REPORT | BLUEBIRDS AND SEAGULLS SHARE THE SPOILS
A determined performance saw the Bluebirds take a point against promotion favourites Brighton and Hove Albion, with Kadeem Harris and Sean Morrison coming closest for City.
CARDIFF’S ATTACKING OPENING
Following a perfectly observed minute’s silence in remembrance of the Chapecoense team, the Bluebirds tested keeper David Stockdale with some early efforts. After five minutes, Aron Gunnarsson fired the first shot on target after some fancy footwork, although the Brighton stopper was equal to it. Fellow midfielder Peter Whittingham also went close, picking up a loose ball after a silky Junior Hoilett run, only to shoot over the crossbar.
At the other end, Brighton’s best first-half chance fell to the prolific Glenn Murray. After striker partner Sam Baldock stole the ball, the loanee raced towards the back post, aiming to meet Baldock’s low pass. However, Murray couldn’t time his run quite right, with the pass slightly behind him. Towards the end of the first period, Jamie Murphy struck a fierce attempt from the edge of the area, only to be denied by a Sol Bamba block. Jiri Skalak couldn’t quite find the target with a powerful half-volley, bringing the first half to a close with the scoreline goalless.
CHANCES IN BOTH BOXES
The Bluebirds picked up where they left off after the interval, with Bamba coming close to opening the scoring. A delicate Joe Ralls cross was aimed towards the defender, whose header fell wide of the post. From a similar area to his cross minutes earlier, Ralls had a strike of his own, which arrowed away from the far post.
The Seagulls, unbeaten in twelve league matches ahead of this encounter, were looking dangerous in the forward regions of the pitch, with Baldock going close on two occasions. Firstly, he squeezed in behind Bamba and looked set to strike, before the Ivorian intervened with a last ditch tackle. Soon afterwards, the striker found himself free in the City box, only to drag his effort well wide, across the six yard box.
CITY AND ALBION SHARE POINTS
Arguably the best City chance came with fifteen minutes to go, as the Bluebirds were denied on two occasions. A ball into the area from the left flank fell to Harris, who aimed a spectacular bicycle kick towards goal. That effort was blocked, although Morrison connected with the rebound, looping a header towards goal. The back-pedaling Stockdale was equal to it, grasping the ball on the line to keep his clean sheet intact.
Albion thought they had taken the lead with ten minutes left, after a corner kick was turned home by Murray. However, the referee had already blown, awarding a free-kick to Cardiff, thanks to a foul in the build-up. Ben Amos was called into action in the final stages, completing a shut-out of his own. A fine save denied Baldock once again, with blocks from Bamba and Morrison denying the Brighton front-three.
The injury-time dismissal of Gaetan Bong couldn’t aid City in their quest for a winner, with the left-back sent off for a second booking, hacking down Kadeem Harris on the right hand side. The game finished goalless, with Cardiff facing Ipswich Town next Saturday, away at Portman Road.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Cardiff City: Amos, Bennett, Bamba, Morrison, Connolly, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Hoilett (Richardson ‘90), Harris Gounongbe (Pilkington ’70). Subs not used: Wilson, Manga, Noone, Chamakh, Zohore.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Saltor, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Stephens, Sidwell, Skalak (Knockaert ’71), Murphy, Baldock (Pocognoli ‘90+2), Murray. Subs not used: Maenpaa, Goldson, Norwood, March, Hemed.