Greg Halford

City Flashback - 2017 | Halford secures Cup progress against Pompey

As the Bluebirds prepare to face Portsmouth at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday evening, we take a look back at a notable Carabao Cup meeting between the two sides.

City went into the First Round contest on 8th August, 2017, on the back of an important 1-0 away victory over Burton Albion on the opening day of the 2017/18 SkyBet Championship season.

Chances were at a premium early on, with neither side gaining a real foothold in the game. City’s first real opportunity came in the fifteenth minute through Danny Ward; the forward’s effort from range took a deflection, and was narrowly diverted away from the bottom corner.

Meanwhile, at the other end Kyle Bennett found space and fired a low effort just wide of Brian Murphy’s goal.

Just after the half-hour mark, Pompey drew first blood in the tie and took the lead after City skipper Sean Morrison inadvertently directed Kal Naismith's cross into his own net. 

Moments later, Neil Warnock's men came close to an equaliser after two dangerous opportunities via a Greg Halford long throw and a looping corner from Lee Tomlin.

Despite their pressure though, Portsmouth remained resilient and took a one-goal advantage into half-time.

Stuart O'Keefe, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Danny Ward, Lee Tomlin

The second period began with the Bluebirds applying immediate pressure; centre back Bruno Ecuele Manga struck the bar after he connected with an inviting free-kick delivered in by Tomlin. 

The Bluebirds maintained their pressure, and were rewarded with an equaliser two minutes later. On the left flank, Matty Kennedy used his pace and skill to bypass his marker before flashing a low cross across the box. The ball evaded Tomlin and Ward, before arriving at the feet of substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who neatly applied a side-foot finish. 

City stepped up their search for a winner, with some well-worked passing moves in-and-around the Pompey box. One such move saw Mendez-Laing tee up Kennedy, with the winger seeing his close-range effort poked to safety by Luke McGee.

With both sides failing to score a winner within 90 minutes, the tie was sent into an additional 30 minutes of extra-time.

City entered the final stages looking the most likely team to score, but faced a stern Pompey defence who were keen to throw themselves in front of any Cardiff shot on goal.

But with seven minutes to go on the clock, the Bluebirds finally found their well-deserved winner through former Pompey man Halford. 

A driven corner from Junior Hoilett evaded the mass of bodies in the box, falling to City’s number fifteen to powerfully volley into the bottom corner and ensure safe passage into the Second Round.

Following the cup victory, City went on to face Burton Albion in the next round of the competition, but were knocked out by the Bluebirds’ fellow Championship opponents after a 2-1 defeat.