A Kenwyne Jones brace helped City towards a 4-1 victory at Yeovil in the Bluebirds' penultimate game of pre-season.
There was a healthy turnout from the City faithful at a very sunny Huish Park and they were rewarded with a fine second half performance. Yeovil fielded six new signings and it was the fresh looking Glovers who took the lead in the first half through Ajay Leitch-Smith.
But a solid second half performance saw City score four goals - the first from the penalty spot from Le Fondre, the second after some great skill from Connolly and two in a late flurry from Kenwyne Jones. The 805 Cardiff fans traveled back home to Wales with plenty of confidence ahead of Saturday's final pre-season fixture at home to Wolfsburg.
Cardiff started brightly and with little more than four minutes on the clock Le Fondre looked to have a great chance to put Cardiff into the lead but was cynically brought down by Brendan Moloney with only the keeper to beat. The former Bristol City defender was booked for the challenge, which in a regular season fixture would almost certainly been a red card with him being the last defender. Le Fondre dusted himself off and stepped up for the resulting free kick - a powerful strike, which cannoned off the bar from 20 yards out.
This spurred the Glovers into action and they had a chance of their own soon after. Leitch-Smith’s effort was turned past the post by the diving David Marshall low to his left; however, Cardiff were straight back on the offensive with Mats Daehli at the heart of proceedings. The Norwegian jinked past a couple of Town defenders and produced a low cross that could only be directed wide by Javi Guerra.
Quarter of an hour into the tie and it was the higher-level Bluebirds with the lion’s share of possession, aided too by some sloppy play from the home side. A misplaced throw-in allowed Guido Burgstaller to run at the Yeovil defence; he slotted the ball to Daehli, but his strike was easily gathered by Krysiak in the Yeovil goal.
Against the run of play, Gary Johnson’s men were allowed to pump a deep cross into the City area. Both Marshall and Turner tried to deal with the delivery and during the confusion the ball fell to Leitch-Smith; the striker, recently signed from Crewe, managing to bundle the ball into the bottom corner and give his side the lead.
During the lead up to the goal David Marshall picked up an injury and was substituted for Simon Moore. In the aftermath of the first goal, Cardiff resumed their dominance over possession but were also forced into their second substitution of the game - Matthew Connolly entering the field of play at the expense of the injured Ben Turner.Despite City's possession, it was Yeovil who came close to adding a second in the 39th minute, Keiffer Moore’s right foot strike drifting just wide of the upright.
With two minutes left of the first half, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side produced some intricate football on the edge of the area to allow Guerra another shooting chance. Daehli neatly dissected the defence with a pinpoint pass to Burgstaller who slid the ball across the face of the goal to Guerra, but once again the ball was struck directly at Artur Krysiak in the Yeovil goal who comfortably gathered.
Half Time: Yeovil Town 1-0 Cardiff City
The second half saw Javi Guerra and Joe Ralls, on his return to Huish Park, leave the field with Nicky Maynard and Jordon Mutch entering the fray. It did not take Maynard long to get into the action forcing a corner within the first minute. The corner saw a scramble in the penalty area, but the ball was eventually cleared by the Yeovil defence.
The first ten minutes of the second half went by with very little incident, but that changed in the 56th minute. Burgstaller made a darting run and produced a fine cross from the left wing; Nicky Maynard was about to pull the trigger with the goal gaping in front of him, but was pulled to the floor before he had the chance. Penalty awarded. Adam Le Fondre stepped up and coolly placed the ball down the middle. Scores now level at one apiece.
After the goal City made wholesale changes. Goalscorer Le Fondre, Burgstaller, Dikgacoi and Daehli left the pitch for Kenwyne Jones, Aron Gunnarsson, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Peter Whittingham. Whittingham’s first two touches were from consecutive corners. The first headed against the post from a defender, the second causing the Glovers backline a great deal of problems. Yeovil could only clear as far as Hudson on the edge of the area who produced a short pass to Brayford, who in turn passed to Matt Connolly. The Cardiff defender showed great footwork inside the box, turned and struck the ball home to put Cardiff 2-1 up - City scoring two goals in the space of five minutes.
On 68 minutes, Cardiff made their ninth substitute, Juan Cala coming on for captain Mark Hudson. With about a quarter of the tie remaining, Ole’s men were really putting pressure on their hosts with constant possession in the attacking half. On 73 minutes, City produced some brilliant passing football on the edge of the area that eventually released Declan John down the left flank. John drilled the ball low and hard right to the feet of the onrushing Kenwyne Jones who lashed the ball home from close range.
Cardiff then used their full compliment of substitutions with 15 minutes remaining, Kim Bo-Kyung and Fabio replacing John Brayford and Declan John. Yeovil were not going to go down without a fight and with ten minutes to go looked to reduce their arrears. This almost came at a high price when Fabio, from well inside his own half, sprinted all the way to the opposition area and neatly played in Jordon Mutch, his shot blocked by a last ditch challenge from Jakub Sololik.
This was soon followed by another chance for City, this time Aron Gunnarsson playing a perfectly timed ball to Maynard who shot wide of Krysiak’s right post. Cardiff were certainly not sitting back on their lead and were still throwing men forward, and as we entered the 90th minute, Kenwyne Jones beat the offside trap and made a telling run into the left side of the penalty area. With men waiting in the centre, Jones decided to take matters into his own hands and smashed the ball passed the ‘keeper on his near post to cap off a clinical second half performance.
Full Time: Yeovil Town 1-4 Cardiff City
Cardiff City Starting XI:Marshall, Brayford, John, Ralls, Hudson ©, Turner, Burgstaller, Dikgacoi, Le Fondre, Guerra, Daehli
Substitutions:Connolly, Moore, Kim, Fabio, Jones, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Whittingham, Eikrem, Maynard, Cala
Goals: Le Fondre (56), Connolly (62), Jones (73, 90)
Yeovil Town Starting XI:Krysiak, Moloney, Smith, Edwards ©, Sokolik, Martin, Dawson, Foley, Moore, Leitch-Smith, Hoskins
Substitutions:Weale, Davis, Brooks, Twumasi, Ralph, Lanzoni, Hayter, Andoh
Goals: Leitch-Smith (18)
Attendance:2,018, Away: 805