Scunthorpe United v Cardiff City

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Football League Championship

Scunthorpe United2(1)Cardiff City4(3)

McDonald 45, N'Guessan 73

Bothroyd 2, 34, Chopra 9, Olofinjana 79

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, Jones (McNulty 89), Byrne, Raynes, Nolan, Woolford (Dagnall 72), O'Connor, McDonald, Sears (Grant 82), Forte, N'Guessan.
Subs not used:
Warner, McClenahan, J.Wright, Godden.

Cardiff City :
Heaton, McNaughton, Naylor (Matthews 60), Hudson, Whittingham, Burke (Koumas 13), Olofinjana, Blake (Gyepes 60), Chopra, Bothroyd, Bellamy.
Subs not used:
Marshall, McPhail, Drinkwater, Keogh.


by Cardiff Echo at Glanford Park

BACK on top of the Championship pile, it seems only one thing can stop Cardiff City winning promotion this season - arrogance.

After 34 minutes this game was over as a contest, Jay Bothroyd celebrating his England call-up with two more goals in a quite unbelievable season so far.

But Glanford Park saw the best and worst of City, the match almost turned on its head but for the heroics of Bluebirds goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

In the first half Scunthorpe just did not know what hit them. They were two down by the nine-minute mark and if it had been a boxing match then Scunthorpe manager Ian Baraclough might have got a white towel handy.

City were in blistering form, so much so that Scunthorpe players resembled statues as Cardiff's one-touch passing game dazzled them.

Iron fans looked on in total disbelief as the Bluebirds seemed likely to score at will.

It was simply spell-binding, an onslaught with Kevin McNaughton, Craig Bellamy and Michael Chopra raining in shots on Joe Murphy's goal and the home crowd growing increasingly impatient.

But, in truth, Scunthorpe could not get close to putting in a tackle, never mind winning back the ball as City exhibited a slick passing game which would not look out of place in the Premier League.

Man-of-the-moment Bothroyd can do no wrong and, as Bellamy and Chopra opened up the home defence, he was on hand after only 58 seconds to shin the ball over the line after Murphy palmed the ball into his path.

After McNaughton waltzed past four players and turned back onto his right foot to miss the target by inches, Bothroyd turned provider for strike partner Chopra.

Again there was some lovely first time passing on the edge of the penalty area, Bothroyd breaking the defensive line to drive a low cross into the box for Chopra to tap home from two yards out.

Chris Burke was in the thick of the action but his presence was ended by what seemed to be a hamstring pull.

But it gave Jason Koumas a rare extended chance to shine and he was to play an important part in putting the gloss on this Cardiff win.

Kevin MacDonald gave Cardiff a warning of what was to come later by firing over the crossbar, but Cardiff were in cruise control at 3-0 before the break.

Skipper Bellamy was having a big personal battle with his Iron counterpart Cliff Byrne, the pair exchanging words before Cardiff's third.

The modest home crowd were also on Bellamy's back as he took a corner on this narrow pitch, but the Wales star was again influential in setting up Bothroyd's second.

Byrne pushed Bellamy to the ground for an obvious free-kick and the skipper got up to deliver a curling free-kick onto the glancing head of Bothroyd.

It was goal No. 15 of the season for Bothroyd - eclipsing his previous season-best tally of 13 - and no-one can argue that he doesn't deserve his England call for the Wembley friendly with France on Wednesday.

If Bothroyd was right on the button, now it was switch-off time for City.

Moments later Freddie Sears found himself with just Heaton to beat from 10 yards. But the on-loan striker went for power rather than precision and missed the target.

Sears, however, redeemed himself when he crossed on the stroke of half-time and MacDonald sidefooted his volley into the bottom corner of Heaton's net.

Dave Jones said he had warned about complacency in Cardiff ranks, and the Bluebirds could have put the issue beyond doubt when Murphy denied Bothroyd his hat-trick with a brilliant double save.

But Scunthorpe were suddenly fired up in trying to improve the worst home record in the Championship.

Sears' cross found Forte and Heaton saved superbly from close quarters but moments later Forte outpaced McNaughton and crossed for the debut-making Dany N'Guessan to power home a header.

The Iron were now in full flow and sensed that a major comeback was really on and Heaton was tested twice in as many minutes from Michael O'Connor and Bobby Grant.

But just as City were holding on for their lives, Koumas was lurking outside the penalty box following a corner.

The ball came his way and Koumas had time to compose himself before unleashing a drive goalwards.

It looked as if it was going wide until it struck Seyi Olofinjana and deflected home, though City still had to count on Heaton making two terrific saves in the final 10 minutes.

So City march on, but this was an important lesson learned about the need to kill off opponents.