Boro bury the Bluebirds


A confident looking Middlesbrough ultimately proved too strong for Cardiff City in a game which, despite the four goals, rarely set the pulse racing.

New Cardiff City boss Sabri Lamouchi gave a home debut to Sory Kaba. Home fans hoped to see the ball moved forward quickly to him to capitalise on the strength and height of the Guinean star.

Visiting boss Michael Carrick gave a start to former Cardiff star Ryan Giles at left full back.

There was no place in the home XI for Wales Rubin Colwill or Mark Harris – who has been the subject of interest from Blackburn Rovers and others of late.

A healthy away contingent had made the long trip to South Wales. The travelling Teessiders were in fine voice during the opening exchanges.

Neither set of fans had much to cheer about in the opening quarter of an hour though. A single Boro corner was easily dealt with by the home side in a quiet opening to this important game.

Marcus Forss soon put a stop to that though, firing through a crowded penalty area to beat Ryan Allsop with a crisp shot after 17 minutes. A cue for increased volume from the travelling fans.

Jaden Philogene was sent to the deck as the Bluebirds sought an early reply but home side’s lack of a cutting was very evident.

Australian Riley McGee was a hard working influence for the visitors as Boro stifled any fluency from the hosts.

Callum Robinson lifted the mood amongst the home fans though, capitalising on a defensive  slip to set up Sory Kaba for a simple tap-in to bring the game level. Visting keeper Zak Steffan had no chance to prevent the goal.

Cardiff were making their tackles and running count now as the game grew into a much livelier affair. The home fans responded to this enthusiasm with their own repertoire of terrace anthems.

Cameron Archer soon muffled their voices though, capitalising on a shocking misplaced pass from Callum O’Dowda to round Ryan Allsop before slamming the ball home with glee. Replays suggested a strong case for offside but the goal stood.

Cardiff refused to buckle though, with skipper Joe Ralls working hard to make them tick.

Finnish international Forss almost added to Welsh woes in the closing moments of the first half but his cute header struck the woodwork.

Sheyi Ojo was full of endeavour in the second 45 but with Boro also looking slick and dangerous through the eager Forss, this game was finely balanced. McGee continued his dominance.

A curled effort from Robinson could have been better struck before – to the surprise of this correspondent – Lamouchi replaced Ojo and Ralls with Ryan Wintle and Andy Rinomhota after less than an hour.

Cedric Kipre’s header bounced over the bar on 63 minutes but in the main, the home side continued to much in front of goal. A speculative shot from brought gasps from the crowd but in truth, it never looked like hitting the back of the net.

It would be hard to describe the game as exciting, though there was perhaps enough going on to retain the fans’ interest.

A series of substitutions saw Forss depart and Kaba replaced by the even taller Kion Wintle. Perry Ng replaced Mahlon Romeo in another puzzling, like for like, swap.

Philogene epitomised the home side’s efforts: full of effort and occasional moments of eloquence but, in the end, little of any real consequence.

At the opposite end, danger man Chuba Akpom somehow hit the post when presented with an open goal.

Cardiff City announced an attendance of 19,182 for this fixture, though the empty seats suggested that this was an optimistic figure.

The home side continued to press forward yet without any end product to speak of.

Local lad Isaak Davies replaced the hit&miss Philogene with 5 minutes to go. Steffen dealt with anything that came his way with calm assurance.

Man of the Match McGree ended the game as a contest, converting a simple chance in the dying stages to expose even more empty blue seats in the home sections of the stadium as the Cardiff crowd flocked out.


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