Slow starting Bluebirds punished as Newcastle are given a day to remember

Posted by Mike Morris

Peter Odemwingie goal Cardiff Newcastle strikeGettyImagesPeter Odemwingie pulled a goal back for Cardiff against Newcastle.

It's easy to be more critical when you lose. You see the bad in everything. On Saturday, though, Cardiff City, for just under an hour, gave the fans every reason to feel aggrieved and upset as Newcastle left South Wales with a 2-1 victory.

So far this season Cardiff have made a solid start to life in the Premier League. Wins at home to Man City and away at Fulham coupled with draws against Everton and Hull have earned eight points from six games. Good enough for mid table and probably more than most City fans expected.

With Newcastle coming to Cardiff City Stadium on the back of two defeats there was an air of expectation that Cardiff might actually be favourites to win a game. Jordon Mutch's last minute winner away at Fulham a week ago gave the whole City a boost and maybe it lulled some into a false sense of security.

- Ryder: Remy eases pressure

But it didn't take long for the watching faithfully to feel quite uncomfortable as Cardiff played like a team that had barely met each other. Passes went astray, and worse went straight to Newcastle players. The super efficient Gary Medel was struggling to find a teammate, the attacking midfield options of Peter Whittingham and Kim Bo-Kyung looked as though they were running through custard as they never looked like beating an opposition player to create a chance.

That left Fraizer Campbell a lone figure up front and for 45 mins Cardiff looked lost, confused and frankly quite clueless.

The visitors, Newcastle United, used this to their advantage and where Cardiff struggled, United created chances and managed to find the net twice. It could have been four or five but goalkeeper David Marshall was again in fine form. Marshall may feel he could have got a stronger hand to Loic Remy's shot for Newcastle's first goal but he should feel no guilt. The defenders who allowed Remy the freedom of Cardiff City Stadium should be the ones thinking they should have done better.

Remy's second was scored from a similar position, this time he finished after Papiss Cisse's initial effort was blocked by Marshall. Remy steered the ball through a number of players leaving Marshall helpless.

On the stroke of half-time Cardiff put together their only decent attack of the half and created their only decent chance in 45 mins. The break came as a relief. Hopefully Malky Mackay would be able to rally his dispirited troops.

Cardiff have won Family Club of the Year in two of the past three seasons. They go beyond what's expected to make the stadium a welcoming place for everyone. This includes catering staff in the away end wearing the visiting team’s colours and posters on the walls thanking the away supporters for travelling to South Wales. On Saturday they surpassed themselves by employing the world famous Treorchy Male Voice Choir to serenade the away fans at half time with a rendition of Blaydon Races.

With Cardiff 2-0 down it felt like a ridiculous own goal by the club to enhance the visiting supporters day even more by singing a traditional song to the fans in the away stand while there were thousands of home fans left with no choice but to boo a local Welsh choir.

The idea is to win football matches and to make the stadium as partisan as possible during the game. I have no problem with anything that goes on under the stand, in fact I welcome the initiatives the club undertake. But let's try and make the ground a little bit intimidating. Hammer out the Welsh songs, the Cardiff anthems and the tunes that will encourage the home fans to cheer the team on.

It took 10 minutes for Malky Mackay's half-time team talk to sink in before Cardiff grew in confidence and stature and actually started to take the game to Newcastle. The catalyst for this was half-time sub Jordon Mutch. The 21-year-old was my man of the match for his second half performance. Mutch looked to attack through midfield and put Newcastle under pressure. He had an assist for Peter Odemwingie’s goal for Cardiff and almost scored an equaliser when he tried to chip keeper Tim Krul.

Add to that a superb run that cut right through the Newcastle side and only lacked a strike at goal at the end of it. Cardiff were vulnerable on the break, but that was a risk they had to take as they looked unsuccessfully for an equaliser.

The team were applauded off the field for their second-half effort. After seven games in the Premier League now Cardiff have enjoyed the highs and the lows. The manager must use the experience gained to have his team focused for 90 minutes and not make sure a poor start to a game. Giving away two goals to an experienced team like Newcastle with their quality players meant it was always going to be a struggle.

The next six games include a derby at home to Swansea and matches against Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal. It's not going to get an easier.


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