Care­taker duo steer Blue­birds to a point

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Hold­croft

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

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