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Match Reports


25 August 2018

Match Reports


25 August 2018

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Honours even at the John Smith's Stadium as Town and Cardiff shared the spoils in a goalless stalemate.

Chances were in short supply throughout, and the visitors may well have had the best chance to head back over the border with the victory after Jonathan Hogg was dismissed on the hour.

The starting squad tasked with bouncing back from last Sunday's defeat at the hands of Manchester City witnessed five changes, as well as a switch back to the favoured 4-2-3-1.

Mathias Zanka came in ahead of Jon Gorenc Stanković, and Jonathan Hogg- who missed the game at the Etihad with a hip problem- skippered the side, taking Abdelhamid Sabiri's spot.

Aaron Mooy- in the '10' role- returned following the arrival of his new-born child, a move where Alex Pritchard dropped to the bench. Tommy Smith and Chris Löwe were the final players to make way, as Rajiv van La Parra and Adama Diakhaby took to the field from the off- Adama making a first Huddersfield Town start in the process.

Upon his return to HD1, Neil Warnock oversaw his Bluebirds outfit- square off against the Terriers in the top flight for the first time since 1956- the last competitive fixture altogether resulted in the points heading back to the Welsh capital on the final day of the 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship regular season.

There was also some familiar faces amongst the visitors' matchday squad; Sean Morrison, Danny Ward, Alex Smithies and Lee Peltier all spent time in West Yorkshire.

An electric atmosphere went hand-in-hand with the opening exchanges. Town looked hungry to settle any nerves with an early goal. Sol Bamba's bravery in the air ensured Steve Mounié couldn't be the man to grab it after a well-worked corner on the right.

The tempo of this crunch Premier League encounter was already rapid. Instead of Town carving out another opportunity, Ben Hamer had to be alert in order to deny Nathaniel Mendez-Laing from tapping home after the visiting winger had found himself through via the aid of a deflection from Zanka's attempted clearance.

Hamer's heroics didn't come without a degree of pain, as both left the field with unfortunate injuries in the aftermath.

And the pendulum swung back in the Blue and Whites' direction. The chorus of 'He's Magic You Know' echoed around the terraces, as Terence Kongolo came mightily close to thundering Town into a 15th minute lead; a vicious left-footed strike found the side-netting, which half of the ground thought had beat Cardiff 'stopper Neil Etheridge.

The contest was developing into a real tussle; no real chances of note, but Town started to lay siege to the Cardiff rearguard. A flow of aerial delivieries begged to be attacked, as a combination of Sol Bamba and ex-Terrier Morrison largely repelled any threat that went the way of the lurking presence of the aerially dangerous Steve Mounié.

Sides managed by Warnock usually display similar characteristics of defiance and a sheer toughness to break down, and that was somewhat on show in this instance. Town controlled the ball in the central areas, with that final ball just lacking in the way of a City backline that dropped deep; vitally closing the space which the Terriers had to utilise with any sort of pace.

Steve Mounié came within inches of connecting with Aaron Mooy's back-post cross as half-time beckoned, and that in truth was as close as either had come to breaking the deadlock in period of little goal-mouth action.

Cardiff upped their own ante minutes after the restart; Josh Murphy nodded wide, before at the other end arguably Town's best chances came and went.

Phillipines goalkeeper Etheridge produced a smart save to thwart Steve Mounié's powerful goal-ward header, and the Benin International still couldn't find the net from the resulting corner in the midst of an almighty scramble inside the Bluebirds' penalty area.

The task Town already had to try and come away with all three points was looking tricky against a stubborn Bluebirds; and that task wasn't made any easier as referee Michael Oliver gave Captain Jonathan Hogg his marching orders after an off-the-ball incident with Harry Arter.

Down to 10, the Head Coach freshened the Terriers up going forward. Isaac Mbenza entered the field for a Club debut; 20 minutes left, and all to play for.

Saying that, Cardiff looked to take advantage of the extra man, with direct passes into the channels. Christopher Schindler suggested otherwise, constantly positioning himself superbly to sweep up before any potential threat could materialise.

Substitute Danny Ward then had a golden chance to fire the Bluebirds ahead. Josh Murphy's mazy run ended with Ward receiving a pass in space to the left of the box, and it took an inspired Jonas Lössl save down low to keep him out.

Cardiff were really starting to dominate with Town a man light. Somehow Sean Morrison headed wide after leaping highest to meet Joe Ralls' corner.

Both Josh Murphy and Arter fired wildly off target as Warnock's men searched for a late winner, ahead of Bobby De Cardoza Reid's shot narrowly going wide of the post despite Zanka's timely intervention.

Four minutes added. Four minutes for someone to potentially find an elusive winner. Terence Kongolo's cross for Laurent Depoitre was very nearly tucked home by the Belgian; only a last-ditch Sol Bamba clearance prevented that from coming to the fore.

A first Premier League point on the board, with a trip to Everton next up in the League; but attentions first switch to a trip to Stoke City on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup second round (August 28, 8pm).

TOWN: Ben Hamer (Jonas Lössl, 13'); Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Florent Hadergjonaj; Jonathan Hogg (c), Philip Billing; Rajiv van La Parra, Aaron Mooy, Adama Diakhaby (Isaac Mbenza, 67'); Steve Mounié (Laurent Depoitre, 80')

UNUSED SUBS: Tommy Smith, Chris Löwe, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Alex Pritchard

CARDIFF CITY: Neil Etheridge; Joe Bennett, Sean Morrison (c), Sol Bamba, Bruno Ecuele Manga; Victor Camarasa (Bobby De Cordova Reid, 75'), Harry Arter, Joe Ralls; Josh Murphy, Kenneth Zohore (Danny Ward, 59'), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Callum Paterson, 10')

UNUSED SUBS: Alex Smithies, Lee Peltier, Greg Cunningham, Gary Madine

REFEREE: Michael Oliver

ATTENDANCE: 23,787 (2,093 Cardiff)

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