Cardiff City 1-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 18th Mar 2017 16:03
Skipper Luke Chambers headed Town into a 23rd minute lead but Kenneth Zohore equalised for Cardiff in a first half which ended 1-1.
Grant Ward and Tommy Smith returned to the Town starting line-up with Myles Kenlock dropping to the bench and Emyr Huws unavailable against his parent club and also having a hamstring injury.
Smith came in on the left of the central defensive three with Jonas Knudsen moving out to left wing-back. Ward joined Cole Skuse and Toumani Diagouraga in central midfield.
For Cardiff, Peter Whittingham returned in midfield with Joe Ralls missing out through injury. Former England striker Rickie Lambert was back on the bench after a long-term back injury, while ex-Town keeper Brian Murphy was also among the subs.
In breezy conditions and swirling fine rain, the Bluebirds were first to threaten in the fourth minute after Skuse had fouled Junior Hoilett not far outside area. Whittingham curled the freekick towards the bottom corner but Bartosz Bialkowski did well to save down to his left.
The home side continued to have the better of the opening spell and a minute later Zohore hit a shot on the turn from the edge of the box just over.
Town, wearing all white, should have taken the lead in the ninth minute after a swift counter-attack following a Cardiff freekick.
David McGoldrick picked up a half-cleared ball just outside the area and brought it forward before feeding Tom Lawrence to his right.
The on-loan Leicester man, back in his native Wales, took it on into the area before cutting across to the far post to the unmarked Ward, who shot against Bluebirds keeper Allan McGregor from not far outside the six-yard box. Either side of the Scotland international and Town would have been in front.
After a slow start the Blues had got on top and as the game approached the 20-minute mark they were beginning to dominate possession with Lawrence and McGoldrick involved more than they were at Barnsley last week. On 21 the Irish international shot over from distance.
And in the 23rd minute the Blues went in front. Skuse played the ball down the right for Spence, who did well to reach it before being fouled by Sol Bamba, who was memorably red-carded in this season’s Portman Road fixture between the clubs.
Lawrence sent in the freekick from the right and Chambers headed back across goal and into the net for his fourth goal of the season.
In the 29th minute Christophe Berra clipped Kadeem Harris’s heels just before he broke into the area and Bialkowski sharply diverted Joe Bennett’s freekick over from under his bar, then from the corner Bamba looped a header well over.
The home side were starting to get on top, however, and on 31 Zohore broke into the area on the right and shot straight at Bialkowski while under pressure from Chambers.
Two minutes later at the other end, Lawrence whipped in a wind-assisted freekick from the right and Diagouraga stooped and headed over.
But in the 36th minute the Bluebirds got back on terms. After Knudsen had fouled Craig Noone on the right, Whittingham played the freekick wide to Jazz Richards, who crossed into the box where it was nodded down by home skipper Sean Morrison and Zohore volleyed home his eighth goal in 10 games from close range giving Bialkowski no chance.
Zohore, who has now scored nine goals this season, will feel he should have netted another two minutes later but lashed wildly into the stand after Chambers’s poor defensive header had landed at his feet in the area.
Cardiff went closer to going in front in the 42nd minute when Noone cut the ball back from the right and it reached Hoilett, who worked himself space and then hit a shot on the turn which struck the angle of post and bar.
After Whittingham had sent a freekick well over from distance, Icelandic midfielder Aron Gunnarsson, who had a trial with the Blues as a schoolboy, hit an injury-time shot wide.
Having started slowly Town had got themselves on top during an entertaining half and deserved their goal when it came with Ward having gone close to opening the scoring earlier.
However, the Bluebirds then began to take charge and once they’d levelled - via a set-piece goal Mick McCarthy will no doubt have been disappointed to have conceded - looked the more likely scorers of the game’s third goal with Hoilett unlucky with his shot off the woodwork.
Lawrence had looked more like his January self and he and McGoldrick had both shown that they were capable of troubling the Cardiff defence without either having had a clear-cut opportunity.
If the scoreline remains the same at the final whistle Town will have equalled a club record seven successive stalemates set in November and December 1990.
Cardiff City: McGregor, Bennett, Morrison (c), Richards, Whittingham, Noone, Bamba, Gunnarsson, Harris, Zohore, Hoilett. Subs: Murphy, Ecuele Manga, John, Pilkington, Halford, Lambert, Meite.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Berra, T Smith, Spence, Skuse, Diagouraga, Ward, Knudsen, Lawrence, McGoldrick. Subs: Gerken, Digby, Kenlock, Bru, Rowe, Sears, Pitman. Referee: James Linington (Newport, Isle of Wight).
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