City Flashback - 2003 | An impressive Ninian Park victory over the Hornets
As the Bluebirds prepare to face Watford at Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday night, we take a look back at a memorable performance against the Hornets in 2003.
City went into the contest on the back of an impressive 3-1 win over Coventry and a goalless draw against West Ham United at Ninian Park.
The Bluebirds were in search of a fourth home win of the campaign, with the first coming in a 4-1 victory over Derby County on 25 August, in which forward Alan Lee netted his first goal in City colours.
The Hornets had endured a tough start to the season, meanwhile, winning just four of their opening 15 league games, and, in front of 14,011 fans, the Bluebirds seized their opportunity.
After a cagey opening to the early exchanges, Robert Earnshaw, looking to continue his fine goal-scoring form, netted his 15th goal of the campaign in the 13th minute. After some fine individual play, he showed great composure to round goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley before firing into the empty net.
In a brilliant performance, chances fell for Earnshaw, Graham Kavanagh and John Robinson, as City pushed for a second.
The Bluebirds weren’t to be denied, however, doubling the advantage through a Tony Vidmar just past the hour mark. Kavanagh’s in-swinger corner caused chaos in the visitors' box and ex-Rangers defender Vidmar was on hand to drill the ball into the corner.
City wrapped up all three points late on, with Kavanagh clinically finishing into the back of the net after some good link-up play between Robinson and Earnshaw in the build-up.
Netting his fourth goal of the 2003/04 campaign, the midfielder would go on to surpass his goalscoring tally from the previous season.
Having moved to South Wales in 2001 before earning promotion with the Bluebirds as captain in only his second season with the Club, the Irish international's return to the second tier after a five-year absence was a welcome one for both himself and City supporters.
In total, Kavanagh led the Bluebirds in 30 league appearances that season, with seven goals, scored along the way as City fought to successfully secure their place in the division.
Speaking about his Cardiff City experience to cardiffcityfc.co.uk in early 2021, Kav said: “I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise how big Cardiff City was as a Club until I joined. I could see the passion of the fans, as well as the determination of the city for the Club to do well. Also, the responsibility as a player and as a captain was a driving force, which I thrived on during my time there. I felt that with the timing of my arrival it was a really good fit.
“It was an easy sell getting me to move to South Wales, as I knew the role that I was meant to fill in the squad. I was coming into the prime of my career in terms of my experience and career, so it was an all-round good move for me."