Cardiff City 1 Middlesbrough 0

08 March 2010 09:00
Cardiff City 1 Middlesbrough 0

YOU'VE seen your best players sold and your team turn a promising start to the season into a mid-table berth with the play-offs an outside bet at best.

With that on their plates Middlesbrough fans may think they've got it tough.

They want to take a close look at their south Wales counterparts.

Around 500 marched to the Cardiff City Stadium in protest against their chairman Peter Ridsdale, who is scouring the globe seeking investment.

He failed to deliver on cash promised for players in January and the club are in the High Court this week over an unpaid £1.7m tax bill.

The woes of Boro pale into insignificance but five points off sixth spot having played more games than all the teams currently occupying the play-off places wasn't in the plans of chairman Steve Gibson.

There appears little chance of the people of Teesside marching for anything other than saving jobs at Corus.

Save our Season can't compete with Save our Steelworks.

But any steel on show in the first half on Saturday was of the Welsh variety. It was among Middlesbrough's worst 45 minutes of the season.

Out-muscled, out-thought and comprehensively outplayed with not an effort on goal of note. The only positive to take from the opening half was that they weren't two down.

It could have been worse if Darren Deadman born to be a referee hadn't adjudged Chris Burke had taken a dive when Gary O'Neil made contact in the box just before halftime.

O'Neil looked guilty but the yellow card Deadman was waving was directed at Burke.

If Gordon Strachan thought there'd be more favours from the officials he was to be proved very wrong just after the hour mark.

With Boro in the ascendancy a free-kick on the right was whipped in by Barry Robson and David Wheater's flicked header nestled in the bottom corner of David Marshall's goal.

But Deadman's assistant was waving furiously and a foul was given against Leroy Lita for handball.

The angry reaction was led by the vocal Robson who earned himself a booking for his protests with Lita earning one for his handball.

Lita said he didn't make contact but quite what his hands were doing waving around his head only he will know.

Substitute Rhys Williams echoed the views of the Middlesbrough players who were still trying to understand why the goal was disallowed.

I can't see what the referee has seen there to be honest.

He gave it for handball against Leroy and he wasn't anywhere near the ball. It's a strange one and it showed it wasn't our day, said Williams.

We came to get a point at least if not a win- we deserved a lot more with all the chances we had.

But we are only three or four points off the play-offs and I was on loan last season at Burnley so I know anything can happen in this league. Put a few wins together and you're back up there. We've got 11 games to go so we're ready for the battle.

Boro continued to create chances with Marshall and striker Jay Bothroyd providing an adequate last line of defence.

A save from a O'Neill free kick and a Chris Killen header among Marshall's best work with striker Bothroyd scrambling off the line following McManus' effort.

Despite feeling his side could have got something from the match for their second half endeavours Strachan did admit they weren't good enough.

He said: We should have got something out of the game because we made enough chances to win a couple of games but we weren't good enough to take those chances. We've played a lot worse in recent months and won games.

They got going in the first 15 minutes because we didn't play the pitch.

We should have had a goal but the referee claimed Leroy Lita handled. That was the biggest surprise, because it was David Wheater who scored and there's a big difference between them if you look closely!

Hopefully the play-off race will go to the wire which will help us to get right in there, but today we just weren't good enough.

Middlesbrough will discover today the damage to Willo Flood's knee after the midfielder was forced off early in the second half after a clash with Cardiff 's Kevin McNaughton.

Match facts Goal:

1-0: Bothroyd (3, slid in at far post after Boro defence failed to deal with routine ball in)

Bookings: McManus (13, foul), Burke (45, diving), Robson (61, dissent), Lita (61, handball)

Referee: Darren Deadman (Peterborough) some strange decisions that annoyed both teams 4

Attendance: 19,803

Entertainment:

CARDIFF CITY (4-4-2):

Marshall 7; Matthews 6, Gerrard, 6, Gyepes 7, McNaughton 5; BURKE 8, Blake 7 (Capaldi, 90), Rae 6, McCormack 5; Chopra 5, Bothroyd 7. Subs (not used): Enckelman (gk), Quinn, Taiwo, Wildig, Feeney, Meades

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2):

6 Coyne: Left exposed for the goal and little to do after that

5 Naughton: Must learn that full-backs are supposed to go forward now and again

6 Wheater: Recovered well after the goal and kept Chopra's threat to a minimum

5 McManus: Seemed to be marking space early on and never fully recovered

7 TAYLOR: One great headed clearance and got forward regularly after the break

5 Flood: Lots of endeavour but little creativity in the final third

5 O'Neil: Seemed to want to run into space occupied by Robson too often

6 Robson: Great delivery after the break and never let his team-mates heads drop

4A rca: His days playing wide left appear well behind him

5 Aliadiere: Clattered early on and little effect before his withdrawl

5 Lita: Should have scored with a header and should have kept his arms down

Subs;

Killen (for Aliadiere, 40): Put himself around and produced a fingertip save from David Marshall 6 R Williams (for Flood, 53): Worked hard to impose himself in midfield after long injury lay-off 6 (not used): Jones (gk), Miller, Bennett, Franks, Grounds

MAN OF THE MATCH

CHRIS Burke his direct running had Boro chasing shadows especially in the first half.

Source: Northern_Echo