Cardiff City remain undefeated at CCS under Russell Slade as they earned a clean sheet against visitors Rotherham United.
A routine first half played out with both sides’ best chances coming from aerial balls into the box. Sean Morrison, Ben Turner and Kenwyne Jones went close though none could test stopper Collin to any real extent. For the visitors, Tom Lawrence and Ben Pringle were finding joy in the midfield though they too were guilty of wasting opportunities.
The second period saw Cardiff City explode into life, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck as the half wore on. Though several chances came City’s way through hard work and endeavor with Craig Noone, Federico Macheda and Adam le Fondre going close though the golden touch deserted the Bluebirds. 0-0 the final score, City remaining two points and three places from the play-off positions.
With eighteen points out of twenty-four so far and a perfect home record, Cardiff City were looking to make it six home wins on the bounce. It was to be one change for the home side, as Kim Bo-Kyung came in as a straight swap to replace the injured Anthony Pilkington.
Ben Turner cut out Rotherham’s first foray forward, our visitors starting the game comfortably. Emmanuel Ledesma claimed the first shot of the match as he sent a tentative half volley wide of David Marshall’s left stick before Kim floated a left-footed cross in the direction of Kenwyne Jones, though Adam Collin collected comfortably.
With both sides jousting for territory in the opening stages, Ben Pringle let fly from twenty yards but his effort sailed high and wide. Peter Whittingham then had a chance to whip in a free kick from just inside the Millers half into a dangerous area, Sean Morrison meeting it aggressively; unfortunately for the commanding centre-half, his effort dropped wide of the mark.
Welsh U21 international Tom Lawrence did well to drift into the Cardiff area and laid the ball off well but Matthew Connolly read the situation perfectly, intercepting the pass in his stride and offloading to Adam le Fondre – the striker brought down to relieve pressure on his team mates .Ben Turner then went one better as Rotherham surged forward, stealing the ball as it slid past Marshall with the goal gaping.
Ben Pringle was being allowed time and space in United’s midfield to pick a pass, popping up around the eighteen-yard box to good effect in the opening quarter. Pringle then powered a deep cross that came tantalisingly close to ending up in the City net - a warning for Slade’s men. Morrison then sent a headed reply over the bar from another Whittingham free kick as Cardiff searched for a foothold in the game.
Cardiff started to grow into the game with ten minutes left in the first half. Brayford tried a long-range drive that was collected by stopper Adam Collin as Craig Noone started to impose his self on the match for the first time. Two driving runs led to crosses, the moves positive; Noone then deftly nutmegged Ben Pringle before unleashing a rasping drive. Matthew Connolly’s deft touches led to City winning a corner kick though the headed effort went sailing over, calling an end to a first half in which both sides defended well but were routine when going forward.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 ROTHERHAM UNITED
Tom Lawrence had an early opportunity to open the scoring when he drilled low from just inside the area but David Marshall was equal to the effort. Emmanuel Ledesma then came even closer with a bending twenty-two yard free kick that had visiting supporters convinced – though the ball had in fact, hit the side-netting.
A mazy run by Noone had home supporters on the edge of their seat as the winger skipped through three Rotherham defenders before being dispossessed on the edge of the opposing area. City were starting to move the ball around with purpose, culminating in an athletic Kenwyne Jones header creeping closer than previous efforts, falling just over the bar.
Substitution Cardiff City: Kenwyne Jones replaced by Federico Macheda (65 minutes)
Craig Noone hit a rasping volley that deflected off target and Ledesma responded, sending his own stinging drive that Marshall palmed away.
Cardiff had stepped up a gear, exhibiting more flair in the final third as Noone, Whittingham and le Fondre saw efforts blocked. Macheda then found a pocket of space on the left and had the whole ground convinced he had scored – but agonisingly, the effort trickled inches wide. As Cardiff piled on the pressure Rotherham broke away and a floating cross fell to Alex Revell. The striker seemed to have all the time in the world as he attacked the ball at the back post but his effort ricochet off the Cardiff crossbar, via the stretched fingertips of City skipper David Marshall.
Substitution Rotherham: Emmanuel Ledesma replaced by Jordan Bowery (73 minutes)
The game seemed to come to life more and more as the second half wore on, the visitors being pushed deeper into their own half. Cardiff were enjoying the vast majority of the ball and were going forward penetratingly, moving into space and generally making life hard for the Millers.
Substitution Cardiff: Matthew Connolly replaced by Fabio (79 minutes)
Substitution Cardiff: Adam Le Fondre replaced by Ravel Morrison (83 minutes)
Substitution Rotherham: Ben Pringle replaced by Paul Taylor (83 minutes)
City were by now in full flow, Fabio going close as he watched the ball drop before unleashing a speculative volley - but Rotherham were equal, hanging on through determination and grit. Each time the away side regained possession, Cardiff were quick to close down early and efficiently - though the clock was fast running out.
Substitution Rotherham: Tom Lawrence replaced by Jonson Clarke-Harris (88 minutes)
The fourth official indicated four minutes of added time with Rotherham happy to see the game out. Our visitors earned a throw in deep in the Cardiff half to relieve pressure and it was to be the last action of the match, Andy D’Urso blowing up to end proceedings.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 ROTHERHAM UNITED
Referee: Andy D’Urso
Cardiff City: Marshall, Brayford, Turner, S. Morrison, Connolly, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone, Kim, Le Fondre, Jones. Subs: Moore, Fabio, Macheda, Adeyemi, Dæhli, Ralls, R. Morrison.
Rotherham United: Collin, Arnason, Revell, Green, Pringle, Morgan, Wooton, James, Ledesma, Smallwood, Lawrence. Subs: Thompson, Bowery, Richardson, Newton, Brandy, Taylor, Clarke-Harris.