ARON WIN­NER IS JUST THE TICKET

Blue­birds protest at low Leeds al­lo­ca­tion

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

RUS­SELL Slade ex­pressed sym­pa­thy for the club’s fans af­ter Cardiff beat a wretched Leeds side with no Blue­birds fans present at El­land Road fol­low­ing a tick­et­ing dis­pute be­tween the two clubs.

City were up­set at Leeds’ of­fer of 500 un­re­stricted away tick­ets fol­low­ing an ini­tial of­fer of 1,000 tick­ets with travel re­stric­tions ap­plied – and backed a sup­porter boy­cott by re­ject­ing their al­lo­ca­tion al­to­gether.

That meant their two goals were greeted in si­lence, save for the mur­mured groans of Leeds fans.

Slade said: “That’s a first for me. Nor­mally there are at least two men and a dog, but there was no­body there so it was a lit­tle bit sur­real.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed for our fans re­ally, be­cause they would have wit­nessed a re­ally strong, solid, pro­fes­sional per­for­mance and three points.

“Our away form is re­ally pleas­ing. If only we could match that at home, it’d be a nice end to the sea­son.

“But first things first, we’ve got an­other dif­fi­cult game on Wed­nes­day away at Ip­swich.”

Both Cardiff goals came from Peter Whit­ting­ham cor­ners, and Slade praised his side for their dev­as­tat­ing set-pieces.

He said: “It’s some­thing that we’ve done very well on for most of the sea­son.

“It helps when you’ve got some­body like Whit­ting­ham who’s got great qual­ity in terms of his de­liv­ery.

“It’s al­ways a threat and a chance for us to score a goal when we’ve got a cor­ner and we’ve made good use of that.”

Leeds of­fered few signs of break­ing a Cardiff jinx that has now seen them fail to beat the Blue­birds in any of their 18 meet­ings since 1984.

Sean Mor­ri­son gave Cardiff the lead af­ter 14 min­utes, ap­ply­ing the fi­nal touch af­ter for­mer Leeds skip­per Lee Peltier headed on Whit­ting­ham’s cor­ner.

But 19-year-old Kalvin Phillips re­ceived a rap­tur­ous re­sponse when he equalised three min­utes later, with the academy grad­u­ate cap­i­tal­is­ing on David Mar­shall’s slip to score on his home de­but.

Eoin Doyle forced Marco Silvestri to make a good save af­ter pick­ing up Sol Bamba’s atro­cious back­pass, though the of­fi­cials er­ro­neously gave a goal kick rather than a cor­ner.

That may have been some­thing of a let-off for Leeds, who clearly learned noth­ing from the de­fen­sive sham­bles in Mor­ri­son’s opener.

Cardiff tried the same rou­tine again just be­fore half-time to some suc­cess, with Doyle forc­ing a save from Silvestri, al­beit with the off­side flag al­ready up.

Un­be­liev­ably, Leeds were caught out by the iden­ti­cal trick again on 62 min­utes, with an­other Whit­ting­ham cor­ner flicked on by Peltier and Mor­ri­son get­ting a shot away once more.

This time Silvestri par­ried it, but Aron Gun­nars­son con­verted the re­bound.

Leeds went close to an­other quick equaliser, but sub­sti­tute Billy Sharp’s header from Char­lie Tay­lor’s cross bounced off and over the bar; and Leeds of­fered no fur­ther threat on goal.

United boss Neil Red­fearn said: “It was a poor per­for­mance. The thing that was miss­ing, more than any­thing, was a de­sire and an ef­fort to try and get us back in the game.

“Once we got back to 1-1 I’m think­ing ‘well, we can’t play as bad as that again’, But we strug­gled again in the sec­ond half.

“It’s a re­ally strange per­for­mance for us be­cause all the things that we stand for, they were to­tally the op­po­site here.

“The kids are go­ing to make mis­takes, but from your se­niors you’re ex­pect­ing a level of con­sis­tency, a level of per­for­mance and an un­der­stand­ing.”

WIN­NER: Aron Gun­nars­son scores to put Cardiff 2-1 up

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

JUMP FOR JOY: Aron Gun­nars­son cel­e­brate’s scor­ing Cardiff’s win­ning goal

STAR MAN PETER WHIT­TIN

GHAM Cardiff

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