REPORT | CARDIFF CITY 0-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Cardiff City slipped to defeat against Newcastle United in the Bluebirds' final home game of 2016/17.
TWO GOALS CHALKED OFF
Met with an incredible atmosphere from both sets of fans, the game began with each side playing with attacking intent. Looking particularly sharp on the Cardiff flank was Kadeem Harris, until his unfortunate withdrawal due to injury after twenty-four minutes.
The Bluebirds had the ball in the back of the net twice in the first period, but both efforts were disallowed. Firstly, from a Peter Whittingham corner, skipper Sean Morrison headed into the net, only for the referee to adjudge that he had fouled his marker in the process.
Eleven minutes later, City beat the Magpies’ defence to put the ball home again, only for an offside call to rule out the goal. Aron Gunnarsson had made an excellent run into the box, before connecting with the ball in an offside position. Junior Hoilett’s simple tap in was subsequently disallowed for the earlier offence, seeing the teams go in at the break with the scoreline goalless.
UNITED TAKE CONTROL
The second period began with chances for both sides, with substitute Craig Noone spurring Cardiff’s best opportunity. A floated ball from the overlapping Joe Bennett found the winger at the back post, who could only volley wide of goal. At the other end, Mohamed Diamé went to ground under pressure, but penalty appeals were waved away. Similarly, Kenneth Zohore found himself on the end of a tough tackle inside the box, although the ball was fairly won and play continued.
After fifty-five minutes, a close-range free-kick from Christian Atsu opened the scoring for the visitors. A mazy run from the winger eventually saw him upended on the edge of the box by Morrison, and despite the City man’s appeals a free kick was given. Atsu stepped up, and curled the ball into the right hand corner for his fifth strike of the season.
Ten minutes after the opener, Newcastle doubled their lead through midfielder Isaac Hayden. The former Arsenal youngster picked the ball up in a central position, and fired a powerful strike past Allan McGregor and into the bottom corner.
CITY FINISH THEIR HOME CAMPAIGN
In an almost immediate response, Anthony Pilkington inadvertently came close with a looping cross, which almost caught out United keeper Rob Elliot. From the resulting Noone corner, Bruno Manga had a golden chance to claw one back. He latched onto the delivery at the back post, but could only direct his header over the bar. Newcastle almost snatched a third through Aleksander Mitrović, who latched onto an under-hit headed backpass. However, ‘City keeper McGregor was alert to it, producing an impressive tackle to deny the Serbian striker.
After seventy-three minutes, another headed chance fell to Zohore, who again couldn’t find the target. Bennett was the provider, with a cross from the left flank. The Danish striker connected powerfully, but couldn’t keep his header down. Showing their impressive attacking talent, the Magpies again went close through Mitrović, A powerful strike from the forward brought a smart save from the feet of McGregor, denying Newcastle a decisive third.
The best Cardiff opportunity of the final quarter fell to Noone, after Zohore passed him the ball in the area. The winger received the ball at the back post, but his effort flew over the ball. The final whistle confirmed a losing end to what has been an impressive season at home for City, with the fans giving Neil Warnock and his team a standing ovation during their end-of-season lap of honour.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED