|Cardiff City 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 12th January 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Cardiff City 0-0 Town
Saturday, 12th Jan 2013 17:00
Town picked up a deserved point against leaders Cardiff City as their trip to the Welsh capital ended in a 0-0 draw. Guirane N’Daw came closest the breaking the deadlock with a 25-yard first-half strike which hit the post.
Boss Mick McCarthy handed David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean their full Blues debuts up front and recalled Luke Hyam for Nigel Reo-Coker in the centre of midfield.
Scott Loach was in goal for the injured Stephen Henderson with the Town manager making four changes from the team which lost to Brighton in their last league game on New Year’s Day.
This week’s new signing Frank Nouble was on the bench, alongside Patrick Kisnorbo and ex-Cardiff man Michael Chopra.
In the opening minute, at a windy and cold Cardiff City Stadium, former Canary Craig Bellamy saw a 25-yard freekick deflect wide after Lee Martin had fouled Craig Noone.
After Bellamy had perhaps harshly been adjudged offside when played through by Peter Whittingham, Cardiff skipper Mark Hudson headed well wide from a long throw in the 13th minute with the opening exchanges even and not overly eventful.
Town went close to going in front in the 15th minute, Guirane N’Daw crashing a powerful, curling 25-yard strike off the inside of David Marshall’s right post with the ex-Norwich keeper well beaten.
Bluebirds frontman Rudy Gestede headed weakly to Loach in the 23rd minute from Andrew Taylor’s cross from the left, the Blues keeper claiming the loose ball ahead of Bellamy. Soon after, McGoldrick hit a defender with a cross from the left after doing well to get to the byline.
The new Town striker almost made the most of a Hudson error in the 26th minute, the Cardiff skipper getting under Luke Chambers’s ball into the box. McGoldrick got to the ball ahead of Marshall but sidefooted the bouncing ball wide.
Cardiff seriously threatened for the first time in the 29th minute, Bellamy getting away down the left and cutting the ball back to Noone, whose shot was blocked by the diving Chambers and N’Daw. Craig Conway lashed the rebound deep into the stand.
The Blues, in their home kit on Cardiff soil for the first time with the Welsh side these days in red, were more than matching their top of the table opponents. On 32 N’Daw sent McGoldrick away down the right but neither Mclean nor Martin could turn the cross into a chance.
Town weren’t far away again in the 36th minute, a well-worked freekick from 25 yards ending with Martin hitting a shot a couple of yards wide of Marshall’s left post.
On 38 Noone sent over a dangerous cross from the Cardiff right, which Loach got a touch to ahead of Gestede with the conditions difficult for keepers. Edwards slammed the loose ball out for a corner, which Town defended comfortably.
Two minutes later, Whittingham sent across a low ball from the left which was too far in front of Noone at the far post. On 43, The former Aston Villa man tried to catch Loach out with a quick shot from a freekick from the right when the keeper was expecting a shot, but curled his effort beyond the post.
It was the Blues threatening again a minute later when Cresswell whipped a dangerous ball across the six-yard box but too far ahead of Mclean and McGoldrick.
As the half moved into injury time, McGoldrick flicked a Bellamy freekick behind and from the resulting corner the Blues striker cleared just as the situation might have developed into a scramble with Loach unable to reach the ball.
Town will have been very pleased with their first half display, having shaded it on the overall balance of play.
The Blues, who kept the ball well for long spells, had probably gone closest to scoring when N’Daw hit the post and when McGoldrick flicked his chance wide, while Loach hadn’t had to make too many serious saves at the other end, although the home side had begun to threaten more close to the break.
The second half began with rain now falling heavily, although on the upside the wind had dropped a little.
Bellamy should have put Cardiff – who swapped Joe Mason for Gestede at half-time - in front in the 52nd minute when Noone played him in from the edge of the area. The Wales international looked offside but with no flag raised seemed certain to score until Chambers challenged and the ball looped harmlessly to Loach.
On 55, after Town had been unable to clear from a corner, Hudson stabbed through to Loach but without seriously testing the Blues keeper. A minute later, Ben Turner flicked Noone’s cross from the right wide with the home side having had most of the game since the break.
Town threatened for the first time in the 59th minute, Smith flicked on Martin’s corner from the right and Mclean wasn’t far away from reaching it at the far post. The on-loan Hull man was switched for ex-Bluebird Michael Chopra in the 61st minute.
After Bradley Orr had headed an Aron Gunnarsson cross from the right only narrowly over his own bar, Daryl Murphy replaced McGoldrick, the on-loan Forest man having been the pick of the Blues’ full debutants.
Town had come more into the half after a slow first 15 minutes but all too often the final ball was lacking, Martin and Orr both failing to make the most of opportunities to cross.
On 70, sub Murphy headed skipper Carlos Edwards’s right-wing cross down but beyond Chopra.
Loach was forced to tip over a Gunnarsson cross which had deflected off Martin as the game moved into its final quarter hour.
Whittingham hit a freekick into the Town wall, then in the aftermath, Gunnarsson headed Conway’s cross wide.
Soon after, Hyam was booked for a foul on the Icelander, who once had a trial with the Blues academy, then Frank Nouble was handed his Town debut for Martin, Murphy moving to left midfield.
An Edwards corner from the right caused problems in the Cardiff area in the 83rd minute, Hudson’s clearance striking Blues defender Smith on the edge of the six-yard box and cannoning over.
Town were continuing to cause problems for the home backline and in the 85th minute Murphy escaped down the left and cut the ball back to Hyam, who mis-hit his shot. The ball reached Edwards on the Blues right and the Trinidadian hit a low shot which deflected over off Taylor.
Nouble made a strong run down the left in the 86th minute, Marshall pushing his cross away from Edwards, who was advancing at the far post.
As the game moved into injury time, with now now falling, Orr was booked for a foul on Bellamy. From the freekick, Orr blocked Mason’s header at point blank range inside the six-yard box.
Moments before the whistle, Murphy broke away down the left and fed Nouble, but the new signing’s shot went just beyond the post.
Town, who extended their unbeaten run on Cardiff soil to five matches, fully deserved their point after a battling display in which they bettered the division’s leaders at times.
Despite the home side having most of the second half, overall the Blues had the better of the game’s chances and might even have won it at the death.
Manager Mick McCarthy will had been delighted by the performance and another valuable away point.
Cardiff: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson (c), Turner, Connolly, Noone (Smith 69), Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Conway, Gestede (Mason 46), Bellamy. Unused: Lewis, McNaughton, Cowie, Kim, Helguson.
Town: Loach, Orr, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (c), Hyam, N'Daw, Martin (Nouble 80), Mclean (Chopra 61), McGoldrick (Murphy 65). Unused: Lee-Barrett, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Drury. Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire). Att: 22,774.
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