Cardiff City defeat Premier League new boys Watford in their penultimate pre-season fixture.
Strong First Impressions
The visiting Hornets have been the Premier League’s most active side in the transfer window, adding ten new faces to their ranks. Five of their latest recruits were to start on a clear evening at CCS but City’s new boy, Sammy Ameobi, also looked determined to impress as he roused the Bluebirds faithful with a couple of early runs.
The visitors had their clearest opening on ten minutes, as the ever dangerous Troy Deeney was put clear. He was all set to pull the trigger too, only to be thwarted by an expertly timed Sean Morrison sliding tackle.
However, it was City who would open the scoring shortly after preventing that Hornets opener. Anthony Pilkington, one of City’s stars of pre-season, started the move as he set up a rasping drive from Scott Malone. When the ball was parried out to Joe Ralls on the left flank, his low cross was turned home by Joe Mason at the front post for his third strike of pre-season.
Hornets Sting Back
Russell Slade’s men threatened to double their lead when an intelligent run from Ameobi saw him set up Peter Whittingham. City’s number seven had dropped into a dangerous position outside the box, but fired his shot over Heurelho Gomes’s bar.
The Hornets were protecting the ball well though, as their new signings looked composed in the middle of the park. Indeed, after gaining a degree of momentum, they managed to level the score when a long ball from Craig Cathcart allowed Deeney to drift between the City centre-halves. This time Deeney made sure, dinking it past Simon Moore for 1-1.
Mason Seals City Win
The Bluebirds opted for continuity as the same eleven players came back out after the interval, while the visitors, who play host to Sevilla on Friday evening, made three changes. There were fewer chances as the clock ticked down in the second period, but Quique Flores’s men would have taken the lead had Moore not pulled off a terrific save when Ben Watson hit towards goal.
Slade chose to assess his options later on, giving Alex Revell, Stuart O’Keefe and Craig Noone an opportunity to stake their claim for a first team spot for the visit of Fulham on August 8th. One man who has certainly done just that is Mason, and he soon continued his superb form with yet another strike. Again assisted by a perfect Ralls ball, Mason stayed calm and collected to slot home, claiming victory and taking his personal pre-season tally to four.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 WATFORD (Mason, 18, 81; Deeney, 31)
CARDIFF CITY: Moore; Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone (Fábio 85); Pilkington (Noone 72), Whittingham, Dikgacoi (O’Keefe 72), Ralls; Ameobi (Revell 65), Mason (Doyle 81). Subs Not Used: Wilson, Doyle, Harris, Ajayi.
WATFORD: Gomes (Arlauskis 45); Nyom, Prödl, Cathcart, Pudil (Holebas 45); Watson, Capoue (Anya 45), Behrami (Murray), Jurado; Ighalo (Forestieri 65), Deeney (Vydra 75). Subs Not Used: Angella, Paredes, Hoban.