GLORIOUS RETURN FOR NICKY AT KC
On the final day of the season, Cardiff City and Hull City were involved in a match of unrivaled drama which ultimately saw the Tigers join the Bluebirds in the Premier League.
With Hull City leading the game 2-1 going into stoppage time, their passage to the top was all but secure but Cardiff City lived up to their title of ‘Champions’ and ensured a dramatic close to a memorable season.
Cardiff City fans’ favourite, Andrew Taylor was dismissed as the final whistle neared and Hull were awarded a penalty shortly after following a perceived Ben Nugent foul to put the game beyond doubt. David Marshall was on hand though to show why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the land, pulling off a trademark stop to deny Nick Proschwitz.
Cardiff then rampaged up the opposite end of the pitch and were awarded a penalty of their own for handball with the returning Nicky Maynard firing home the spot kick adding to City’s goal tally following Fraizer Campbell’s earlier strike.
As the Hull fans waited anxiously, news filtered through from Vicarage Road that Leeds United had defeated Watford, beginning manic scenes of celebrations.
As Kool and the Gang- Celebration boomed from the speakers, both Cardiff and Hull fans rejoiced in safe knowledge that they are both Premier League football clubs and will be taking on the big boys next season. This was a fantastic advert for the football brotherhood with Cardiff fans applauding their counterparts' passage back to the Premier League.
In the final game of what has been a historic season, Malky MacKay made three changes from the side that drew against Bolton last week.
Etien Velikonja took his place in the forward line, replacing the injured Craig Bellamy. Ben Nugent also replaced Matt Connolly and goal hero from last week, Craig Noone started in place of Rudy Gestede.
Both sides were greeted by a rapturous reception as they walked out for the crucial game with the KC Stadium throbbing. Hull City attacked towards Cardiff’s 2,200 fans who were in full party mode and were fully clad in a number of fancy dress costumes to celebrate the club’s Championship success.
The Tigers were clearly spurred on by their side’s boisterous support and had the ball in the back of the net after eight minutes but George Boyd was ruled to be offside.
Despite Hull’s attacking intent, Ben Turner and Ben Nugent were composed in the heart of defence and restricted the home side to few clear cut goal scoring opportunities.
Cardiff nearly made Hull pay for not making the most of their period of attacking pressure after nineteen minutes. Flying Scotsman, Craig Conway, waltzed his way down the left flank before darting inside the box and seeing his raking drive fly by the post. Captain Andrew Taylor received a harsh booking for his reaction to conceding a free-kick shortly after.
With half an hour gone, Hull City had their best chance of the half when Robbie Brady sent a twenty yard shot towards goal but he thumped it over the crossbar. The game was played at a frantic pace and after thirty-seven minutes, Jordan Mutch was close to opening the scoring but his twenty-five yard blast rolled agonisingly by the post.
Substitution Hull: Nick Proschwitz on for Jay Simpson (42 mins)
With results at other grounds having an effect on proceedings at the KC Stadium, the home fans erupted before the break as the news of Leeds’ goal against Watford filtered around the ground.
HALF TIME: HULL CITY 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
Substitution Cardiff: Fraizer Campbell on for Etien Velikonja (45 mins)
After the break, the home fans were subdued following the news that Watford’s match had been delayed due to a serious injury and crucially, the Hornets had equalised.
Ex Hull striker, Fraizer Campbell then made matter worse for the home side when he put the Bluebirds ahead with one of his first touches of the match after coming on at half time. Kim Bo-Kyung picked up the ball inside Hull’s half before unleashing a majestic pass to Campbell who made no mistake in taking one touch before slotting home beyond David Stockdale, silencing the KC Stadium.
GOAL: HULL CITY 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Frazier Campbell, 49 mins)
After falling behind, Hull surged forward and had the ball in the back of the net through substitute, Proschwitz, but for the second time in the game, the home side saw a goal ruled out by the assistant.
Nick Proschwitz wasn’t to be denied though and he ensured pandemonium occurred after fifty-eight minutes when he latched onto the end of a cross, thumping home beyond David Marshall.
GOAL: HULL CITY 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (Nick Proschwitz, 58 mins)
Four minutes later, mayhem ensued once more, after Hull took the lead, with Paul McShane making the net bulge from close range. Hull had turned this game on its head in the space of four minutes, with errors at the back proving costly for Cardiff.
GOAL- HULL CITY 2-1 CARDIFF CITY (Paul McShane, 62 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Gestede on for Kim Bo-Kyung (63 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Nicky Maynard on for Craig Noone (84 minutes)
Andrew Taylor picked up a very harshly given second yellow on the ninety minute mark, reducing Cardiff to ten men as the game neared a close. Hull City thought they had sealed promotion soon after as they were awarded a penalty in the dying moments following a Ben Nugent foul in the box. When the referee awarded the spot kick, a premature Hull pitch invasion ensued and once the fans were cleared from the pitch, they were left disappointed after David Marshall dived to his left and saved Proschwitz’s penalty. The high drama would continue.
RED CARD: Andrew Taylor, Cardiff City, (90 mins)
With results going their way, Hull were Premier League bound, but Cardiff put another spanner in the works when they were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time from the very next attack. With the KC Stadium praying for Stockdale to make the save, the returning hero Nicky Maynard showed incredible composure to slam the spot kick home.
GOAL: HULL CITY 2-2 CARDIFF CITY (Nicky Maynard, 90 mins)
As the final whistle blew, the Hull fans invaded the pitch and waited patiently for Leeds to do them a favour. When the news filtered through that Watford had lost, scenes of euphoria broke out in the stadium, with Cardiff fans joining the Hull fans in a chorus of ‘We are going up’!
FINAL SCORE: HULL CITY 2-2 CARDIFF CITY