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MATCH REPORTS

PUBLISHED
18:00 29th March 2014
By  Steve Garland

REPORT - WBA 3-3 CARDIFF CITY

A late Mats Møller Dæhli equaliser in the last seconds of stoppage time snatched what could be a vital Barclays Premier League point for Cardiff City at the Hawthorns.

It was an incredible period of late drama that saw Baggies substitute Thievy seemingly claim all three points for the home side with three of the four minutes gone, only for Norwegian International Dæhli to net just moments later to send the travelling 2,600 Bluebirds into delirium.

City had already been forced to come from two goals behind after a poor opening spell saw Morgan Amalfitano and Graham Dorrans put the Baggies in command within ten first half minutes. Jordon Mutch's goal before half-time gave City a much needed foothold in the game before the break.

Steven Caulker completed the comeback with his second half header only for the game to swing dramatically one way and then another in stoppage time, ending in an eventual 3-3 draw and a share of the spoils for both sides.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes to the side that faced Liverpool at Cardiff City Stadium last weekend as Ben Turner, Andrew Taylor and Aron Gunnarsson all returned to the starting-11 in place of Juan Cala, Declan John and Kim Bo Kyung respectively.

It was to be a disappointing start for City though as the home side raced out of the traps, roared on by a vociferous home support at the Hawthorns. It was the returning Amalfitano who put the Baggies in front with just two minutes on the clock with an unstoppable effort, looping the ball over City goalkeeper David Marshall from the corner of the penalty area.

It gave further cheer to a home crowd that had been waiting for a first home league victory since a New Year day triumph over Newcastle United and the Baggies were soon two to the good with Dorrans at hand to turn home a Matej Vydra assist from close range.

Rocked by a difficult opening ten minute spell, the Bluebirds sought to initially bring a calming influence to proceedings; feeling their way into the match before looking to build a few attacks of their own. Taylor's searching cross met Campbell who in turn forced Ben Foster into a first save of the afternoon.

Up step Jordon Mutch. With half an hour on the clock, the City midfielder provided a wonder strike to pull the Bluebirds back within one, curling home a left footed effort from 30 yards. A goal, Foster could just watch as it looped into the top corner of his goal.

Rallied by the strike, City went in search of a leveller. Solskjaer introduced Wilfried Zaha for Fabio but the first half would end with the Bluebirds behind by the one goal.

HALF TIME: West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Cardiff City

A half time change saw Mats Møller Dæhli introduced in place of midfielder Aron Gunnarssson and determined to grab the leveller, City enjoyed large spells of possession in an impressive second half performance.

Despite early second half efforts from Craig Dawson and Youssef Mulumbu threatening for the Baggies, it was the Bluebirds who looked the more comfortable as the hour mark approached. 

Campbell first saw a long range rocket parried by Baggies 'keeper Ben Foster, but there was nothing the former England International could do just ten minutes later as Caulker's looping header brought City a deserved equaliser.

With momentum on their side, the travelling army of Cardiff City fans called for the Bluebirds to push for the winner. Dæhli first charged in the area with ten minutes to go only to see his effort stopped by Foster.

The final ten minutes proved to be a stop start affair after a series of injuries, but with the game looking likely to fizzle out with each side taking a point a piece, it instead proved to merely be the calm before the storm after an incredible spell of added time. 

Three minutes into stoppage time, young French forward Thievy Bifouma steered his effort home through the legs of goalkeeper David Marshall in what everyone inside the Hawthorns saw as the match winning goal. It looked like another injury time blemish would cost City a point for the second consecutive game on the road.

Determined to ensure they took at least a point from the West Midlands, City went right back on the attack, Dæhli creating space for himself before turning his left footed effort home in the last seconds of stoppage time to steal a point. It was a moment that sparked incredible scenes amongst the travelling 2,600 fans who had made the trip from South Wales.

FULL TIME: West Bromwich Albion 3-3 Cardiff City

Cardiff City: Marshall; Fabio (Zaha 36), Turner, Caulker (C), Theophile-Catherine, Taylor; Medel (Whittingham 87), Mutch, Gunnarsson (Dæhli 45); Bellamy, Campbell. Subs not used: Lewis; Jones, Cowie, Cala.

Goals: Mutch (31), Caulker (73), Dæhli (90+4)

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Dawson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Dorrans (Gera 84), Amalfitano (Berahino 71), Sessegnon, Vydra (Thievy 78). Subs not used: Myhill, Lugano, O'Neil, Roofe.

Goals: Amalfitano (2), Dorrans (9), Thievy (90+3)