WHITTS AND KISS SCORE IN CITY WIN
A trademark Peter Whittingham free-kick opened the scoring after sixteen minutes, a moment of quality which proved the difference between the sides after a quiet half in which there were few serious opportunities for either side to break the deadlock.
The home side made of game of things in the second half through the impressive trio of Potter, Constable and Craddock against a more a youthful City side. It featured a majestic performance from substitute Elliott Parish in the City goal, the goalkeeper proving the foil for the Oxford attack on many occasions. Filip Kiss extended Cardiff's lead after capitalising on a parried Velikonja shot, before Alfie Potter's consolation kept the City defence on their toes in the closing minutes.
Chronological report: A decidedly vocal collection of Cardiff fans made the trip eastwards along the M4 for City's penultimate away pre-season friendly at the Kassam Stadium. With the season opener at home to Huddersfield now less than two weeks away, Malky Mackay fielded an experienced starting eleven to face the Yellows of Oxford United. New-signing Heidar Helguson made his first appearance in a Cardiff shirt, two days after joining from Queens Park Rangers.
The home side were gifted the first real chance of the match after a miscued clearance from David Marshall, with the keeper relieved to see the resulting effort roll wide of his left-hand post. Oxford striker Sean Rigg unleashed a left-footed drive which also went narrowly wide moments later. An impressive turn from James Constable on the edge of the area was fired wide by the former England C striker after ten minutes.
Cardiff reversed the flow of play soon after, a rash challenge from Adam Chapman on Velikonja earning him a yellow card from referee Andrew Woolmer. From the resulting free kick, Peter Whittingham rifled the ball over the wall and the City fans erupted as it flew into the net, Cardiff making the scoresheet with their first effort on target.
GOAL: OXFORD UNITED 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Whittingham, 16 mins)
The U's did not seem disheartened at Whittingham's opener, as soon after Alfie Potter's long-range effort was heading into the top-right corner of Cardiff's goal as Marshall pulled off an athletic stop to push the ball away.
A corner on the half-hour won by Kevin McNaughton was whipped in by goalscorer Whittingham, with Chapman's attempted headed clearance ricocheting inches wide of Clarke's post. Down the other end Oxford playmaker Alfie Potter's aesthetically pleasing through ball found Forster-Caskey in the penalty area, though the man on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion's cross was overshot.
With the half fading out, an Oxford ball over the top of the City defence was kept in at a stretch by full-back Batt, though his cross attempt came to nothing as Cardiff defended solidly to close out the half.
HALF TIME: OXFORD UNITED 0-1 CARDIFF CITY
Half Time Substitutions: Robert Earnshaw, Darcy Blake and Joe Ralls on for Heidar Helguson, Kevin McNaughton and Don Cowie
The Bluebirds entered the second half in an attacking mood - Velikonja was a few steps short of connecting with a cross from the right inside the box, and a mazy run down the left flank by Conway ended in frustration for the Scottish winger as he put too much power on his cross. Meanwhile, Marshall was again called into action at the opposite end, this time stretching to his right to keep out Constable.
The rain showers which reached the ground at around 55 minutes coincided with a short lull in chances, as the opposing midfielders were matching each other at every exchange. Filip Kiss's tackling credentials were shown off through numerous last-ditch efforts, most often denying the dangerous Constable. Chapman managed a rare opening for a shot on goal on the hour, but in keeping with his side's efforts in the first half was unable to find a way past Marshall.
An excellent pass from substitute Ralls found its way to Velikonja who fired left-footed at the target. At full stretch, keeper Clarke could only manage to push the ball into the path of Filip Kiss, who made no error in finding the net for City's second goal of the afternoon.
GOAL: OXFORD UNITED 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Filip Kiss, 62 mins)
Oxford Substitutions: Deane Smalley and Tom Craddock on for James Constable and Adam Chapman (63 mins)
Cardiff Substitutions: Dekel Keinan, Ben Nugent and Kevin Sainte-Luce on for Mark Hudson, Andrew Taylor and Craig Conway (68 mins)
Amongst all the customary pre-season substitutions Oxford pulled one back. The Bluebirds' defence struggled to deal with a corner from Oxford's left, allowing Alfie Potter to turn and drive home from 15 yards.
GOAL: OXFORD UNITED 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Alfie Potter, 74 mins)
Oxford Substitutions : Ryan Tafazoli, Jon-Paul Pittman, Courtney Harris, Alex Evans and Sean McGinty on for Jake Forster-Caskey, Tony Capaldi, Sean Rigg, Damian Batt and Jake Wright (75 mins)
Cardiff Substitutions: Adedeji Oshilaja, Elliott Parish and Theo Wharton on for Ben Turner, David Marshall and Peter Whittingham (75 mins)
Parish was made to endure a difficult introduction as he twice came to Cardiff's rescue, the first to tip away from a shot deflected off Keinan and the second a smart stop from Pittman. Parish then tipped over from Tom Craddock as the youthful City side found themselves under sustained pressure from United, who were giving City their all in their desperate pursuit for an equaliser.
Cardiff Substitutions: Nat Jarvis and Tommy O'Sullivan on for Filip Kiss and Etien Velikonja (82 mins)
Robert Earnshaw soon headed an effort off the line before Parish again denied Craddock, the former Aston Villa keeper getting a serious workout in the Cardiff goal. As the last five minutes approached, Parish smothered a weak Craddock effort before Oxford's closest effort of all, as the last kick of the match was a free kick by Craddock which struck the post and rebounded away: the home fans in the south stand were on their feet ready to celebrate. The referee's whistle was a relief for the Bluebirds, though they will have been pleased to have held on under such prolonged Oxford pressure.
FULL TIME: OXFORD UNITED 1-2 CARDIFF CITY
Attendance: 1809 (436 away)
Clarke (GK), Batt, Raynes, Wright (c), Chapman, Constable, Rigg, Potter, Capaldi, Forster-Caskey, Cox. Oxford United: McGinty, Smalley, Pittman, Brown (GK), Craddock, Harris, Tafazoli, Evans.Subs:
Marshall (GK), McNaughton, Taylor, Kiss, Hudson (c), Turner, Whittingham, Cowie, Velikonja, Helguson. Cardiff City: Earnshaw, Ralls, Blake, Keinan, Parish (GK), Nugent, Lewis (GK), Jarvis, Oshilaja, Sainte-Luce, O'Sullivan, Wharton.Subs:
Andrew Woolmer (Northamptonshire)Referee: