Often Partisan

Promotion Dream Fading? Cardiff Match Reflections.

Here are my reflections on the match between Blues and Cardiff at St Andrews today:

1) About the right result

I said prior to kick off that I expected a draw, and I wish I’d put my money where my mouth was because I had us marked down for 1-1. I think Hughton was harsh in his post-match interview to say Cardiff scored with their only chance – they had at least three or four in the first half alone that they should have done better with. In fact, if Cardiff hadn’t been so profligate with their finishing Blues would have been dead and buried by the end of the first half. In fairness to Hughton Blues did improve second half, and whilst missing the penalty was bad the lads made up for it with an excellent break to allow Huseklepp to sweep home from about six yards. The problem was though that Blues were never going to keep a clean sheet – the fullback situation was ridiculous and the midfield was at times powder-puff.

2) We missed Fahey and Murphy

I’ve said in the past few weeks that Murphy is absolutely key to Blues’ promotion hopes – without him the team look completely lop-sided and the back four struggle as a unit. I think we’re also missing Spector on the right hand side to a smaller degree; I don’t think Ramage is good enough. Without Fahey in the middle, Blues looked devoid of creativity and there wasn’t anyway they could change it bar bringing on the big man and going aerial, something Hughton seemed reluctant to do. As a consequence Blues got continually over ran in the middle and King was often left isolated up front – particularly after Huseklepp was taken off.

3) The wrong subs

I think Hughton made a huge mistake in taking off Huseklepp; Elliott was ineffective at best in the middle and we’d have benefitted more by taking him off and bringing on Townsend. Shoving N’Daw to left back was a catastrophe waiting to happen – but Hughton had no choice because once again, he didn’t put his son on the bench. I know Cian was only signed for emergencies – but the fact is today was that kind of emergency – no fit full backs whatsoever and players who had slotted in there hadn’t impressed previously. If he’s not good enough to come in then he should have never been given a contract.

4) The bright spots

I think it’s only fair that a few players who really did stand out are given a mention; Curtis Davies was solid at the back and seemed to be really trying to drive the team on. Marlon King never stopped running up front and tried to give us presence upfield; Chris Burke was magnificent again on the break, getting the ball forwards quickly and his cross for Huseklepp was perfect. I think Pablo Ibanez actually did okay at right back before being forced to come off; he offered more defensive stability and runs forwards than Ramage did.

5) Promotion dream fading

Whilst I accept Blues are sixth with a game in hand on some teams I don’t think we’re going to do it. I still think we need five wins from our last eight games; of which three are at home. It’s not going to happen – we’ve seemingly run out of steam and I think Blues will end up finishing in seventh or eighth, doomed to another season at this level. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

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25 Responses to “Promotion Dream Fading? Cardiff Match Reflections.”

  • Sam says:

    Got to say i agree with your conclusions. We seem devoid of ideas and Hughton has made the wrong decision sub-wise quite a few times this season. Some times it’s cost us, other time we’ve got away with it. I’m just worried what our team will look like come next season if we fail to go up, particularly if we are going to suffer even more financially as some say we will.

  • AR says:

    I think CH got it wrong. Even with 10 minutes to go, & needing a win, Zigic should have come on for Elliott. Zigic is much more likely to score, & I would have preferred Redmond to come on instead of Townsend for the same reason. On another tack, what’s happened to N’Dore since the Africa Cup? He is no longer the same player; I don’t understand why. Not only are we missing Murphy, but how we miss Carr. His ability not only to defend, but to link with Burke & make those runs up the wing are sadly missed. Has anyone any idea if he will be back?

  • Blueboy88 says:

    We are still right in this promotion battle.
    9pts cover 4th to 14th & the any of those clubs can put together a late run to make the play offs.

    We have not been the same since the loss of Beaujesour & Murphy.
    Murphy returns against Middlesborough & we look something like again…then Portsmouth..!!

    CH just requires a little fortune now with injuries & suspensions, with everybody available he can then return the balance into the side, & team selections.
    Without it we will continue to have these disjointed unbalanced performances like today..

  • DoctorD says:

    Come on Almajir – nail your colours to the mast with your blog posting titles. If you think our promotion dreams are fading then you should say “Promotion dreams fading” not weasle your way out with a question mark at the end: “Promotion dreams fading?”.

