.

The goal finally came from battle-hardened Scott Young who stole inside Fortune-West to nod past the keeper. The crowd erupted, the football flowed more freely and the inevitable decider was once again nipped in by Scott Young with fifteen minutes to go.

Thankfully the crowd's common sense and the presence of a large number of stewards ensured that there was no premature end-of-season pitch invasion/celebration, the last thing the club needing now being a punitive fine from the FA or a points deduction.

© Paul Davies 2002

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