Noone strikes to bring smile to Slade’s face
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