Capital cracker finishes all square


Embed from Getty Images

Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers provided a lively encounter in the Welsh capital in an incident packed contest.

The resulting 2-2 draw now looks likely to keep both of these famous old clubs in the Championship for another season.

Mick McCarthy made four changes from the Cardiff side thumped 5-0 by Sheffield Wednesday in the Bluebirds’ last outing, Josh Murphy’s return in attack being the most noticeable adjustment perhaps.

Rovers almost grabbed an instant lead through a sharp drive from Adam Armstrong before Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore had the visiting defenders scuttling in response to his meandering surge into the heart of the Blackburn penalty area.

The tall Bluebirds striker was a constant threat but it was his fellow Wales star Harry Wilson who caused most animation on 19 minutes, latching onto a through ball before rounding the visiting keeper Thomas Kaminski outside the penalty box. The Belgian stopper was lucky to see only a yellow card for the blatant challenge inflicted on the young Welshman.

A neat inter-change between Moore and Wilson almost led to a stunning opener but the increasingly influential Wilson fired narrowly over. Referee Mr Simpson had spotted an infringement in favour of the home side though, and that man Wilson touched the resulting free kick back for another Wales star, Will Vaulks, to fire gleefully home on 27 minutes. Cue the Vaulks somersault celebration.

Cardiff’s high energy, pressing game was asking real questions of the visitors, with Perry Ng and Tom Sang bringing pace down the flanks and young Ciaron Brown showing increasing maturity at the back.

Rovers enjoyed some pressure as the first half ended, leading to an equaliser from Armstrong on 43 minutes. The goal had come distinctly against the run of play though in the face of a confident and determined showing from the home side.

The equaliser clearly galvanised the red-shirted Rovers and Sam Gallagher almost gave them the lead barely five minutes into the restart, first smashing an effort against the woodwork and then blazing narrowly wide moments later. Gallagher was becoming a real influence up front, with his strength and movement. The hungry Armstrong also continued to threaten the home defence.

Cardiff skipper Aden Flint felt the painful effects of a headed block as Rovers sensed blood.

Wilson almost brought the home side back into contention with a sparkling run but it had been a rare forward thrust from the home side since the interval. Joe Ralls replaced the anonymous Murphy on 63 minutes. Bradley Johnson and Barry Douglas both rattled the woodwork for the Lancashire side as the home goal led a charmed life.

As this eventful game ebbed and flowed, it was the turn of the home side to grab a score against the run of play, Joe Ralls settling home nerves with a second goal for cardiff on 70 minutes. A super substitute indeed.

Ralls’ introduction fades by comparison to Tony Mowbray’s response to going behind though, as the visiting manager made an amazing tactical reshuffle on 77 minutes, replacing five players in one go as Johnson, Gallagher and others all left the field. Few in the press box had seen such a switch before.

It really was all happening now, as the dazzling Wilson tried an audacious chip on the visiting keeper from within his own half, only for the Belgian to stab out a hand and divert the cheeky effort to safety.

As this exciting clash reached its crescendo, the impressive Armstrong poked home an equaliser for the away side with his 21st league goal of the season on 90 minutes.

Wales-regular Johnnie Williams replaced Wilson to become the 29th player to take part in this eventful match, though his introduction had no impact on the end result as both sides ultimately shared the points. One sensed that Mowbray was happier with this outcome than McCarthy.



About Author

Comments are closed.