CITY SMASH FOUR PAST CHELTENHAM
Superb first half goals from Andrew Taylor, Robert Earnshaw and Craig Conway set Cardiff on their way to a win over Cheltenham Town in an enjoyable pre season game at Whaddon Road.
It was a lively start from the home side but the ability of the Bluebirds line up soon shone through. Andrew Taylor opened the scoring on 28 minutes with a superb 35 yard drive that zipped up of the surface and into the right hand bottom corner of Scott Brown's goal, and Brown was soon picking the ball out of his net again as Robert Earnshaw added a second after a fantastic cross from the impressive Taylor.
The away side were not finished yet though as Craig Conway added a third goal after only 43 minutes. The tricky winger ran onto some good work from Darcy Blake and Peter Whittingham to lash the ball home from just inside the penalty area.
The second half began just as the first had finished, with a Cardiff City goal. Peter Whittingham placed a free kick into the Robins goal from 25 yards out.
The majority of the second half was taken up with substitutions as Malky Mackay gave match time to a lot of the youngsters who made the trip with the first team squad. Ben Nugent impressed for the away side against the more experienced Cheltenham players in the second half. Every single Cardiff player made a good impression of themselves against last season's League Two play-off runners up in a very convincing win for the Bluebirds.
Cheltenham Town made 5 changes from the side that defeated Birmingham City 1-0 on the weekend. Kaid Mohamed, Steve Elliott, Jeff Goulding and new signings Billy Jones and Sam Deering dropping to the bench for the Robins as last season's top scorer Darryl Duffy and trialist Tristan Plummer were welcomed into the starting eleven as well as Danny Andrew, Bagasan Graham and captain Alan Bennett.
Etien Velikonja made his second start for the Bluebirds in succession alongside Rob Earnshaw in attack while David Marshall, Darcy Blake, Joe Ralls and Ben Turner were introduced into the Cardiff starting eleven. Joe Lewis, Adedeji Oshilala, Jesse Darko and Dekel Keinan all took a spot on a youthful substitute's bench with second year apprentices Declan John, Gethyn Hill, Kane Owen and a first year professional in Theo Wharton all looking to get some game time against a very good Cheltenham side.
It was the home side that threatened first at Whaddon Road with Marlon Pack played through on goal within the first two minutes of the game. Robins captain Alan Bennett played the ball superbly over the top of the Cardiff defence from the half way line for Pack who controlled the ball well, cut in on his right foot and fired a stinging drive at goal only to see Marshall save well and the Bluebirds clear the ball.
An open game, the away side soon started showing their attacking prowess with Conway and Whittingham both nearly opening the scoring in quick succession. Etien Velikonja showed his ability by laying the ball off well for Conway to smash a shot towards the Cheltenham goal only to see his attempt saved by Brown. A minute later Whittingham ran onto a lay off from Earnshaw and lashed a left footed drive just wide of Brown's left hand post.
The best chance of the first 20 minutes fell to the home side as trialist Tristan Plummer drove a drive just over the bar on 14 minutes. Plummer showed great composure to beat Hudson but couldn't keep his cool when one on one with Scotland international David Marshall as he fired over the bar from 12 yards out.
Plummer was again the man to test Marshall as he took a free kick from 25 yards out. An incredibly powerful right footed shot from Plummer was at the perfect height for Marshall to palm away and keep the tricky forward at bay.
The creative flow of the Cardiff attacking line up soon took control though as Earnshaw and Conway troubled Brown, and it wasn't long before the 437 fans who travelled down from South Wales were celebrating as an unlikely man opened the scoring on 28 minutes with a superb strike.
Andrew Taylor strode forward with the ball just inside the Cheltenham half before unleashing a thunderbolt from 35 yards that zipped off the turf and into the bottom right hand corner of Brown's goal. It was a fantastic finish from the impressive left back who had showed a good attacking prowess from the start of the game, and it was Taylor again who had a massive impact when Cardiff increased their lead two minutes later.
GOAL: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Andrew Taylor, 28 mins)
Last season's 11 goal man Peter Whittingham passed the ball to Taylor out on the left wing. The former Middlesbrough man ignored the chants from the crowd to shoot again and instead perfectly crossed the ball into Robert Earnshaw who let glanced the ball off his head and into the back of the net from 10 yards. A great cross from Taylor and a nice header from Earnshaw but questions could be asked about the starting position of Scott Brown in the Cheltenham goal.
GOAL: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Robert Earnshaw, 30 mins)
After the second goal the away side took firm control of the game with Etien Velikonja looking very lively, the new signing was very unlucky not to get on the score sheet on 39 minutes with the goal gaping the forward just struggled to get the ball out of his feet before the Robins cleared.
That third goal for Cardiff came just before half time as Craig Conway fired home on 43 minutes. Peter Whittingham with a superb cross field ball into the feet of Darcy Blake on the right wing, Blake then passed the ball into the run of Craig Conway who controlled the ball with one touch and fired home from the right side and into the bottom corner of Brown's net.
GOAL: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0-3 CARDIFF CITY (Craig Conway, 43 mins)
HALF TIME: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0-3 CARDIFF CITY
A rarity in pre season friendly's as both sides began the second half with the same eleven that started the first, and Cardiff continued their dominance from the first half with Robert Earnshaw hitting the crossbar on 48 minutes. The always impressive Peter Whittingham found Earnshaw with a dinked pass and the striker chipped the ball just over the bar from 6 yards under a lot of pressure from the Cheltenham defence and Scott Brown.
A fourth goal was soon to come for the Bluebirds though as Peter Whittingham capped off an impressive performance with a goal. Etien Velikonja was held back on the edge of the area and the set piece specialist Whittingham picked out the top corner of Brown's goal with a quickly taken free kick.
GOAL: CHELTENHAM TOWN 0-4 CARDIFF CITY (Peter Whittingham, 50 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Kevin Sainte-Lucie on for Craig Conway (54 mins)
Substitution Cheltenham: Jeff Goulding on for Bagasan Graham (57 mins)
Substitution Cheltenham: Sam Deering on for Russell Penn (60 mins)
Substitutions Cardiff: Ben Nugent, Jesse Darko, Nathaniel Jarvis and Joe Lewis on for Andrew Taylor, Rob Earnshaw, Etien Velikonja and David Marshall (60 mins)