Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Thirty One: Cardiff City 2-0 Barnsley

Last updated : 03 February 2007 By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)

There are some football matches you witness where you just have to hold your hands up and say, "The best team won".

That was the case last night at Ninian Park in front of the SKY cameras.

First half strikes from Peter Whittingham and a beauty of a free-kick from ex Oakwell favourite Michael Chopra enabled promotion chasing Cardiff to cruise through the game as despite a better attempt in the second half Barnsley were let down by a lack of quality.

Much excitement had emanated from Oakwell this week with the arrivals of Hungarian internationals Peter Rajczi and Istvan Ferenczi. Both men started on the bench after being involved in their first competitive match for six weeks but neither could have been much worse than Danny Nardiello.

Nads laboured up front for just under 70 minutes constantly looking for freekicks and his lack of form is becoming an increasing worry.

Nardiello has never been famed for his work-rate but his ability to grab a goal meant he was pretty much indispensable. His Championship record of 2 goals in 23 appearances (with both those goals coming in the same match) shows that maybe even that has deserted him.

There were some good individual performances however.

Martin Devaney looked The Reds best attacking outlet in the first half and his mazy runs caused problems for the Welsh outfit, it was just unfortunate nobody got on the end of his teasing crosses.

Marc Richards again impressed the shock of his proposed move to Port Vale maybe the best thing to happen to him, as he seemed to be foraging a lone furrow upfront.

The Reds were up against it though from the 11th minute thanks to a massive mistake from Antony Kay, the type we thought had left him.

A long ball punted froward should have been easily dealt with by Kay, but instead of just clearing the ball into touch he attempted to head it down to Brian Howard but succeeding in only heading it to former team-mate Chopra.

The former Newcastle man then ran through before having a shot which was unluckily deflected to the back post where Peter Whittingham headed it over the line before Colgan clawed it away.

Barnsley were now looking for tit-bits on the break and Togwell saw a viciously deflected shot turned away by Bluebirds keeper Neil Alexander.

The game was all but sealed two minutes from half-time with Kay again the guilty party.

He needlessly fouled Chopra on the edge of the area and Chopra duly curled a brilliant free-kick over the wall which Colgan could only help palm into the corner of the net.

The first half was held up for 10 minutes at the end as Cardiff's Kevin McNaughton had to be stretched off after taking a heavy wack to the face as he hit the ground in an aerial dual with Devaney.

The game mirrored The Reds 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest just over a year ago and just like The Reds did that night after taking a 2-0 lead, Cardiff were happy to see out the second half.

Richards could have changed the game when first his fierce shot was parried by Alexander and Devaney slammed the rebound into the side-netting and near the end a good run and cross from substitute Rajczi saw Richards head over at the back post.

In the end though it became apparent why The Reds suffered their 5th 2-0 away defeat of the season.

They say the chasm between the Premiership and Championship is wide, well it's fairly big between the Championships top teams and the bottom teams too.

21st will still do fine.

Player Ratings:

Nick Colgan: Close to keeping out both goals and rarely troubled 2nd half. 7

Adam Eckersley: His first really shaky game but improved a lot 2nd half. Subbed. 7

Antony Kay: Nightmare really. Had a hand in both Cardiff goals and didn't inspire confidence. Booked.4

Paul Reid ©: Tried valiantly to keep the defence together in the midst of Kay's happy hour. Performed admirably. 7

Bobby Hassell: 2nd dodgy game in a row for Bobby. Most of Cardiff's good moves came from his wing. 5

Martin Devaney: The Reds best chance of a goal. His runs kept Cardiff on their toes although he faded 2nd half. 7

Sam Togwell: Nearly saw one shot deflect in but again watched the game pass him by. His continued inclusion baffles me. Subbed. 5

Grant McCann: Came more to the fore in the second period looked unusually out of place 1st half. 6

Brian Howard: Not as influential as usual but the whole team struggled last night. 6

Daniel Nardiello: Awful 67 minutes. No impact whatsoever. Subbed. 4

Marc Richards: Again did his best. Went close twice in the 2nd half. 7


Peter Rajczi (for Nardiello 67) Showed some neat touches and put in a great cross, which was headed over by Richards. Could come good once he's found his fitness. 7

Kyel Reid (for Togwell 80) Probably should have been on earlier. The game was up by now. 6

Istvan Ferenczi (for Eckersley 80) Same as Reid. Could have made a bigger impact if introduced earlier. 6

Unused Substitutes:

David Lucas, Dwayne Mattis,

Sponsors Man of the Match: Bobby Hassell

BarnsleyBoy's Man of the Match: Richards performed admirably upfront but for me Martin Devaney kept the game interesting for Barnsley fans.

Most Impressed by Cardiff's: Michael Chopra: Class act but then we already knew that didn't we.

Ref Watch: Tony Bates: Not bad at all. Allowed the game to flow. 7

Next Up:

At Oakwell:

Coca-Cola Championship Matchday Thirty-Two: Barnsley v Colchester United Saturday 10th February 2007 Kick Off 3pm

Tickets for the "Family Fun Day" match:

Tickets for the Family Fun Day are priced at

ADULTS - £15.00


JUVENILES (11 - 17) - £5.00 *


Season ticket holders will be able to claim a free ticket from the Oakwell Box Office on production of their season ticket book together with proof of age for the child. Existing season ticket holders will be given the opportunity to move to a suitable seat in the same area or the North Stand if no second seat is available next to them.

On The Road:

Southampton v Barnsley Saturday 17th February 2007 Kick-Off 3pm


Adults - £22.00

Senior Citizens - £17.00

Under 20s - £17.00

Juveniles (Under 12) - £1.00

Official Reds On The Road coaches will be making the trip to St Mary's Stadium.

Tickets: £19

Coaches will depart Oakwell at 8am on the day of the game.

Man of the Match: Martin Devaney