    I think we’ll probably stumble just over or just under the line but the dream’s still there.

  • Tara says:

    All still to play for, I’m glad CH rested some of the squad as the number of games played this season have taken their toll. The defence (as said) is key and keeping it tight and hard to beat and hitting teams on the break is the best we can hope for until Spector, Murphy and Carr are back.

  • bluenose08 says:

    The pluses, burke always a danger, davies solid at the back with caldwell,king and huseklepp worked hard. ramage couldnt pass the ball to a teamate, mutch gave the ball away to often as did n”daw,elliot inefective. Why did ibanez go off he was doing ok and it was only when he went off and n”daw went to left back cardiff scored. We may miss murphy but we miss fahey more as he is our creator the conductor of an orchestra he makes things happen with a telling pass. I agree with previous comment about cian hughton he should have played as he has been playing for the reserves at full back. k.r.o.

  • mickey07 says:

    and your reasons for them fading mayor?

  • Bluenosejohn says:

    Still in the top six- the other clubs around us are also feeling the pressure. A similiar question on Walesonline whether Cardiff will make plays offs has at present 76.9% saying no.

    Not sure we have been able to get balance right since the loanees were brought in- if Chris can get this right then we will have an excellent chance.

  • hammy says:

    stop worryin’….theres plenty of players to come back in…..

    the run in isnt to bad…..

    and theres slip ups goin’ on all over the place….

    i bet you, by the last five games, we have a full 1st team back out…..

    it’ll go to the last game for sure, but i reckon we’ll be in the play offs….and if we are….

    WE’LL WIN EM’……


    • paul says:

      THATS WHAT I LIKE TO HEAR…………….. someone being positive instead of of this doom and gloom from people who think they can pick the winning team. It is still all to play for and all the teams around the play offs still have to play each other, so as long as you dont lose to them then it will be up for grabs right till the end

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    One of the ‘bright’ side notes of our current form has been the fact that the teams around us have been slipping up just as frequently. We’ll more than likely stay in the play – offs due to this, and there is always the possibility that our form will pick up again considering we have 3 – 4 main players missing from the team at the moment.

    Once there, we have a one in four chance of making it back into the big- time. The experience and good quality of our team and squad should ensure that the very best effort will be made, and I don’t think we should be overly concerned with who we may face then.

    All said though, Almajir is right to be concerned because we should be playing alot better than we are, and some uneasiness seems to have crept into our play. Still 8 games to go and time to put things right.

    We never seem to take the easy option.

  • ForevertheOptimist says:

    we always do it the hard way…it wouldnt be Blues if it was easy.
    Reckon we will scrape in by our finger nails, but would be happy considering the transition we have gone through.
    Keep right on till the end of the road, I dont see any fat ladies singing or cigars being smoked…
    Keep the faith…

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Forever the optomist, comes closest, Think back to last summer,!!. We faced oblivion almost, McLeish, departed, C,H. came in , result is better and more attractive football played, [ C,H. makes mistakes ], so does Sir Alex,!!.
    We all thought that the disbanding of almost our 1st team/Squad, would be the end-of us , and if we escaped relegation, — We would be bloody lucky,!!. — Well here we are,!!. on the bottom rung of the play-off-places instead with no rights whatsoever of being our ” God Given ” deserts,!!.
    So let us go with the flow and IF we make the playoffs, — Thank our lucky stars, KRO,!!.

  • andy says:

    Iv always believed that Zigic is the key to our promotion hopes and was surprised he was left out today. With the run Blues have had, we are lucky to be holding onto a play off berth, in fact we are clinging on by the skin of our teeth. Blues have had some great results up north this season so lets hope that continues at Doncaster on friday and we can put a couple of wins together to cement our play off berth.

