After picking up maximum points on the first day of the season against Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City travelled to Brighton hoping to perpetuate the momentum.
However, this game turned out to be very different to the previous game, fans at the AMEX stadium were treated to an exciting, positive Cardiff, in an open and attacking match, with numerous chances falling to both sides.
In an eventful first half a Hudson header was cleared off the line, a spectacular Whittingham free kick was superbly saved by Brighton keeper’ Kuszczak; Ashley Barnes and Craig Noone threatened for the home side. While the best chance of the first half fell to Heidar Helguson. A pin-perfect, lobbed pass from Peter Whittingham released Andrew Taylor down the left, his low cross fell perfectly to Helguson six yards out, who somehow scooped the ball wide of the posts.
The fast tempo of the first half carried over to the second half and both sides created golden chances. Efforts from former Valencia defender Bruno, Craig Noone and LuaLua all came agonisingly close for Brighton, but Bluebird new boy Etien Velikonja nearly won it for Cardiff. After Mason’s volley was well saved, the Slovenian was first to the rebound, but saw his shot gathered into the body of Kuszczak, leaving the score at 0-0. In this lively vibrant encounter it was very much a point well earned for The Bluebirds away from home rather than two dropped.
And so it was on to Ashton Gate and the first Severnside derby of the season. The Bluebirds started the game the brightest – within ten minutes Mark Hudson hit the bar with a ferocious shot, but it was Bristol who had the upper hand and who took the lead in the thirty-third minute with Stephen Pearson slotting the ball past David Marshall in the Cardiff City goal from close range. This was a lacklustre Cardiff City. Once again something wasn’t quite right, Whittingham was playing deep again and the one up top formation just wasn’t working
On the stroke of half time Bristol were two up. This time it was veteran journeyman Jon Stead who held off Bluebird debutant Matt Connolly before freeing Martyn Woolford in the box, he took what seemed an age to steady himself, the Bluebird faithful were sure someone would steal the ball from his toes but no one even attempted and he was simply allowed to stroke the ball past David Marshall.
At half time Mackay made a substitution which was to make an immediate impact by bringing on Joe Mason for Aron Gunnarsson. Mason won a corner, which was headed against the bar by Heidar Helguson – sprightly Mason rose highest and nodded home the rebound. Three minutes later Peter Whittingham came agonisingly close to levelling things for The Bluebirds with a shot from inside the area, however this merely served to spur Bristol on further, leading to them striking a killer blow. Robin’s substitute, Sam Baldock’s blistering effort struck the post leaving Marshall stranded – Woolford popped up and slotted the ball home.
Cardiff looked beaten, however with seven minutes to go Heidar Helguson pulled a goal back, but it was too little too late and The Bluebirds fate was sealed by Baldock who took advantage of a Mark Hudson error to powerfully place the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.
When the final whistle blew it ended with Bristol City beating Cardiff City by four goals to two, with thoughts of the result buzzing in our heads and the taunts of Red Dragons, Judas and losers ringing in our ears Cardiff City supporters headed home and could but, hope that the last few days of the transfer market would bring some cheer, and indeed our spirits were to be given a massive lift, for although concerns remain about the lack of cover defensively the pacey winger and agile, lively striker, Bluebird supporters had desperately hoped for did materialise in the form of; Craig Noone, a long time target of Cardiff City and Malky MacKay who had tormented the Bluebirds just a week before and Irons striker Nicky Maynard.
On Friday evening the transfer window closed with The Bluebirds having signed an unprecedented eleven players. The comings and goings for the summer of 2012/13 are as follows:
Alex Evans (Oxford United), Jonathan Meades (Bournemouth), Lee Naylor (Free Agent),Paul Quinn (Doncaster Rovers), Aaron Wildig (Shrewsbury Town), Jordan Santiago ( Free Agent), Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps FC). Ibrahim Farah (Free Agent), Jon Parkin (Fleetwood), Tom Heaton (Bristol C), Anthony Gerrard (Huddersfield), Darcy Blake (Crystal Palace)
While Incoming are:
Joe Lewis (Peterborough United – Free). Filip Kiss (Slovan Bratislava – £500,000), Jordon Mutch (Birmingham City – £2,000,000), Etien Velikonja (Maribor – £1,574,373), Kim Bo-Kyung (Cerezo Osaka – £2,000,000), Matthew Connolly (Queens Park Rangers – £500,000). Heidar Helguson (Queens Park Rangers – Free), Tommy Smith (Queens Park Rangers – £300,000). Craig Noone (Brighton & Hove Albion – £1,000,000), Nicky Maynard (West Ham United – £2,500,000) and Craig Bellamy Free from Liverpool.