Coventry Crash At Cardiff

Last updated : 11 August 2004 By Kev Monks
If City are going to play every away game with only one striker then we are in for a very long season as City were beaten 2-1 at Cardiff,
With Peter Reid 'poorly', Adrian Heath tinkered with the team that had beaten Sunderland to top the table and left Eddy Johnson up front with Gary McSheffrey benched.
Coventry,backed by 400 plus noisy supporters were always lacking options from the start and were almost a goal down inside two minutes when Cardiff pushed down the right flank and Richard Langley crossed for Robbie Earnshaw to drill a low ten yard effort. The Welsh international's effort hit the foot of the post and was pounced on by Scott Shearer who had to wear a Cardiff keepers kit after another Sky Blue cock-up.
Graham Barrett was doing his best to support Johnson and a fourth minute cross sailed across the penalty area and was put out by Bjarni Gudjonsson for a throw-in.
The midfielder currently struggling to get into the Icelandic national team was blatantly obstructed in the sixth minute and when a free kick was awarded the way of the Sky Blues a few seconds later, Gudjonsson against wasted the chance.
As well as taunting the home support with the witty diity of "There were 10 Fluffy Sheep In The Field" (you can guess the rest), the Coventry followers who had made their way through the traffic on the M4 and down the Penarth Road were demanding two players up front.
When a City player did get the ball, he was bereft of options and quite often ended up losing possession.
Earnshaw was proving a pain in City's side and fired wide from a 20th minute free kick. Shearer sent a long ball quickly upfield and opposing keeper Martyn Margetson just managed to grab it off the head of Johnson with Robert Page in close attention.
Although Cardiff looked dangerous,the game was pretty even but in the 29th minute all that changed. Steve Staunton sent over a cross, Daniel Gabbidon got in a header. He thought it was back to his keeper, but Margetson had gone walkabouts and we held our breath as it went towards the open goal .
It must have hit a long blade of grass or divot as the impact made the ball veer slightly to the left and round the post for a corner.
Gudjonsson took the corner and for once got it right as Graham Barrett dived in at the near post to put City ahead.
Being legally stood on terraces,the Coventry supporters had the room to go ballistic as chants of "We're Are Top Of The League and "Top Of The League - We're Having A Laugh" reverberated around the ground.
Barrett nearly scored again five minutes later,but his header just missed from a Gudjonsson cross.
There was lots of niggly fouls going on and in the 36th minute,Tim Sherwood headed one such free kick from Robert Page out for a throw-in.
Four minutes later,Cardiff had another free kick,some thirty yards out. Langley took the kick,it hit the City wall and fell for Gabbidon to strike a shot which was deflected up onto the roof of the stand behind the goal for a corner.
Earnshaw was first to react to the flag kick and hit a shot off the post which was cleared away for another corner by Stephen Hughes.
Regular readers will know that both backs worry me and just before the interval,Steve Staunton was badly exposed,leaving Calum Davenport no choice but to come across and take out John Robinson in order to prevent a goal. For this tackle,Davenport became the first player cautioned by referee Mr Williamson of Berkshire.
Cardiff must have a good rollicking off manager Lennie Lawrence and his assistant - the former Sky Blue Ian Butterworth, as they emerged fired up and the Welshmen were level eight minutes after the restart.
A needlessly conceded throw-in eventually found Graham Kavanagh.The former Stoke midfielder hit a long ball which fell for John Robinson to cross form the left. The ball was flicked on and with the City defence static, Robbie Earnshaw at the far post had time to hit a right footed volley past the flapping Scott Shearer.
Langley, was booked for a 57th minute foul on Calum Davenport, he had also clattered Steve Staunton en route to Davenport and had the City followers calling for a red card.
Then on the hour mark,our hopes of at least a point from this trip to South Wales faded away as a ball over from Robinson was met by the head of number 18 Alan Lee who was not tightly enough marked and he planted a close range header firmly past Scott Shearer.
Robinson was booked for a foul right in front of the Spar family stand end and gave City a free kick which Michael Doyle sent high into the aforementioned stand.
Graham Kavanagh followed into the book in the 67th minute and gave Coventry a free kick that Tim Sherwood fired just wide from 25 yards.
Sherwood had done reasonably well but in the 73rd minute,he was replaced by Gary McSheffrey. Sherwood was either annoyed at being replaced or fed up with the way the game had gone and disappeared straight down the tunnel for an early bath.
The extra man in attack sparked a bit of life into City and McSheffrey for whom there is a new song,combined with Graham Barrett for a corner that was poorly hit by Gudjonsson.
In the 78th minute,Heath replaced Johnson with Suffo and five minutes later,made the long awaited decision to get the hapless Gudjonsson off the pitch and brought on Andy Morrell. The Icelander suffered a torrent of abuse as he left the pitch.
With six minutes left,City won a free kick. They threw everyone up including Richard Shaw who again put in a steady performance. Carey delivered a decent ball which was initially cleared and fell for Doyle to blaze well over.
City try to keep attacking but even with four minutes of play added on,it wasn't enough and Cardiff were able to record their first win of the season.
ATT 14,031
Goals Graham Barrett (29 mins 0-1)
Robbie Earnshaw (53 mins 1-1)
Alan Lee (60 mins 2-1)
Booked Davenport,Robinson,Langley,
Man Of The Match - Graham Barrett- scored and at least gave it a good go, with good mentions for Carey (his best game so far) and Eddy Johnson
Mare Of The Match - Bjarni Gudjonsson
Shearer,Carey,Shaw,Davenport,Staunton, Gudjonsson (Morrell 83),Doyle,Sherwood (McSheffrey 73),Hughes,Barrett,Johnson (Suffo 78) SNU Marriott,Whing.