Valentines Day Massacre? It could`ve been!
Cardiff City 3 - 1 Peterborough United
Location: Cardiff City Stadium
Date: 15th February, 2012
Going into an away game against the team 4th in the Championship, everyone knew it was going to be a difficult match. However, after 20 minutes, you would`ve thought Posh were the team in 4th, not Cardiff!
Posh made much the brighter start and had a glorious chance after only two minutes to take the lead when some pressure on the home defence saw the ball fall to David Ball with three quarters of the goal gaping. To everyone`s amazement, he decided not to shoot but to differ on the ball before playing the ball square thus ending any chance of taking the lead. That early hesitancy by Ball summed up his night as he yet again showed that he`s not good enough for this level of competition!
Further chances fell to Paul Taylor, whose shot was blocked before a smart corner by McCann was dummied by both Boyd and Taylor allowing Frecklington a chance to get a shot off but unfortunately his effort went wide.
Cardiff were slow off the mark and this could`ve been down to the previous two defeats they had suffered as they created very little. Gunnarsson had their first effort of note with a volley from the edge of the box which went over the bar.
Grant McCann then won and took a free-kick 30-yards from the Bluebirds goal which keeper Marshall could only parry back towards the hoards of players in the Cardiff area. Unfortunately, the ball didn`t fall kindly for Posh as Cardiff managed to get the ball away.
Kenny Miller started to get into his rhythm half way through the first period but a 25-yard effort didn`t trouble keeper Joe Lewis.
New loanee Matt Briggs was making a good impression on the travelling Posh support but he was cautioned for a late challenge on Gunnarsson.
Former Posh loanee Ben Turner had a chance for Cardiff but his header from a Whittingham corner sailed over the bar. It was an effort Posh should`ve taken notice of as they were soon to pay the price for some calamitous defending from two corners in a matter of minutes.
Prior to those corners, Posh did create another chance but a poor Frecklington effort caused no problems for the home keeper before Lewis was called on to save a Gunnarsson volley.
Posh were still slightly on top when those two fateful corners came along which were to completely change the course of the game. A dangerous in-swinging corner from Peter WHITTINGHAM went over Gaby Zakuani`s head towards a group of four players. Joe Lewis went to challenge for the ball but couldn`t extend his reach far enough to connect to the ball as it went over all the players and past Lewis into the other side of the net.
Lewis should take the majority of the blame, but there were other players that could`ve put their head on the ball and for the life of me, I can`t understand why Posh don`t have players on the posts for corners. If we did in this match, the first goal wouldn`t have gone in. Fergie & Co. should take the blame for these tactics!
That goal certainly brought Cardiff to life as they soon created another chance as the impressive Gestede rounded Lewis only to see his effort cleared off the line by Briggs. If Briggs was the hero for that clearance, he was the villain from the resulting corner as he let his man run free to power an unstoppable header past Lewis. Rudy GESTEDE was the City player Briggs allowed to head it unchallenged.
If that wasn`t bad enough, just two minutes later a long throw saw Tommy Rowe miss his header as the ball was controlled by Cardiff`s debutant loanee Haris VUCKIC who had the Posh defence spectating as he simply prodded the ball past the diving Lewis.
To be one goal behind after the possession Posh had had early in the game was harsh, but to be three down before half-time was simply criminal!
In fact, Cardiff could`ve extended their lead further with a minute remaining of the first half as Gunnarsson saw his dipping volley clip the crossbar. It was at this point that Posh lost the services of Gaby Zakuani who was replaced by right back Mark Little. Matt Briggs moved to centre-back with Alcock moving across the pitch to left-back.
Half-time: Cardiff City 3 - 0 Peterborough United
Posh are used to being behind to Cardiff at half-time and have made stunning come backs in the past but unfortunately this was not to be the case this time.
Grant McCann did have the first effort of the half when his free-kick beat Marshall but the ball went the wrong side of the post.
Darren Ferguson made some changes early in the second half by removing the ineffective George Boyd and David Ball, replacing them with Lee Tomlin and Emile Sinclair. This livened things up a bit and gave Cardiff a different challenge but not before Gestede had a chance to score his second of the match but his header from Cowie`s cross went wide.
Posh did start to try their luck a bit more when long range efforts from Lee Tomlin and Grant McCann went wide of the goal.
That was the last real chance Posh had until added time as Cardiff started to catch Posh on the break more and more with Joe Lewis excelling. He finger tipped a fierce Gestede volley over the bar before a superb Whittingham effort was pushed onto the bar.
Another long range Whittingham effort brought another excellent save from Lewis before Kenny Miller was put through on goal only to be denied by the reactions of Lewis.
Posh had swapped Briggs and Alcock over during the second half with Alcock moving to centre back and Briggs going back to left back as he was the better player going forward. However, when Posh did threaten Cardiff, they could never find that final ball as they once again found they couldn`t get any further than the edge of the opposition area. This is something that Fergie must sort out if Posh are going to retain their Championship status.
The one time Posh did get past the edge of the area, a delightful pass from Tomlin found Taylor who danced past a couple of players before chipping it past the despairing Marshall.
Having reduced the deficit to just two goals in the first of four added minutes, Cardiff had the last effort of the game as Gestede saw Lewis block his shot but the ball was looping towards the goal. Fortunately for Posh, Craig Alcock was racing back and cleared the ball just before it got to the goal-line.
Full-time: Cardiff City 3 - 1 Peterborough United
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UP THE POSH!
Follow me on Twitter: @mwl1967
Photo courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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