Port Vale 2 – 3 Cardiff City
A good showing from the Cardiff side, in red, against the black and white of Port Vale. With a delightful debut, Macheda netted himself a brace which meant that the customary City tradition of letting one in after 90 minutes didn’t do too much harm. If you want to see the highlights of the game, you can find them just HERE
Safe to say that the Bluebirds, while perhaps inconsistent at times, were the bookie’s favourites for this fixture, even after it was announced that Ole Gunnar would be taking a leaf out of Sir Alex’s book and giving the stars of tomorrow their chance to shine, or at least tinkle gently.
And shine they did. After some continued pressure on the Port Vale goal, 20 year old captain for the night Joe Ralls opened up the scoring after 26 minutes with a beautiful left footed shot, sliding gracefully into the corner from outside the box. I think it’s safe to say after this goal, and his performance in general tonight, a lot of the fans would like to see Joe making the first team more often, he certainly showed us that he is hungry for action, and willing to do whatever it takes
Only 8 minutes later, O’Connor brought the score back level with another fantastic shot, 30 yards out and in the top left corner of the Cardiff goal. No chance for Moore to get to that one and, in all honesty, Marshall would have been lucky to get there as well.
It took another half hour of scrappy play to get the next mark on the score sheet. A higher number of fouls than I like to see from both sides. Cardiff were looking good in this match though, and I think it’s important to note that the team as a whole worked wonderfully, giving the Bluebirds some great chances.
Almost bang on the hour mark, and on his City debut, Macheda calmly and precisely put the ball out of the keeper’s reach, after a superb cross and run from Declan John. Celebrating in fine style, the ex Manchester United striker showed that he may well have what Cardiff need this year. Certainly, if he can keep up the rate of one goal every hour, the fans will be cheering for him every time.
Some more good, tight play from the Bluebirds followed. Eikrem and Barnum-Bobb both had a good showing and the City defence kept themselves tight and controlled. A very positive outlook for the stoic back four on this one, who rarely let anything much pass them, leading to a single figure shot tally for Port Vale.
Not another twenty minutes later, and Macheda shows exactly why he caught the eye of our Norwegian manager. A left footed shot from the side of the goal after a lovely run and jinking around the Vale keeper, making it a debut duo. Perhaps now Louis van Gaal may be regretting letting him go for nothing.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be the 3-1 scoreline that many would have been happy with, and though City kept up some pressure, Port Vale brought up their shot count a lot in the final few minutes, leading to a good strike by Michael Brown in the first minute of Injury time.
The final score then, 3-2, and certainly one that I wouldn’t have minded going to watch in person. Some great goals from both sides and City were, for the most part, looking in control. Some great teamwork from the boys creating chances and the Bluebirds kept pressing on the Valiant’s area, leading to our 3 goals. In honesty, for me, its just nice to see that we have forwards who can find the back of the net now.
The impressive performances from the Cardiff side, for me, had to be Ralls who made a superb captain and showed the quality of the youth coming through the Cardiff team. Macheda, netting two on his debut was a fine start. If he can keep up the work rate that he showed here (and the goal ratio too… please?!) he’ll be a fan favourite for a long time. I saw more from Eikrem in this match than his normal games, and I think he, with a few of the others in tow, are trying to prove to Ole Gunnar that they deserve a first team slot. No wonder he has a tough time choosing between them!!