I mean, we didn't play that badly, but a header from Craig Noone in the 86th minute really took the hopes out of getting a win on the first game of the season. But hey! We're (technically) 3rd on the table, so it's not all gloomy.
The game, played at Cardiff's City Stadium, debuted quite a few things, such as:
- A new kit sponsor, in the name of VisitFlorida.com (it looks good too!)
- The on-field debuts of Jamie O'Hara, Ben Pringle, Tom Cairney, and Andy Lonergan
- The on-bench (get it?) debut of Sakari Mattila
So, anyway. Game kicks off, yadda yadda yadda. Cardiff enjoyed possession, leading to the first attempt of the game ten minutes in, when Kagisho Dikgacoi (who used to play for us in 2009) passed along to Anthony Pilkington, whose cross met Joe Mason, who, luckily for us, shot his effort wayyyy off target. Moments later we had a chance, with Matt Smith heading off a loose ball towards goal, which unfortunately hit the bottom of the post. We enjoyed a bit more possession over the next 10 minutes of the game, with O'Hara flicking a cross to Matt Smith, whose header jumped just over the bar. Another chance was given to our own number nine before the half hour mark, Kay Voser's cross meeting Smith, but missing another header.
Stand-in goalie Lonergan was forced into action to make the first save of the day, when a Pilkington cross deflected into the line of Mason, whose shot was parried away. Ross McCormack made his first attempt of the game just before halftime, slicing a left-footed shot wide of the net, which was met by a retaliation by Mason which Lonergan parried away quite well.
Cardiff almost took the lead at the beginning of the second half when Pilkington's shot deflected off Kay Voser and slammed hard against the crossbar. And then we took the lead! Pringle's shot from far out took goalie Simon Moore by surprise, before he ended up dropping the ball and backpeddling towards goal, which Smith took as an oppurtunity to launch a fast header into the back of the net. 1-0. Pilkington found the net almost instantly after, but luckily the lineman's flag was hoisted up to signal an offside. He was booked for protesting.
Two more chances came our way. The first happened at the 55 minute mark when Christensen passed back to McCormack, but Lee Pelter's block stopped the ball from reaching the net. We could have doubled the lead with the last attempt when McCormack slipped a ball to Pringle, but the ball was slightly behind him, leading to a hard strike which deflected over the the bar for a corner, which didn't lead to anything.
Matthew Connolly almost equalised when his shot, blocked by O'Hara, wasn't cleared properly, which the City defender scissor kicked straight over the bar. The home side then decided to make a substitution, bringing Sammy Amoebi, on loan from Newcastle United, on to replace Alex Revell. They really upped the pressure after this substitution, with Lonergan diving into action to parry Mason's shot away, before Scott Malone's shot sailed over the bar a minute later.
Dikagcoi came off to be replaced by Craig Noone, while we took Smith off for Moussa Dembele. Dembele was booked 5 minutes into his appearance for kicking the ball away. Ha.
Cardiff leveled straight after this happened, with Noone cutting in and firing a smooth strike straight past Lonergan. Cairney flicked the ball in the direction of Dembele, but unfortunately the ball fell to the home side, who cleared it away.
The last attempt of the game came in stoppage time, when Dembele crossed to McCormack, but the Scotsman couldn't capitalise on his possession and struggled to get the ball into the net, ending the game as a draw.