Noone strikes to bring smile to Slade’s face

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Gwilym

CARDIFF boss Rus­sell Slade hailed Craig Noone af­ter the su­per-sub’s won­der strike spared goal­keeper Si­mon Moore’s blushes in their Cham­pi­onship opener.

The Bluebirds had trailed to Matt Smith’s 47th-minute opener af­ter Moore failed to gather Ben Pringle’s cross un­der his own bar and the Cot­tagers striker nod­ded in.

But Noone, who had only been on the field for eight min­utes, sal­vaged a point as he cut in from the right and dis­patched an un­stop­pable 25yard strike be­yond Andy Lon­er­gan with just four min­utes re­main­ing.

The 27-year-old found the net just once in 38 games last term as he was be­dev­illed by in­jury, but Slade is con­fi­dent of see­ing an im­prove­ment this sea­son.

“I have been wait­ing for him to do one of those,” said Slade.

“Craig does that on the train­ing ground all the time so it was great to see it go in.

“It was a fan­tas­tic fin­ish and just what was re­quired at the time as we mas­sively de­served a draw out of the game.

“He got one goal in 38 games last sea­son, but that’s one in one now so hope­fully he can get a few goals for us this time be­cause he has looked sharp and he came off the bench look­ing to prove a point.”

Moore’s er­ror comes as Premier League West Brom at­tempt to seal a £6mil­lion move for Cardiff No1 David Mar­shall.

But Slade has backed the young­ster and is happy to rely on him should Mar­shall leave.

“I am sure Si­mon is re­lieved but he will learn from it,” he added.

“He ei­ther col­lects it or just tips it over the bar. He came to take it but lost bal­ance and dropped for­ward. He will be fine.

“It has all gone quiet with David and I’m hop­ing it stays that way but I know I can rely on Si­mon.”

Both sides had enough chances to win the game with An­thony Pilk­ing­ton’s de­flected shot hit­ting the bar, and Joe Ma­son forc­ing Lon­er­gan into two sharp saves for Cardiff.

But Ful­ham had the best op­por­tu­nity of the game and it should have yielded a stop­page-time win­ner, only for Matt Con­nolly to nip in to make a timely tackle as Ross McCor­mack pre­pared to pull the trig­ger in­side the six-yard box from Moussa Dem­bele’s pass. “I’m dis­ap­pointed and the chang­ing room is dis­ap­pointed, which is a sign of the ex­pec­ta­tions in our camp,” said Ful­ham boss Kit Sy­mons.

“We knew it was go­ing to be tough but we are dis­ap­pointed not to have won it, although a draw was prob­a­bly a fair re­sult.

“We had good chances and then when it was 1-1 we had a great op­por­tu­nity with Ross McCor­mack, but we are mak­ing im­prove­ments.”

HIGH NOONE: Craig Noone, not pic­tured, hits Cardiff’s equaliser

STAR MAN MATT CONNO

LLY Cardiff

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