RECKON THEY’RE DARBY AND JOAN
Caretaker duo steer Bluebirds to a point
SCOTT YOUNG and Danny Gabbidon admitted they’re already like a married couple after securing a point from their debut fixture as Cardiff caretaker managers.
But the duo admitted to being completely in the dark about the future as odds shortened on Russell Slade taking over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager.
Early second-half strikes from Aron Gunnarsson and Peter Whittingham put the Dragons two goals to the good, only for Jordon Ibe and Craig Bryson to earn a deserved point for Steve McClaren’s men.
And Young admitted that despite throwing away a two-goal lead, he was happy with a share of the spoils.
“Our directive was to take charge of the team today,” he said.
“I’m sure we’ll be having a conversation with the chairman and the owner pretty soon. We’ll see where that takes us.
“The only thing that put me off is talking to Danny every day. I’ve spoken to him more in the last 24 hours than my missus!
“Seriously, we bounce off each other. We’ve known each other a long time and we’re both on the same page.
“The lads went out there and delivered in the second half, and we deservedly went two goals up.
“But Derby are good at what they do. They move it well and they pegged us back. Before the game, we would have taken a point because it’s a tough place to come.”
Gabbidon added: “I’m glad it’s over to be honest. It’s much better playing. Two days has felt like a month, we haven’t slept much, but we’ve really enjoyed it.”
While Cardiff were reeling from their latest managerial departure, Derby were honouring one of the great leaders in their history.
Brian Clough was the subject of a pre-match tribute and Old Big ‘Ed would doubtless have been angered by the wasteful nature of Derby’s first-half performance.
Jamie Ward and Chris Martin were denied by smart David Marshall saves as they failed to turn their possession into goals.
And they paid a heavy price on 51 minutes as Matthew Connolly headed Anthony Pilkington’s corner back into the danger zone for Gunnarsson to hook home from close range.
Four minutes later, it got even worse for Derby.
Whittingham – who played 11 matches on loan at Derby almost a decade ago – rifled home from the edge of the box to fire Cardiff into a shock two-goal advantage.
The Rams pulled one back just beyond the hour when Cyrus Christie’s right-wing cross was converted from close range by substitute Ibe.
McClaren’s men were in the mood and Jonny Russell was perilously close to levelling when his long-range drive was somehow repelled by Marshall six minutes from time.
The Cardiff keeper, however, had no answer to Bryson’s screamer less than a minute later.
The midfielder’s 20-yard thunderbolt thudded against the inside of the post en route into the net.
It was Bryson’s 29th goal for Derby and a strike worthy of a match-saver for McLaren’s men.
The former England boss said: “At half-time, there was only going to be one winner. To be two down five minutes later was disbelief.
“When the second goal went in I thought we had a mountain to climb.
“But the players showed great character. They climbed the mountain and they nearly got over it and won the game.
“The only disappointment is the result. The performance, I couldn’t fault. Keep playing like that and we’ll be OK.
“Normally at 2-0 down, you start launching it long, but we just kept playing.
“We kept our patience, we kept creating chances and we deserved not to get beaten in the end.
“The character of the team and the football we played gives us hope.
“When we open the game up and take risks, we’ve got players who can change a game.”
RED MIST: Aron Gunnarsson, almost obscured, scores Cardiff’s first goal despite being surrounded by Derby defenders