SLADE SEES BLUE­BIRDS TAKE OFF

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Si­mon Traynor

THE MAN ex­pected to be the next Cardiff City man­ager Rus­sell Slade was in the stands and he will have been pretty pleased with what he saw – but Scott Young was just happy to get back to win­ning ways.

Slade quit Ori­ent in an­tic­i­pa­tion of tak­ing over in the Welsh cap­i­tal and he would have had mixed feel­ings about Blue­birds cen­tre-half Sean Mor­ri­son, who headed home em­phat­i­cally in the right end in the first-half to give his side the lead be­fore turn­ing into his own net to hand the Owls a life­line.

And Slade, who is ex­pected to be named Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer’s suc­ces­sor im­mi­nently, would have been left thrilled when An­thony Pilk­ing­ton blasted home what proved to be the win­ner on 61 min­utes, and im­pressed then by how the Blue­birds bat­tled to pre­serve their first win in six league games.

“To be fair the lads have put a shift in for us,” said for­mer Cardiff cen­tre-half Young.

“Win­ning breeds con­fi­dence. That is the most im­por­tant thing. When you are win­ning games play­ers get con­fi­dence.

“From day one we knew with the qual­ity we have in the chang­ing room that it would shine through.

“What we need to re­alise is that week-in-week-out, we have to put the hard work in.We need to show the de­sire to do the ugly things in foot­ball as well. We need to do our de­fen­sive work first.

“But they dug in at the end here and that is what we ex­pect, that is our min­i­mum re­quire­ment. When we were play­ing we gave ev­ery­thing. We ask for that and if this group with this qual­ity do that we will be OK.”

Wed­nes­day started the bet­ter and within six min­utes only bril­liant de­fend­ing from Fabio stopped the vis­i­tors go­ing ahead. Ste­vie May was put through, rounded David Mar­shall and, as he fired at the empty net, only the Brazil­ian’s goal-line clear­ance saved the day.

But the Blue­birds crafted the bet­ter chances after that with Keiren West­wood sav­ing well from Aron Gun­nars­son on 26 min­utes.

But then the home side were ahead. Joe Mat­tock’s cyn­i­cal hand­ball was pun­ished in sound fash­ion as Peter Whit­ting­ham de­liv­ered the per­fect free-kick and West­wood had no chance this time with Mor­ri­son’s bul­let header.

But five min­utes into the sec­ond-half the Cardiff cen­tre­half was to score in the wrong end.

Chris Maguire’s low cross was right across the dan­ger zone and Mor­ri­son slid­ing in could only turn it into his own goal with Mar­shall help­less.

Cardiff re­sponded in pos­i­tive fash­ion and on the hour Pilk­ing­ton at the far post was only de­nied by another West­wood save.

But almost im­me­di­ately Pilk­ing­ton did score and the Blue­birds had the lead again as Jones nod­ded down a cross and the wide­man showed great strength to force his way through and lash the ball home.

Straight away Craig Noone left the pitch and on came con­tro­ver- sial mid­fielder Ravel Mor­ri­son to make his de­but after his ar­rival on loan at Cardiff from West Ham and even he played his part as the home side held on.

Owls boss Stu­art Gray said: “We started very well and Ste­vie May had a great an early chance.

“If we had got our noses in front we would have won as they would have been a bit ner­vous.

“But the dis­ap­point­ing thing was we did not play at the same in­ten­sity as we did in the first ten to 15 min­utes and we al­lowed Cardiff back in the game.

“Once we went to 1-1 there was only one team that was go­ing to win it, but it shows that if you do not de­fend your 18-yard box prop­erly you are go­ing to con­cede.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

RIS­ING HIGH: Sean Mor­ri­son scores the first goal for Cardiff City. In­set: Pilk­ing­ton notches the win­ner

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