STALEMATE AT JOHN SMITH'S STADIUM
Cardiff City fought out a 0-0 draw with Huddersfield Town on Saturday, extending their Championship lead to eleven points in the process.
Despite the scoreline the game had plenty of incident, Matt Connolly's twenty-five yard half volley crashing against the crossbar proving the moment of note during the opening forty-five minutes.
And City had plenty of possession in the final third after the break too - Craig Bellamy, Ben Nugent and Craig Conway each going close to breaking the deadlock.
Huddersfield by contrast failed to cause David Marshall any problems, in a game that they may feel happy to have taken a point from.
Cardiff started at a good tempo at the John Smith’s Stadium, coping well with the very uneven and uncompromising surface. Huddersfield ‘s support were unforgiving from the off, their side’s sloppy midfield passing leading to some good attacking positions for Cardiff.
Huddersfield’s first attack came through Sean Scannell, the former Palace midfielder showing neat footwork to weave his way into the penalty area and win a corner on ten minutes. Fortunately for City, the set piece was poor and easily dealt with by Andrew Taylor.
City were very much the better side in the opening twenty minutes, though Alex Smithies was yet to be troubled in the Terriers’ goal. A cynical tug by Taylor as Neil Danns looked to break certainly woke the John Smith’s Stadium though, making for a bubbling atmosphere as the game’s first period crossed its half way point.
Huddersfield thought they’d taken the lead in the twenty-eighth minute as James Vaughan skewed the ball home from a corner kick following a penalty area melee. Fortunately for the Championship leaders, referee Brown blew for an infringement, having seen a push on David Marshall in the build-up.
The first save of the game was made by Town’s Smithies in the thirty-ninth minute. Craig Bellamy lined up a free-kick from thirty yards out, striking hard through the wall and forcing the keeper into a smart save down to his right. City asked for a handball inside the area from the following phase of play, though nothing was given.
The best opportunity of the game came in first half stoppage time. Matt Connolly hit a bouncing ball on the half volley from the edge of the area that had Smithies beaten, though clattered off the crossbar denying the defender his fifth goal of the campaign. A second serious looking injury to Kevin McNaughton brought an end to proceedings in the first half, though thankfully the City servant walked unaided off the field with only a head wound.
HALF TIME: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
Substitution Cardiff City: Heidar Helguson for Kim Bo-Kyung (45 mins)
Substitution Cardiff City: Ben Nugent for Kevin McNaughton (45 mins)
Huddersfield were the first to threaten goal in the second half, with the impressive Sean Scannell firing low and hard at Marshall who had to palm the ball around the post on forty-eight minutes.
Referee Brown had a big decision to make in the fifty-eighth minute and opted to show Ben Nugent a yellow card. The defender had appeared to make contact with Scannell’s face as he broke down the right flank - which while perhaps an accurate assumption, was done with no malice. Huddersfield’s players and fans called for red, though any such decision would have been extremely harsh on the increasingly impressive youngster.
With Town seemingly at odds with each other in defence, City had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring. Bellamy timed his run to perfection to meet a perfect Conway pass, though with the surface playing havoc, Bellamy’s effort drifted wide.
But City were beginning to go through the gears, causing Huddersfield problems a plenty in the final third. Conway was the next to try for goal with a fine right footed effort, before Nugent’s near post header looked destined for the corner of the net only to flash wide of the upright.
Substitution Cardiff City: Fraizer Campbell for Tommy Smith (73 mins)
A rare venture into the final third for Huddersfield almost bore an opportunity for James Vaughan in the closing quarter of an hour. Scannell’s cross from deep on the right looked to have cleared the City backline en route to the striker, though a magnificent aerial interception from Mark Hudson ensured Marshall wouldn’t be called into action.
Substitution Huddersfield Town: Alan Lee for James Vaughan (90 mins)
Substitution Huddersfield Town: Chris Atkinson for Oliver Norwood (84 mins)
The last chance of note for City came in stoppage time. The superb Andrew Taylor made a foraging run forward in pursuit of the Town area, only to be scythed down unceremoniously by Jack Hunt. Bellamy stepped up to take the free-kick, though the wall did its job and Huddersfield had their point.
FULL TIME: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0-0 CARDIFF CITY