Before the Easter weekend had you asked a Cardiff City supporter if they would take four points from the games against Middlesbrough away and Watford at home most would have happily taken them, however all that changed after the resounding victory against Boro away, thanks in large part to Joe Mason who came on as substitute for Kenny Miller after just three minutes.
Miller was racing onto through-ball, with the Middleborough defence static, goalkeeper Jason Steele raced out of his area and clattered into Miller who had controlled the ball and looked through, Steele made no contact with the ball instead scything Miller down with a two footed tackle that’s contact point was at knee level Miller crumpled into a stricken mess the ball dribbling tantalisingly a few foot in front of him, incredulously referee Kevin Friend turned his back, only to be chased by incensed Cardiff players.
However their protestations were stone walled Malky Mackay berated the fourth official also in vain. Miller was eventually helped from the field of battle hopping on one leg, the old warriors part in the conflict was done for the day enter; young buck Joe Mason who owned and bossed the park with an authority astonishing for someone of his age at this level. Within minutes of coming on he had the ball over the line although the deflected shot which struck the underside of the crossbar before bouncing out and being hastily scrambled away by a Boro’ defender Justin Hoyte was adjudged not to have not crossed the line.
The score was opened five minutes later by Ben Turner – who came to Cardiff City in the summer from Coventry City along with Aron Gunnerson. Turner rose above everyone to slot home the ball from a Liam Lawrence corner 0-1 Cardiff. Eight minutes later The Bluebirds were two up.. Mason causing all sorts of problems raced into a perfectly flighted early ball down the right from Stephen McPhail before cutting inside into the area, keeping his calm brilliantly to turn his marker first one way, then the other before dispatching the ball under Steele in the ‘Boro goal. City continued to run the show for the first half but failed to find the net again due to Steele who undoubtedly should have no longer even been on the pitch.
The second half Middleborough had more possession. But other than one finger tip save from City keeper David Marshall, didn’t look like getting on the score sheet.
So with the harder of the two fixtures on paper yielding three points, Easter Monday, a sizable crowd braved the cold and the rain at the Cardiff City Stadium, but it was to be one of those matches you left the ground wishing you had stayed at home in the warm and dry. Lacking spark and marred by fussy referee Darren Deadman who handled so many cards (seven) he seemed to think he was Paul Daniels.
The games saving grace from Cardiff City supporters view point was the end for Kenny Miller’s of his run of thirteen appearances without a goal, a drought not brought about by lack of trying it has to be said. But all in all it was extremely disappointing to have only taken one point from a poor and struggling Watford team and in the dying minutes of the game if truth is told City were very lucky to get even that point Watford went that close!
It all had City fans again shaking their heads and wondering what on earth was going on with their team. After all the Easter programme had started so differently wearing the lucky St David’s yellow and black third kit, Cardiff City had been ruthless in their domination of Middlesbrough especially in the first twenty minutes and sealed the fate of the Boro’ who suffered not only defeat but a mass walkout of their fans half an hour before the final whistle. The Mogganaut had been halted! But then came Watford!
That sort of inconsistency, as dogged Cardiff City all season supporters unsure which Cardiff is going to turn up or not as the case may be! The passion some games just is not there from the team..which is a worry because it means many of the current crop of players haven’t connected with the club.
Cardiff fans have a saying “Once a Bluebird always a Bluebird.” Which was demonstrated perfectly by former Cardiff City striker Jay Boothroyd on Wednesday night who when coming on as substitute for QPR against old firm derby rivals Swansea ran onto the field a smirk on his face repeatedly doing the Ayatollah. He’s not the only one to have done this the south Wales rivalry is a powerful one, once you’ve been sucked in, another thing peculiar to the Bluebirds old players when returning to play Cardiff with their new teams is they receive a very warm welcome, the players in turn behave with similar respect. When Michael Chopra scored against us for Ipswich this season at CCS he didn’t celebrate his goal, when he scored again in the return match, caught up in the moment he celebrated his goal after the game he immediately took to twitter to apologise for any offence he may have caused City fans! Other players who will remain nameless simply don’t ‘turn up’ for the team they now play for.
I can’t help but think few of the current squad would be the same. Is that is down to the fact that the team; for the large part came together during the summer under a manager who through no fault of his own had barely got his own feet under the table?
And I have no wish to sound xenophobic, but the squad has only two Welsh players, both are Cardiff lads, lifelong Bluebird supporters and who are regular current Welsh internationals. However, both Robert Earnshaw and Darcy Blake have rarely played a part under Mackay who has surrounded himself with fellow Scots…Now here maybe lays the problem. Ask a Scot; what are you? and the immediate reply will always be I’m Scottish!! Then if you push them for more information you’ll get I’m a builder ect. Ask one of us and you’ll get I’m a Bluebird on being pushed we’ll explain that means we support Cardiff City FC, that we are from Wales but the first answer will always be I am a Bluebird! That pride and passion is missing I’m not saying only welsh players should play for Cardiff City because the aforementioned Boothroyd and Chopra are English as is Peter Whittingham and no one would ever doubt this passion and Bluebirdness.
No too many players had to be drafted into the team in too short a space of time it as resulted in the failure of the integration into the right mindset that’s needed to get what is to be a Bluebird to find that something extra, the never say die spirit epitomised by the likes of Phil Dwyer (A man who died on the pitch having swallowed his tongue after a clash of heads, was revived where he fell and then turned out and had a blinder the next week!) This lack of connection is crippling the squad now that they are tired and understandably emotionally drained following the Carling Cup defeat against Liverpool. (who have also fallen by the wayside following the Carling Cup final!) As much as Mackay’s seemingly blind faith in a handful of his side or even the lack of an out and out striker and pacey winger does.
Having said all that, results have kept going our way so this you feel must be our year but we all now have to play our part. City supporters have to be that never say die Bluebirds spirit. Now is your time, time for all City supporters to launch the rallying cry, for all Bluebirds to vocally show the passion and pride from the stands keep the songs plain and simple cheer all good touches till you have no voice….
Keeping the faith… in full song raise lets the roof!
With my little pick and shovel I’ll be there!