One game, one goal for Andreas Cornelius in a Cardiff shirt as the Danish forward fired home for City in their 4-3 win over Forest Green Rovers.
City’s new signing from FC Copenhagen hit the back of net on fifteen minutes with a bullet header from a Kevin McNaughton cross. The lead was doubled on thirty four minutes with a well taken set piece nodded in by Nicky Maynard. The home side soon showed why they are so highly rated with David Hockaday’s side halving the deficit before the break through James Norwood.
A Peter Whittingham penalty immediately after the restart gave City a third goal before former Wrexham man Danny Wright slotted home after being sent through on goal to pull the away side back for a second time. Craig Noone’s spectacular goal looked to have sealed the win for Cardiff in their first pre-season game but winger Matt Taylor fired in on seventy five minutes to make the final few moments interesting.
City held on to record a win at the New Lawn with plenty of positives to build on against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
City started the game with new signing Cornelius leading the strike force alongside Maynard much to the delight of the travelling Cardiff support.
The away crowd nearly had something to celebrate early on with Maynard’s determination paying dividends for City. The former West Ham United forward brilliantly kept in a wayward ball wide on the right and his hooked pass perfectly to Tommy Smith just inside the penalty area. Smith’s resulting cross evaded the Rovers defence but not the fingertips of keeper Sam Russell who plucked the ball out of the air.
New accusation Cornelius was straight into the thick of things in his first appearance in a Cardiff shirt and the former FC Copenhagen man’s close control gave midfielder Jordon Mutch a shot at goal after ten minutes. Cornelius brought the ball down extremely well with his chest on the edge of the home side’s penalty area before releasing the ball to Mutch with a deft touch. Mutch’s shot from just outside the area drifted well over the bar as both teams exhibited creative and flowing football in this pre-season encounter.
The travelling City faithful were celebrating after fifteen minutes with new fans favourite Cornelius living up to his reputation in front of goal. A deep cross from Cardiff stalwart Kevin McNaughton was superbly met by Cornelius as the forward thundered home a bullet header to give his side the lead early in the first half.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Andreas Cornelius, 15 mins)
The Football Conference side weren’t sitting back against their Premier League opposition though and they came close to levelling the game within a minute. The impressive James Norwood troubled City throughout the first half and his dipping shot from twenty yards out was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Joe Lewis. The keeper was soon in action again, this time saving Dale Bennett’s shot from the Forest Green corner in an unconventional fashion.
Scottish International Conway was the next man to try his luck for City with a rasping drive from distance that was well held by Russell. The home side continued their search for an equaliser, Norwood was denied again by Lewis before David Hockaday’s men finally hit the back of the net with twenty eight minutes gone. Former Wrexham striker Danny Wright headed the ball home for Forest Green only for referee Simon Hooper to blow for an initial foul.
The hosts should have been level with thirty minutes on the clock with a well taken set piece from Yan Klukowski gifting Matt Taylor a free header at the City goal, Taylor couldn’t trouble Lewis though as his header drifted wide. Visitors City punished Forest Green four minutes later as they took a two goal lead. Kim Bo-Kyung and Conway combined for the away side in a clever corner move with the South Korean International crossing for Maynard to head Mackay’s men into a two goal lead.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Nicky Maynard, 34 mins)
James Norwood lead the home side in their search for a goal before the break and the young attacker was only denied a shot at goal by a fantastic Ben Turner tackle on forty two minutes.
Norwood wasn’t to be stopped from giving his side a fully deserved first half goal on forty three minutes after a fine team move. Taylor with a deft touch to Norwood who ran at the City defence, a fantastic one-two with former Wrexham man Wright gave Norwood a clear sight at goal and the attacker lashed home confidently to half the deficit at the break.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (James Norwood, 43 mins)
HALF TIME: FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
The second half opened in quite a flourish with City being awarded a penalty within the first thirty seconds of the restart. Joe Mason, one of eleven half time changes for Cardiff broke clear of the Forest Green defence only to be brought down by Anthony Barry. Regular penalty taker Peter Whittingham stepped up for the away side and curled the ball home confidently from the spot to reassert his side’s two goal advantage.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 1-3 CARDIFF CITY (Peter Whittingham, 46 mins)
Forest Green were back in the game ten minutes later with Wright showing fantastic composure in front of goal to slot past David Marshall after being put through by Taylor.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 2-3 CARDIFF CITY (Danny Wright, 56 mins)
As Russell denied Bellamy and Noone a fourth goal for City on continuous occasions in the second half, the impressive keeper couldn’t do anything about former Brighton man Noone’s twenty five yard deflected effort on seventy two minutes. While the deflection undoubtedly helped the City winger shot, it did already looked destined for the back of the net at some pace.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 2-4 CARDIFF CITY (Craig Noone, 72 mins)
A fourth goal for the away side didn’t dampen the spirits of a dogged home side and they scored a third goal of the game with real confidence. Matt Taylor alongside Norwood and Wright put in a strong pre-season performance against Premier League opposition and his control and finish in the seventy fifth minute helped show why Forest Green are one of the promotion favourites from the Conference this season.
GOAL! FOREST GREEN ROVERS 3-4 CARDIFF CITY (Matt Taylor, 75 mins)
Half time substitute Simon Lappin almost scored the goal of the day for Mackay’s side with seventy eight minutes on the clock. A thirty yard left foot piledriver beat the home defence and Sam Russell but unfortunately for Lappin he was denied a rare goal with his shot slipping just over the bar. A strong pre-season showing from both sides with an entertaining game for all to watch.
FULL TIME: FOREST GREEN ROVERS 3-4 CARDIFF CITY
Forest Green Rovers: Russell, Hodgkiss (Asafu Adjaye, 60), Stokes, Bangura, Turley (Oshodi, 51), Bennett, Norwood (Vieira, 84), Klukowski, Wright (Mangan, 67), Taylor (Koroma, 84), Barry (Kelly, 71)
Cardiff City: Lewis (Marshall, 46), McNaughton (Lappin, 46), Ralls (Taylor, 46), Bo-Kyung (Cowie, 46), Connolly (Hudson, 46), Turner (Nugent, 46), Smith (Noone, 46), Mutch (Whittingham, 46), Maynard (Mason, 46 (Gestede, 68), Cornelius (Campbell, 46), Conway (Bellamy, 46)