It is time to fear the worst
Report of match Cardiff City 2 Burnley 0 played 17th April 2004
Reporter Tony Scholes
Relegation has been a possibility all season but after today's surrender at Cardiff it is something that is looming closer and closer.
There was no sign of Ian Moore today, he apparently is the latest with a mystery injury, so Graham Branch played up front which at least made the decision as to who to play at the back somewhat easier.
Luke Chadwick was in the starting line up and incredibly was still on the pitch at the end Ė thatís the first time since we played at West Ham in October. He is certainly not the Chadwick of earlier in the season. He started on the right with Glen on the left and he gave the impression he would rather have been somewhere else.
It is a bit strange going to Ninian Park and the best way to describe the place is that it looks like football grounds used to look. The Taylor report has passed this place by and it was back to the old fashioned terracing but sadly without the old fashioned price Ė it was an astonishing £17 to stand.
The view was awful, for those who paid £1 more to sit the view was even worse Ė yes it was just like the good old days.
The home club now hammer out Men of Harlech over the public address before kick off but this is no rugby crowd and it is not met with the Welsh choirs, it is something more of an embarrassment to be honest presumably introduced by their ridiculous Lebanese Chairman.
So to the game and one thing that happens when you are at one end of the table or the other at this stage of the season is that you need to have a good grasp of the league tables. No sooner have you kicked off than scorelines are thrown at you and you are required to work out very quickly the effect it might have.
That all started early with Rotherham winning, Derby winning and Gillingham winning. It was all looking bleak. There was no sign of Burnley winning. Mind you there was no sign of Cardiff winning either.
Generally the first half was poor stuff. Martyn Margetson saved well from Robbie Blake and later in the half Graham Branch blazed an opportunity high and wide when it didnít seem at all difficult to at least get it on target.
There were other chances but they were not taken because the players simply didnít want to shoot Ė Chadwick was certainly a culprit here.
At the other end Brian Jensen had one of his frightening spells as he dropped crosses, punched badly and on one occasion handled outside the box. But Cardiff didnít look up to taking advantage of any of it.
They had Alan Lee and Robert Earnshaw up front. Lee has never particularly impressed me, I would consider him a poor manís Gareth Taylor, whilst it is looking more and more that Earnshaw has been sussed out at this level and he has now scored only five goals since the end of November.
A 0-0 half time scoreline came as no surprise and with news filtering through that Watford had equalised at Rotherham and that Walsall were a couple of goals behind at Norwich things were possibly not as bleak as they could have been.
Cardiff havenít scored for three games and you can see why. Going nowhere, neither up nor down, they appear to have fallen into the going through the motions style that was so evident at the Turf a year ago.
There were times when I, somewhat foolishly, even thought we might nick it 1-0 but in all honesty it did look to be all set for a 0-0 draw.
We then had a run of substitutions and the game suddenly changed. Lenny Johnrose came on for the injured Tony Grant with twenty minutes to go. A minute later Cardiff replaced Gareth Whalley with Paul Parry and five minutes after that and even more significantly Andy Campbell took over from the out of sorts Earnshaw.
The two Cardiff subs were to turn the game around. Parry got down the left and his cross was met by Campbell who was fouled by Mark McGregor. A penalty and Richard Langley gave the home side the lead.
Straight from the kick off we won a free kick on the edge of the Cardiff box but they cleared it and it broke to Parry. He played the ball across where it was helped on to Campbell coming in from the left and he hammered home a second.
That was it, the game had been won in two minutes and there was no way back for us. We didnít even bother to try and despite having a striker on the bench in Dele Adebola, he had been spotted warming up albeit very slowly, we made no changes and just allowed the game to go.
In fact Cardiff should have had at least two more. Campbell blazed over and fellow sub shot wildly, both should have done much better.
So another away defeat, we could hardly have expected a third successive win. But we were given a far tougher game at Bradford recently and Cardiff were hardly any better than Walsall.
Worryingly we are running out of players Ė and judging from this afternoon we are running out of fight. We surrendered far too easily in a game that we should have got something from.
For the neutrals it must have been dreadful stuff to watch, for the 700 Clarets it was far worse as we stayed out of the bottom three only on goal difference.
It is going to be tough and it is all well and good keep being told by the manager that we WILL get the necessary points. One more team is going to go down with BRBC and Franchise and after watching that this afternoon I really fear it could be us.
The teams were:
Cardiff: Martyn Margetson, Tony Vidmar, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Gary Croft, Richard Langley, Willie Boland, Gareth Whalley (Paul Parry 71), John Robinson (Arran Lee-Barrett 84), Alan Lee, Robert Earnshaw (Andy Campbell 76). Subs not used: Chris Barker, Lee Bullock.
Burnley: Brian Jensen, Lee Roche, Mark McGregor, David May, Mo Camara, Luke Chadwick, Richard Chaplow, Tony Grant (Lenny Johnrose 70), Glen Little, Robbie Blake, Graham Branch. Subs not used: Nathan Abbey, Joel Pilkington, Alan Moore, Dele Adebola.
Referee: Michael Jones (Chester).