Cardiff City 1 - 2 Ipswich Town
Report by Tim Crompton
Cardiff City needed to pay Ipswich Town back after they spoilt the Ninian Park farewell party, humiliating us with a 3 0 win. That was one of Roy Keane’s first games in charge and he seemed to settle into the job well over the summer, but come the new season and Keano’s men weren’t up for the task, which meant that they came to Cardiff in the relegation zone.
You may or may not of heard but poor Steven McPhail of Cardiff was recently diagnosed with cancer and the crowd showed a good deal of compassion when they started to chant the Irishman’s name at the start of the match. It wasn’t an explosive start, more like a start you see in a long distance race rather than a 100m sprint. Cardiff started the brighter with a good patient build up, until Jay Bothroyd flicked the ball across his chest into the path of Michael Chopra who hit a first time shot high and wide.
The 4th minute saw Ipswich have the first good chance of the game. Peter Whittingham was backing off the Ipswich player who played a deep ball across the box to Jon Walters who was charging into the area. He met the ball with a free header but couldn’t control it, sending it high into the stand. Bothroyd was a livewire in the game and he flicked the ball with the inside of his boot playing it behind the defender while he ran around his front. But the Ipswich man, feeling he was beaten, professionally fouled Bothroyd dangerously close to the left hand side of the penalty area. The free kick was wasted by Chris Burke but he made up for it with a swift counter half a minute later. He played the ball into Bothroyd who produced a low cross which Whittingham met with a volley, almost cracking the bar in two.
Whittingham repeated the feat on the 13th minute, but this time in-form Richard Wright pushed the ball onto the bar, conceding a corner. The corner produced another half chance for the Bluebirds with Gabor Gyepes in for the injured Anthony Gerard heading the ball wide. Cardiff were playing well with good patient build ups, but they would always try and play a through pass, which was usually being over hit at this point. The 15th minute saw one of these passes succeed and Chopra was through. His angle was tight, but he managed to slip the ball past the keeper, only for it to be knocked behind for a corner by Ipswich’s Damien Delaney. They tried a training ground move from the corner, with Mark Hudson making a run to the near post, but his header was blocked.
Cardiff kept with the patient build ups and the game became quiet for a while until Richard Wright mysteriously pulled a hamstring after picking up an over hit pass. This forced Keane into an unwanted change, bringing on ex-Cardiff player Arran Lee-Barrett on the 24th minute.
The game was quiet for 12 minutes with neither team producing any clear chances, until David Marshall played the ball high to Bothroyd, who headed onto Chopra. He then glanced his header into the path of Whittingham who stung the back of the net, with a smashing volley that could have ripped the net in two. The ball hadn’t touched the floor since it left Marshall’s hands in the Cardiff goal.
Ipswich threatened immediately, but a rush save by Marshall gave them nothing but a corner. This left Marshall with a similar injury to Wright and he was subbed off at half time for Peter Enckelman. This left us vulnerable in the last 7 minutes of the first half. But neither team produce a clear chance, letting the first half finish as slow as it started.
Over the first half Cardiff had passed the ball well and had managed to score a well created goal. Ipswich had threatened from the odd set-piece but bar the one chance that Marshall saved, the Cardiff defence was looking solid.
I think the second half was the worst I have seen in all my time as a football fan.
It was passionless, flat, dull, uncreative, unimaginative, talentless and boring. I think a few other words could describe it but I don’t think they’re suitable for theSprout. Overall it was completely two-dimensional. Cardiff lacked everything, thinking of it now I can’t really remember if anything actually happened. I would consult my notes but that will just make me depressed. So I’ll tell you about the goals.
Ipswich’s first came from a long cross. The ball soared over the Cardiff defence straight to an unmarked Walters, who had time to control the ball with his chest and drill the ball past Enckelman. The goal was so easily conceded it was frightening. Walters couldn’t have been given more space by the Cardiff players, it was as if he had rolled around in sewage and the City players were too scared to go near him.
Then after what looked like the start to a bad Christmas panto Ipswich took the lead. Substitute Jonathan Stead controlled the ball in the box and managed to release his shot before Hudson could get a proper block on it. Unfortunately the ball did hit the Cardiff captain and deflected inside the near post, past the scrambling form of Enckelman.
Cardiff were poor, not one of them put their foot on the ball. Not one of them took control of the passing. Not one of them took control of the match. And it’s not as if Ipswich were too good for us to be able to control it. They were just as bad. In the middle of the half, it was as if both sides were saying, “No, no you can win!” “No, I won last time it wouldn’t be fair!”
Roy Keane managed to win it for his team, bringing on the goal scorer Stead and Alan Quinn. These players provided fresh legs and a fresh touch which edged the game for Ipswich. Cardiff need to improve because that was the sort of form you see in the lower leagues and not the form of a team tipped for promotion. Dave Jones needs to learn how to make impact substitutions, which can change the game if it needs changing.
For info on sports organisations operating in Cardiff, click here.