City History | Four for City at final Ninian Park clash with Hatters
Ahead of Saturday's fixture against the Hatters, recall a famous fixture as the two teams met for the final time at Ninian Park...
Following a draw and a loss in their two prior fixtures, the Bluebirds were looking to bounce back with a win on their return to Ninian Park on the 16th of September, 2006.
The Hatters, meanwhile, were unbeaten in two matches, with four points gathered from back-to-back fixtures at Kenilworth Road.
The hosts were gifted an early advantage at only ten minutes after kick-off, giving the Bluebirds a dream start as Lewis Emanuel was dismissed for handling Riccardo Scimeca's headed effort inside the vistors' area.
Along with the early sending off, Darren Purse made no mistake from twelve yards to put City ahead from the consequent penalty-kick. The skipper's opener was his first of the campaign, having netted six times in the previous season.
Keeping up the pressure, the Bluebirds doubled their lead on the half-hour mark, as Paul Parry curled an effort home for what was also his first of the campaign.
Running freely deep into the opposition's half, Parry positioned himself well to receive a well-placed through ball, striking with his left foot to catch shotstopper Marlon Beresford off-balance as the ball flew in well past his reach.
However, the visitors displayed their tenacity before the interval, as Rowan Vine reduced the deficit by beating 'keeper Neil Alexander.
With a comeback looking possible for the visitors from the restart, proficient goalscorer Michael Chopra settled the nerves of the City faithful around the terraces by restoring the two-goal lead in the 58th minute.
Scoring in his third successive league match, Chopra's strike off the back of a Steve Thompson flick-on was followed up by another goal for the striker in the 77th minute.
Receiving a deep cross from substitute Malvin Kamara, Chopra's composed effort put the game out of reach for the Hatters, seeing the Bluebirds return to form with a well-earned victory in South Wales.
Player Focus: Paul Parry
It was matches like the one featured here against Luton Town that City supporters fondly remember Paul Parry for during his time at Ninian Park.
An industrious winger who grew up supporting the Bluebirds, Parry's goal against the Hatters was one of the 24 that he would have dreamt of scoring for his Club when growing up:
“I followed Cardiff City a lot from a young age, really," Paul explained in a previous interview with the Club website. "Being brought up in Chepstow I’d jump on a train with some friends from a young age – probably around 14 – and come to Cardiff to watch the Bluebirds play.
“I’d been watching the Club play a lot, certainly as they’d been progressing from some of the lower leagues, and it was a massive thing for me as a childhood supporter to then get the chance to move to play for them a few years later. It was a great opportunity for me."
Following a start to his professional career at Hereford United, a young Parry made 150 league appearances whilst playing at Edgar Street before his eventual move to South Wales in 2004.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking making the move to play for City," he continued. "It was a massive step up for me at the time. I’d been playing for Hereford in the Conference and to then jump up three divisions to the Championship was a challenge, especially when I was chucked straight into it from the off! I was given my debut literally a day after signing in a match against Rotherham United, so they didn’t give me much time to think about it!
“There were quite a lot of players of a similar age to me when I joined, such as Robert Earnshaw and Chris Barker, who really helped me settle in once I’d moved to the Club.
"The size of the crowds and the quality of the opposition wasn’t something that I was used to at the time, but I think that being thrown in the deep end was a bit of a blessing, really."
With 17 appearances made in the latter half of the 2003/04 season for City, Parry quickly established himself in the side, and continued to make a name for himself as a fan favourite during his five-year stint with the Club.
The Wales international made a total of 192 league appearances for the Bluebirds, as well as featuring in City's historic 2008 FA Cup campaign, playing the full 90 minutes in the Final at Wembley Stadium for his boyhood Club.
Parry departed Ninian Park for Preston North End in 2009, and continued playing until he retired in 2014 following a two-year spell with Shrewsbury Town.