Stalemate at Cardiff
Cardiff City Stadium
10th April 2010
The Royals and Cardiff played out a goal less draw at the Cardiff City Stadium and it was the home side who were hanging on, and we could have easily left Wales with all three points. Sub Simon Church went closest to scoring when he hit the bar in the second half.
Brian McDermott had a selection headache to contend with before the game after a fine display against Coventry on Monday after he rested a number of his regular 'first teamers` but he restored most of them to the starting 11 so the likes of Simon Church, Grzegorz Rasiak and Jem Karacan were all left on the bench. One of his easiest decisions was who replaced the suspended Matt Mills, Alex Pearce is the only other fit centre half at the club so he slotted in alongside Zurab Kizhanishvili, while Mills opted to watch the game with the travelling supporters - Legend!
The first half was short on chances but those that did come were all for the home side who found Adam Federici in fine form. Stephen McPhail collected a loose ball but shot straight at the Aussie stopper after ten minutes.
Peter Whittingham is surprisingly the top scorer in the league and Andy Griffin did well to deny him after a good run and cross from Jay Bothroyd. Before the break on loan Man City striker Kelvin Etuhu forced Federici into another save after a decent run, but the sides went in level at the interval.
Stand in captain Brian Howard had the first chance of the second half but his long range effort went just over whilst Gylfi Sigurdsson got involved in the game and saw one effort blocked before a trademark free kick was parried away by Cardiff keeper David Marshall.
Bothroyd tested Federici again but it was the Royals who were dominating proceedings and we hit the bar, when Sigurdsson`s free kick was met by Church and we couldn`t capitalise on the rebound. Church had another decent opening but Marshall was out quickly to deny him and at the other end Pearce was on hand to deny Bothroyd again, who was by far the best player on show for the home side.
So we were made to settle for a draw, but one that secured our Championship status for next season. The next week will decide what happens to our faint playoff hopes, but this was a day for celebrating the fantastic work by Brian McDermott since he took over from the sacked Brendan Rodgers in December.