ARON WINNER IS JUST THE TICKET
Bluebirds protest at low Leeds allocation
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
JUMP FOR JOY: Aron Gunnarsson celebrate’s scoring Cardiff’s winning goal
STAR MAN PETER WHITTIN