PREVIEW: CARDIFF V NORWICH
5 years 8 months ago
CARDIFF 2-1 NORWICH
A Kenwyne Jones debut goal and first goal of the season for Craig Bellamy saw the Bluebirds to three vital points, a 2-1 win over Norwich City and a first Premier League victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.
Two quick-fire goals at the start of the second half saw Solskjaer's side overturn the Canaries' first-half advantage, claimed by a sixth minute strike from winger Robert Snodgrass.
Craig Bellamy got the leveller for the Bluebirds just four minutes into the second half, a goal that sees him become the first player in Premier League history to score for seven different clubs in the competition, before Kenwyne Jones fired home a debut goal just two minutes later.
It proved to be the winning goal despite plenty of pressure from the Canaries as they pushed for the equaliser, David Marshall playing a huge part in securing all three points with a series of outstanding saves.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer introduced new signings Fabio da Silva and Kenwyne Jones into the starting-11 with fellow January signings Mats Moller Daehli, Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Wilfried Zaha taking their place on the bench.
Early on, new signing Fabio instantly combined with Craig Noone down the right, Noone floating a ball just behind Jordon Mutch. His unorthodox overhead kick fell wide as Cardiff attacked from the off with impetus.
Gutierrez then mustered a headed reply that flew over the bar as Norwich fought back, and the home crowd were dealt a sucker punch inside the first six minutes as Olsson was freed down the left with a brilliant one-two. His delivery dropped to Scotland international Robert Snodgrass who dispatched easily with a cool left-footed finish.
With the wind in their sails, Norwich imposed theirselves quickly on the game forcing Ole's team back. Cardiff were struggling to hold onto the ball, until Noone found some space on the right delivering early into the path of Mutch. The midfielder slid in but the flight of the ball drifted agonisingly away, out for a goal kick.
Ryan Bennett collected a booking for bringing Bellamy down, the striker initially winning the ball pressing high but Medel's delivery cleared Caulker by no more than a foot. The Chilean then tried his luck from distance, an effort Ruddy collected calmly.
Gary Hooper's presence in and around the Cardiff area was proving tricky to deal with, the Norwich frontman holding the ball up effectively.
It was on the twenty-five minute mark that Cardiff really grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck for the first time, a long period of retained possession for the home side culminating in Noone wriggling away from the challenge of Sebastien Bassong to fire a shot just wide of the near post.
Bellamy, Noone and Kenwyne Jones then combined to produce Cardiff's best move, a corner the result. Norwich dealt with the first, giving away another. Bellamy's second ball caused even more problems, Norwich unable to clear. Kenwyne Jones' physical presence was allowing Cardiff an outlet, and twice in quick succession the big striker brought the ball down with great awareness for Noone to feed off.
Bradley Johnson gave Cardiff a warning as Snodgrass pioneered a swift counter-attack, young Declan John jockeying well to force the ball out to Russell Martin. Martin then rolled the ball across the edge of the eighteen yard box to the onrushing Bradley Johnson, the Englishman's shot blocked by Steven Caulker.
In a bid to find an equaliser Ole Gunnar Solksjaer then handed Wilfried Zaha an earlier than expected debut, replacing Peter Whittingham and moving Jordon Mutch into central midfield. Zaha made an instant impact winning two fouls down the left, Cardiff's urgency increasing. Bellamy played Kenwyne Jones through with a fantastic weighted ball but then failed to move for the return pass, the ball rolling teasingly across Ruddy's path before being cleared. Had the Welshman burst into the box after releasing his strike partner he would surely have had the easiest finishes, such was the intelligence of Jones' cut back.
However, for all the intent Cardiff ended the half goalless, a huge second half awaiting.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-1 NORWICH CITY
If the start of the first half was difficult, the start of the second could only be labelled a dream for the Bluebirds as they quickly overturned the one goal deficit.
Wilfried Zaha picked up the ball after some intense Cardiff pressing from a loose Norwich pass, calmly picking his opportunity to play a through ball between the Norwich defenders. Craig Bellamy beat the offside trap and calmly dispatched past Ruddy, the Welshman becoming the first man to score for seven different Premier League Clubs.
The celebrations didn't end there as Cardiff again won the ball from some sloppy Norwich play, Kenwyne Jones' capping off a fine debut with his first Cardiff City goal. His initial header was turned away but he made no mistake second time around, sending the Cardiff home support into the rafters. The incredible turnaround emphasised Cardiff's balance on the wings, breaking with pace through Zaha and Noone.
Norwich were far from beaten as Bradley Johnson demonstrated with a curled effort that Marshall tipped onto the bar.
Solksjaer's second change brought Jordon Mutch off on the sixty-sixth minute, to be replaced by Aron Gunnarsson. Gutierrez tried his luck from range but the shot was deflected for a Norwich corner – the first of a seemingly endless barrage. Kenwyne Jones headed comfortably over his own bar, and the second delivery from Snodgrass was again met by the Cardiff frontman, his aerial presence useful in both boxes.
Kevin Theophile-Catherine replaced Fabio on the seventy-five minute mark, the young Brazillian looking in some discomfort. Chris Hughton responded with a triple substitution, bringing on Nathan Redmond, Leroy Fer and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel in place of Bradley Johnson, Johan Elmander and Jonas Gutierrez.
Nathan Redmond was the most dangerous of the trio, instantly put the ball in the back of Marshall's net. The linesman however had raised his flag before the shot was released, much to the dissapointment of the travelling contingent. Redmond nearly acomplished the feat again, this time from the edge of the box but for an outstanding Marshall save, the Scotland goalkeeper dropping like a stone to his right. Cardiff were in need of a talisman, and moments later Bellamy headed away off the line, the Norwich siege eventually ended when Mark Clattenburg was forced to stop to the game due to a head injury to Steven Caulker.
Norwich had grown into the game once more, a succession of well delivered corners from the right side defended by Cardiff but only as far as the eighteen yard box. Substitute Leroy Fer had a headed effort beaten away by Marshall.
Norwich again had the ball in the back of the net, this time through Hooper, only to be pulled back for an offside call once again before the game entered into its dying moments with five minutes of added time.
Norwich's barrage of balls into the box and shots from just outside was increasingly playing with the nerves of the home support, Bassong's header flying over. The tension was finally broken as Noone ran to the line, winning a corner.
Clattenburg ended the game to a roar of relief, Cardiff picking up their first home points of 2014 with an outstanding fight back.
FULL TIME: Cardiff City 2-1 Norwich City
Team - Cardiff City: Marshall, Fabio (Théophile-Catherine, 75), John, Medel, Caulker, Turner, Noone, Whittingham (Zaha, 38), Jones, Bellamy, Mutch (Gunnarsson, 67) Subs not used: Campbell, Wolff Eikrem, Daehli.
Goals: Bellamy (49), Jones (51).
Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Olsson, Tettey, R Bennett, Bassong, Snodgrass, Johnson (Fer 75), Hooper, Elmander (van Wolfswinkel, 75), Gutiérrez (Redmond 75). Subs not used: Bunn, Whittaker, Pilkington, Becchio.
Goal: Snodgrass (5)