Four draws on the bounce for stronger City defenceCardiff City’s unbeaten run continued at Huddersfield Town courtesy of a 0-0 draw – a repeat of the score from the last time the two sides met on Town soil during the Bluebirds’ promotion season of 2012/13.
A subdued John Smith’s Stadium made for the setting in West Yorkshire and the opening ten minutes of this Sky Bet Championship clash did little to engage a home crowd that were very much being out-sung by their 500 or so traveling Cardiff counterparts. Town Skipper Mark Hudson was given a rousing reception from and away fans alike – and indeed it was the former Bluebirds Captain who had the first half-chance of the game, heading wide from an early Town corner.
The hosts had the better of the opening twenty minutes – but in reality, threatened little. Huddersfield’s brightest moments came from free-kicks, former Barnsley man Jacob Butterfield executing poorly from two good positions that were within striking range.
For City, it was young Matty Kennedy who proved to be the brightest attacking outlet, linking up well with Lee Peltier and the more advanced Eoin Doyle in a right hand channel. The game was finely poised midway through the half, with neither side asserting significant dominance in the final third.
Cardiff chances, Hudson headers… and a fortunate Terrier
Kennedy’s attacking influence became more significant as the first-half moved into its final fifteen minutes. The Scotland U21 international appeared to have the better of Jack Robinson, the Town left-back, and it was a one-on-one battle that the City man won that brought about the best chance of the half. A wicked right footed cross from Kennedy found an unmarked Doyle two yards from goal, though despite a powerful header, Town ‘keeper Alex Smithies pulled off a wonderful reaction save to keep the scores level.
Moments later, and Sean Morrison found himself free in the penalty area only to fire over left-footed, before two Mark Hudson headers from Town set pieces were sandwiched between another half chance – Kenwyne Jones on this occasion finding a well-positioned Smithies with his right-footed effort.
But it was during first half stoppage time that the most significant incident of the first-half came. More superb work by Kennedy and Doyle down the right brought another wicked cross from the former; Jones was breaking free of the attentions of Tommy Smith, only for the full-back to seemingly fell City’s top scorer inside the area. The Referee waved away City appeals, though his Assistant flagged for a foul. Most in attendance felt that a red card and penalty would follow, though instead, a free kick on the edge of the area and a yellow card was the decision. Whittingham’s subsequent free-kick was deflected over; Morrison was penalised from the following corner and the half time whistle sounded.
Undoubtedly fired up by the dying seconds of the opening period, Cardiff came out firing in the second half at the John Smith’s Stadium. From the very first attack, the irrepressible Kennedy laid Peter Whittingham on for a shot from inside the area; the midfielder struck his effort superbly, though last gasp Town defending saw the ball cleared to safety.
Huddersfield were looking nervous in possession, dithering in midfield and unsure how to use their attacking outlets. Kennedy continued to threaten, while Doyle did well inside the area to forge opportunities without the pay-off. Cardiff, without question, were playing like the home side in West Yorkshire.
As the game wore on into its final stages, the feeling was that if a goal were to come, then it would come for Russell Slade’s men. City were restricting Huddersfield to counter-attacking football – mainly the long central ball that was being mopped up easily by Manga and Morrison. The introduction of McAleny for Kennedy with twenty minutes left on the clock didn’t curtail Cardiff’s attacking threat, though despite good wing play, the Bluebirds weren’t able to find the telling breakthrough.
FINAL SCORE: HUDDERSFIELD 0-0 CARDIFF CITY
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Smithies, Hudson, Hogg (s.87), Scannell (s.87), Butterfield, Vaughan, Coady, Wallace, Robinson, Wells (s.67), Smith. Subs: Murphy, Edgar, Miller (67), Lolley (87), Gobern, Bunn (87), Majewski.Moore, McAleny (70), Connolly (24), Adeyemi, O’Keefe, Revell (83), Harris.Subs: Marshall, Peltier, Malone (s.24), Manga, Morrison, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone, Kennedy (s.70), Jones, Doyle (s.83). CARDIFF CITY: