HEIDAR & HUDS EARN CITY WIN
Cardiff City make it eight home wins out of eight on Saturday.
Cardiff played an in-form Hull team in a third versus fourth encounter that proved, at times, as close as the table suggested. Craig Noone found Heidar Helguson unmarked at the back post early on, the striker finishing well inside two minutes to give Cardiff an almost instantaneous lead. But the goal wasn't without incident; Helguson needed six minutes of treatment after colliding with the post, but soon after was back on the pitch to great applause. Malky Mackay then faced a tactical reshuffle when Kevin McNaughton was forced off through injury; Gunnarsson filled in at right back, a position the Icelandic International never looked out of place in.
The second half brought the best out of Hull as the Tigers attempted to pull one back. But a resolute Cardiff defence held out well, forcing Hull to shoot from distance, Marshall untroubled.
It took until the eightieth minute for the game's second goal, Mark Hudson rising to meet a Gunnarsson cross, making it 2-0 as a sigh of relief was let out around CCS. However, a nervy period of stoppage time ensued as Hull managed to pull one back, Koren looping a half volley over a helpless Marshall.
But the finish was anti-climatic, the Bluebirds successfully closing the game out to earn their twenty-fourth point out of twenty-four at home. Cardiff will now look to carry their sensational home form over to their next fixture, hosting Middlesbrough on November 17th.
With an eighth successive home victory the goal, it took less than three minutes for Cardiff to find the back of the net. Craig Noone picked the ball up on the right, jinking onto his left before whipping a far post cross into Heidar Helguson's path. The Icelandic international buried his header with aplomb, but collided with the post in doing so.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1 – 0 HULL CITY (Helguson, 2 mins)
Fortunately Helguson could play on after medical attention, much to the home crowd's appreciation. Peter Whittingham then hit a thirty five yard free kick to the bottom right of the Hull goal, but Ben Amos collected routinely. At the other end, Robert Koren hit a speculative effort straight at Marshall, who saved with ease.
Cardiff were enjoying much of the ball, Whittingham delivering a corner that Hudson rose to meet, but the captain saw his header crash against the bar. Joe Mason then put a header across goal that Amos struggled to deal with, as Cardiff forced another corner, keeping the pressure up. Aron Gunnarsson saw a header fall the wrong side of the post, before Koren tried again from range, this time his effort falling well wide.
Substitution Cardiff: Filip Kiss on for Kevin McNaughton (18 mins)
With Kevin McNaughton forced off early through injury, Gunnarsson dropped to right back and Filip Kiss took up the central midfield role, alongside Whittingham. Kim Bo-Kyung was playing with confidence, picking up the ball across the breadth of midfield and attacking the Hull back line.
It took until the twenty-fifth minute for Hull to enjoy a prolonged period of possession. As Cardiff regained control, Whittingham delivered a fantastic lofted ball that Noone couldn't reach, however it did force McShane into conceding a corner. The Cardiff playmaker then hit the bar from the resultant set piece, before Hull responded with a hopeful ball into the box that thus far, summed up their game. However, Hull were starting to assert their dominance, and after a deserved spell of possession, Sone Aluko let a ferocious drive fly over Marshall's bar with Hull starting to threaten around the Cardiff penalty box.
At the other end, another Whittingham corner was headed clear from two yards out, then Noone went closer with a drive that just cleared the crossbar, initially deceiving many Bluebirds fans who had thought Cardiff had found the back of the net for the second time.
Six minutes of injury time were allocated due to the aftermath of Helguson's goal, and Hull did find the back of the net, only for the linesman to cut celebrations short, ruling handball against Stephen Quinn. Cardiff went into the break a goal to the good, and although Hull enjoyed spells with the ball they couldn't make it count in the final third, Marshall largely untested.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1 – 0 HULL CITY
Substitution Cardiff: Joe Ralls on for Filip Kiss (46 mins)
From the restart, good Cardiff high pressure meant the ball never left Hull City's half for much of the opening five minutes, culminating in a Whittingham corner that was dealt with badly by the Tigers' defence. Ricocheting off the crossbar, the referee then pulled up play, penalising the Bluebirds and relieving the pressure.
Noone impressed again with a now trademark early cross into the box that Kim couldn't reach, as Cardiff settled into their rhythm. Kim then embarked on a barnstorming run, playing in Joe Mason who was unlucky to see his low finish kept out by Amos.
Substitution Hull: David Meyler on for Jay Simpson (56 mins)
Substitution Hull:Robbie Brady on for Paul McShane (56 mins)
A double substitution for Hull allowed them to take control of the game, Koren hitting a good half volley that sailed wide of Marshall's goal, as the Bluebirds defended astutely. Hull then had a penalty appeal correctly turned down, and a few minutes later Joe Mason had a more solid case waved away. Good pressing throughout the Cardiff eleven was reducing Hull to long range efforts, the Tigers lacking an incisive pass, while Cardiff started playing some of their best football so far, a lovely exchange between Whittingham, Ralls and Taylor drawing purrs of appreciation from the home fans.
Substitution Cardiff: Rudy Gestede on for Heidar Helguson (65 mins)
Hudson then headed over as Gestede made his first contribution to the match, picking the ball up out wide before laying Ralls off to shoot. His effort was blocked and picked up by Noone, who curled a twenty five yard effort toward the far post. Amos saved comfortably, and not long after Cardiff went in search of a decisive second with perhaps their best chance of the game, Gestede and Mason both being unlucky not to bundle the ball into the back of the net after both strikers showing good work rate to force an opportunity.
Sone Aluko then saw his free kick graze the top of the Cardiff crossbar, the closest Hull had come so far to scoring, and not long after the wide man picked up the ball on the right, delivering a teasing ball that Marshall collected.
Substitution Hull: Aaron McLean on for Stephen Quinn (74 mins)
Peter Whittingham delivered an out-swinging free kick from the left that the Hull defence dealt with well, and one minute later the set piece specialist hit a direct free kick at the bottom left of Amos' goal, the Hull goalkeeper conceding a corner. The resultant pressure finally told as Gunnarsson, who had deputised excellently at right back, overlapped and found Hudson with a great floated cross. The captain made no mistake from inside the six yard box, burying his header beyond Amos' reach.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2 – 0 HULL CITY (Hudson, 80 mins)
Whittingham then hit a fantastic free kick from thirty yards that bounced off the crossbar and behind, as Cardiff looked to kill the game. Noone put a teasing ball into the area that Hull dealt with, before Koren achieved what he had been threatening to do throughout much of the match, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the Cardiff area and showing good technique to hit a half volley that sailed over Marshall and nestled in the far corner of the goal.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 2 – 1 HULL CITY (Koren, 90 mins)
With four minutes of injury time, the CCS held its' collective breath as the game entered the final stages, a decidedly nervier end than most anticipated. .Thankfully for City, it passed without major event, the referee's whistle met with a sigh of relief by the home support. Continuing our fantastic record, Cardiff have now made it eight wins out of eight at home, picking up all twenty-four points on offer. It wasn't a classic display, but a solid three points were earned that could prove vital come April.