Eddie Johnson...

City History | Shared Pasts: Derby County

Ahead of Tuesday's clash at CCS with the Rams, we recall famous meetings, a shared player and an iconic goal scored at CCS...
One last match under the lights

With the 2008/09 campaign established as being Cardiff City's last at Ninian Park, the Bluebirds provided a performance suiting their final match under the floodlights at the ground.

Opening the scoring against the Rams was Roger Johnson, whose header against the run of play put the hosts ahead in front of the over 18,000 supporters who had made their way to Leckwith on that Wednesday night.

Without any further goals for the remainder ahead of the interval, City would provide two more in quick succession midway through the second half.

Gavin Rae doubled the lead just after the hour mark, while Jay Bothroyd added another only two minutes later.

Three unanswered goals wasn't enough for the hosts, however, as substitute Eddie Johnson added City's fourth and final goal of the night with ten minutes to spare.

The Fulham loanee had scored his first Football League goal one month earlier for the Bluebirds in a 3-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers, and took his second against the Rams by coolly finishing in a one-on-one with 'keeper Stephen Bywater.

Unfortunately, the USA international scored a 90th minute own-goal at the other end, but it mattered not to supporters in the stands as City took all three points from a dominant display in South Wales.

Johnson's goal would the last scored by a Cardiff City player under the floodlights at Ninian Park, with the Bluebirds moving to CCS in time for the 2009/10 campaign.

Mark Hudson
Hudson wonder-goal stuns the Rams

One of the most spectacular goals scored at CCS to date, Mark Hudson's strike in City's victory over Derby County in April 2012 is something that the 21,000 present on that day - whether Bluebird or Ram - would not forget in a hurry.

Joe Mason's first-half strike from Kenny Miller's rebounded effort had put the Bluebirds ahead in the 24th minute of play, with the hosts looking to make it eight matches unbeaten.

For skipper Hudson, however, the path to doubling City's lead would not be so simple. Receiving 'keeper Frank Fielding's clearance directly ten yards inside his own half, the defender took a touch to control the ball before sending it hurtling back goalwards on the half-volley.

With the ball now arching towards his goal, Fielding realised his error in remaining well off his goal line, and quickly raced back to try to get a glove on the audacious effort. However, try as he might, the shot had been struck perfectly, flying out of the 'keeper's reach and into the back of the net.

Keeping a clean sheet as the final whistle blew, the vital result kept the Bluebirds in Play-Off contention as the 2011/12 campaign drew to its conclusion in the following weeks.

Speaking after the fixture, the City captain said: "I don't think I'll ever get the chance to score like that again. Even if I went out into an empty stadium and tried it, I don't think I would be able to do it again.

"I'd spotted Fielding off his line, I took a touch and the ball sat up quite nicely. I heard about 15,000 people shouting "Shoot", so I thought I'd try my luck and middled it.

"The lads have been giving me stick, saying I didn't mean it and great clearance and all that. But I don't think I'll now be taking all the free-kicks!"

Robert Earnshaw
Player Focus: Robert Earnshaw

One player who has made appearances as both a Bluebird and a Ram is Robert Earnshaw. Starting out as a youngster spotted playing locally near Caerphilly, the striker grew and developed into the Club's most prolific striker of the modern era:

“I spent so many years at the club and I played with so many people that influenced me." Earnshaw recalled. "I was lucky enough to be a player that went from being a youth all the way up to making regular appearances for the First Team.

“We were up and down in the divisions throughout my early years at the club, so I got to be a part of several different starting lineups.

“I got to play with the likes of Graham Kavanagh, Willie Boland, Leo Fortune-West and Peter Thorne, but before that I had developed with an older generation of players.

“I think that fans still remember my first goal for City, that overhead kick against Hartlepool United. That was on my first start when I was 17, and I was pleased to be given my chance."

Following several years playing for City at the turn of the millennium, Earnshaw's efforts in front of goal were an essential part of the process that led to the Bluebirds eventually winning promotion to the First Division (now Championship) in 2003.

With a spell beginning the next year with Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, in the years following the striker would make a direct switch from Derby County to their rivals Nottingham Forest - being the first person to do so in 15 years. 

Earnie would go on to score three times against the Rams in the 2010/11 season, with one goal providing Forest their first ever win at Pride Park.

Having spent three years with Nottingham Forest, a return to South Wales would eventually beckon. With 22 further appearances made for City, Robert scored four more goals as a Bluebird, taking his total tally up to 109 in all competitions:

“It was special to return to Cardiff City," he explained. "They made me feel like I was a part of the club. The memories were still there, and coming back felt brilliant.

“At the time it felt right, and I wanted to come back because I loved it so much. I’ve always loved playing for Cardiff City. I loved putting the shirt on and going out on to the pitch, and when I returned it was exactly the same.

“The fans hadn’t changed, they’d remind me about all of the good times that I’d had there; the goals and the hat-tricks that made my time at the club so memorable."