Cardiff cher­ish their big day

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Si­mon Turner

AN emo­tional Malky Mackay ad­mit­ted it was a day he would never for­get as Cardiff City were pre­sented with the Cham­pi­onship tro­phy in the Welsh cap­i­tal.

The Blue­birds boss presided over emo­tional scenes as his play­ers took a lap of hon­our in front of their own fans and the club will now ex­pe­ri­ence topflight football for the first time in more than half a cen­tury.

Bolton are still well in the hunt to join the Blue­birds in the Pre­mier League with this point mean­ing their play-off for­tunes are in their own hands with a win at home to Black­pool on the last day surely see­ing the Trot­ters into the play-offs.

“To win pro­mo­tion against Charlton was fan- tas­tic, to win the ti­tle at Burn­ley was great, but to lift the tro­phy at home in front of our fans is some­thing that will live with me for­ever,” said Mackay.

“I’ve tried to make sure ev­ery­one feels in­cluded at this club from fans, to staff to fam­i­lies be­cause they have sac­ri­ficed a lot so this was for all of them.

“I have great pride in ev­ery­one at the club. I asked a lot of peo­ple to join me here two years ago.

“They came with me, they showed loy­alty and I’m de­lighted for them as well as the peo­ple al­ready here who have been through a lot of dif­fer­ent emo­tions over the last few years.”

Cardiff re­ally should have been ahead within 30 sec­onds mind. Kim Bo-Kyung’s shot was blocked in the box and fell to Jor­don Mutch, but his shot was saved by Adam Bog­dan.

On 18 min­utes Bolton took the lead. Great work from Sam Rick­etts down the right saw the Wales in­ter­na­tional cross and Chris Ea­gles was there to fire con­fi­dently home from 12 yards out. It could have been bet­ter for Freed­man’s men just af­ter the half hour, but David Mar­shall bril­liantly saved Dar­ren Prat­ley’s shot.

The turn­ing point re­ally was Mackay’s de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce Craig Noone just be­fore the hour. Within five min­utes Noone’s cross found Tommy Smith at the back stick and it seemed Cardiff would be level, but Bog­dan got across bril­liantly to push the shot away.

But within there min­utes the Blue­birds had the goal that helped get the party started and it was sheer class from Noone as his left-foot free-kick from a good 25 yards out curled round the Bolton wall to hit the net with Bog­dan this time help­less.

There were chances for both sides to win, but, as the cel­e­bra­tions be­gan a draw seemed a fair re­sult. Dougie Freed­man in­deed was left con­tented.

“It was a great point for us. I don’t think we did enough to win the game,” said the Bolton boss. “But showed our qual­ity, par­tic­u­larly in the first-half and we de­served some­thing from the game for the char­ac­ter we showed.

“We de­fended very. All in all it was a fan­tas­tic point.

“It keeps our fate in our own hands and if you'd said to me when I took over the job and we were in 17th po­si­tion that in the last game it was in our hands to get in the play-offs I would have taken that.

“It’s been a good days work for us. But it re­ally is Malky’s day. He’s a good man, he’s done a great job and he’s taken his side to the Pre­mier League. All in all it is a very good point for us.”

CHAM­PI­ONS: Cardiff cel­e­brate with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Cham­pi­onship and gain­ing pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

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