  • Paulo says:

    I actually agree with this article almajir! As I see it, on one hand it would be bliss to make the play off’s and battle it out further more and win to be handed promotion to the premier league, and all it holds ..the prestige, the tv income, slightly higher ticket prices, playing opponents that are in the top 5 of the premier league.
    …but hold on, because on the other hand, I have to say that we have NO support from our owner(s), the chairman is probably going to do some porridge in November, and it seems the rest of those ‘vultures’ want to wait to skim off what they can. We are pretty much self sustaining at the moment, although HSBC now have total pledges handed to them to prevent the ‘owners’ taking us down s**t creek, and CH is on a one year rolling contract.
    I may be pesimistic here, but I think those clubs with deep pocketed chairmen are surviving and those that haven’t are all fighting for survival on the pitch.
    Could we survive the premiership next year? I think not. I’m sick of Chelsea and Man City ‘buying’ their place in the top five, and it tells me it would be expensive and disheartening and I wouldn’t want to face another relegation again.
    I think we can do it, we have a team of fantastic players, but not enough to replace key positions, only to rotate. We have done a blinding job and I just dont want to see a promotion at such a time when it would be a poisoned chalice for us.
    Maybe another year in the championship would be better to see us do what Southampton and West Ham have achieved, and we could do the same? Stay at the top and fight.
    To get promoted just to play the vile would be short sighted. We need finacial security off the pitch ..and consistent standards on the pitch, we need goals and clean sheets!

    I might be wrong on some things, but I hope we achieve everything we can and hold out heads up high come the end of season no matter what happens.


  • Bluebird says:

    I am surprised to say Almajir that I agree with almost all of your points and I have no intention of being picky….
    It was apparent within 10 minutes that N’Daw had no interest (I’ve “heard” – whatever that means – that his head was turned at the African Nations Cup) and that Mutch was really fortunate to stay on the pitch! That early tackle was a definite card and no-one would have complained if he’d been sent off. The sharp intake of breath on the Kop said it all!
    The Substitutions – and for me this is where it all fell apart –
    The break by Burke was down to determination in the tackle and the only person who could keep pace with him was Huseklepp who scores and is immediately replaced – what sort of message does that give to begin with? King can’t even score from the penalty spot!
    The defence is coping okayish with everyone knowing what they are doing & aware of the weaknesses to cover. The disinterested N’Daw is switched to left back & Ramage to right back – so that now we have (2) players needing to get used to new positions and marking – and where does their goal come from?
    For me the subs should have been (and I said so at the time) Zigic for King – Gomes for N’Daw and Redmond for Elliott.
    That would have given us a stable back four and a new threat for the Cardiff defence to deal with.
    There is only one thing lacking from too many players right now and that is desire!

  • andy says:

    We can all pick and choose teams once the horse has bolted but CH is the man paid decent money to make those decisions and its up to him whether he admits he got it wrong or not, the full back situation is a joke right now and its pay back to the board for doing a u turn on the Stuart Parnaby deal. Im sure CH wouldnt put up with a disinterested player in his team but i agree, N’Daw is not the same player since he came back from the African tournament.

  • paul says:

    There is no doubt that N’Daw is a very good player, but his run of good form when you think of it, only lasted about 4 or 5 games. That suggests to me a lack of fitness raher than a lack of interest. Some players work very hard in training and others, less so. Maybe he is the latter and as such suffers from a lack of fitness

    • Paulo says:

      I’m not sure if N’Daw is suffering because of a fitness reason, think about it ..CH would not have anyone on the starting line up if they weren’t 100% match fit and capable of doing 90 mins. Thats a footballers job.
      He really started to enjoy himself right up to the Africa Nations Cup call up, and he was relaxed and played well in left midfield. He has suffered injury and to be honest, probably frustration in playing out of his usual zone.
      Whilst I’m sure most would agree he has the potential to become a solid part of our team, at the same time ..he already is. We would miss him.
      Ok, he has about as much grace as a steamroller with no brakes, but his commitment to the team shows.
      ..he will get his form back, I just think we all need to see the team in their more suitable positions and we will see the guys confidence come back.
      It’s just a shame that this rotation has had to happen at the tail end of the season.

  • […] in and around the current top six having dropped points here and there. I made the point in my match reflections that I’m starting to think Blues might have blown their chances of promotion – which […]

  • Graham Woodward says:

    I still think we’ll win the league! KRO!

  • […] Humble Pie Flaming typical of my record of prediction with Blues; I write something about us losing the plot promotion-wise and the lads come back and win two on the spin away. I […]

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