Cardiff 4 Newcastle 1 – Match Report
There has been controversy at Cardiff this Summer but on the pitch they are looking more than useful, especially with forwards like the newly signed Bellamy and Helguson from the Premier League, along with Earnshaw who is a proven scorer at that level.
While Cardiff fans have been left scratching their heads as first team colours have switched from blue to red (no, don’t go there!) and a dragon taking centre stage from the bluebird, it was Newcastle fans today who were left scratching their heads….and then banging them off the nearest wall!.
Yohan Cabaye missing wasn’t much of a shock following his fatigue/injury related omission from the French squad but to not see Ben Arfa and especially Ba & Cisse today, well it certainly didn’t put a spring in my step.
My expectation was that today Alan Pardew would have played his very best available team in preparation for the opener with Spurs but it wasn’t to be.
Twenty six minutes into the match and United were three down and yes it is only a friendly but if any pre-season game was going to be taken seriously surely this would be the one.
No need to panic but Alan Pardew must be frustrated with the lack of any first team signings, stuttering returns for Ben Arfa and Cabaye following the Euros and the generally chaotic nature of the pre-season fixtures with the South African trip cancelled.
The three first half goals were a mixture of a class strike from Gunnarsson and two examples of poor defending as Tim Krul was left exposed, sad to say Newcastle were lucky to survive a couple of other Cardiff chances as well. Ryan Taylor was dragged off after the third but it could have been any number of players, Perch taking his place and it coinciding with United getting a bit more of a grip on the match, Shola showing decent skill a couple of times but his finishing letting him down.
Surely the second half can’t get any worse….a few minutes in and it is Shola from the spot, scoring of course!
Second half substitute Vuckic crosses, Jonas gets in the box and is unfairly challenged, the mackem slayer does the rest. Unfortunately, that is just about where the good news more or less ends as Jonas goes close but Cardiff then turn the screw again.
Newcastle survive Cardiff pressure but crack eventually again when a simple long ball sees Williamson outdone by his opponent and Krul again left with no chance.
In fact the best news of the day sees Campbell on as a late replacement for Obertan and straight away the 17 year old North Shields born striker injects some late life into United. He is obviously buzzing on his first team debut and shows some great skill to set up both Amalfitano and Vuckic as well as being unlucky not to win a penalty late on.
Would be nice to think today would be looked back on as the day something really special began, rather than a dismal pre-season friendly that leaves more than a few pre-season questions unanswered.
Cardiff City: David Marshall, Kevin McNaughton, Andrew Taylor, Mark Hudson, Ben Turner, Peter Whittingham, Craig Conway, Joe Ralls, Jordon Mutch, Aron Gunnarsson, Heidar Helguson
Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini (Williamson 46), Steven Taylor (Gosling 63), Santon, Ryan Taylor (Perch 28), Tiote (Amalfitano 71), Marveaux (Vuckic 46), Gutierrez, Obertan (Cambell 84), Shola Ameobi
Subs not used: Steve Harper
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