A strange old game. An almost empty top tier, turnstiles shut, beer stalls closed, talk about after the Lord’s Mayor Show, as they used to say.
Such is the draw of the shitey place that is Wembley, such is the draw that is Cardiff City.
An early goal was needed to help the atmosphere, amongst the home fans at least. No such encouragement was needed for the away fans who sang from beginning to end, all credit to them.
And we got the early goal, Eric Dier scoring his first for a long time (Burnley two seasons ago?) by firing past Etheridge following Sanchez ‘s involvement after a Trippier corner.
Non-stop pressure followed, for the next twenty minutes anyway, with no end result but then Cardiff, via what we’re learning to see is the familiar route of pressing Hugo and Sanchez and upping their energy levels started to provide a threat with a goal line clearance from Toby being the closest they came. We created the better opportunities but they were mostly on the break and we were far from comfortable. Half time didn’t come too soon.
Within a minute of the restart both Harry and Moura, after great work by Rose, could have lengthened our lead but a fine save and another on the line block kept the difference at one. We were back on top and pushing them back, making chances but not scoring.
After an hour Moura, playground style, put the ball one side of defender Ralls and ran the other, few people in the ground thought Mike Dean had any other choice but to send the Cardiff player off when he turned away from the ball and brought Lucas down with a knee high scythe.
It was one way traffic after that apart from one heart stopping moment when Morrison got his head first to a free-kick and forced Hugo to palm the ball against the post. Phew.
We saw the game out after that. It wasn’t pretty or particularly comfortable but the points were vital given our upcoming schedule.
How we didn’t score a second is anyone’s guess. Moura especially was a constant menace to the Cardiff defence but could not force the ball home.
In an expected move from Poch, Harry played much deeper than usual, behind Lucas with Son on the left. The latter was mostly disappointing once again, he’s going to struggle for a place in the side once the injured start to return.
So, two weeks until West Ham and their cup final. If only our players could get a rest and some recuperation before then, but no, they’ll continue burning themselves out in some pointless friendlies somewhere.
Three valuable points as stated but we really are not playing well at all. We’re so lucky to have played the teams we have. There’s no hiding from now on though.
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