PETER PAPERS OVER CARDIFF CRACKS
JOE MASON may be gone, but two goals from Peter Whittingham and one from new boy Lex Immers helped paper over the cracks for Cardiff as they beat Huddersfield.
Bluebirds boss Russell Slade admitted before the game that the club had been forced to sell star striker Mason to play-off rivals Wolves for financial reasons, having already seen Kenwyne Jones depart earlier this month.
That left Slade with the strike partnership of a half-fit Anthony Pilkington, PSV loanee Immers – on his full debut – along with substitute Federico Macheda, who has not scored since March.
Thankfully, Immers supplemented Whittingham’s double to see off the Terriers, but Slade’s priorities are clear in the last two days of the transfer window.
Slade said: “You can see why Lex has scored goals in Holland. He arrived in the box at the right time and tucked it way confidently.
“To be fair to Pilks, he was a real doubt. He had his fitness test at 10:30am and was probably restricted in his running by about 20 per cent.
“He gives you know-how but he probably didn’t give us that menace and penetration that he’d given in the previous two games.
“He did his hour and then Kiko came on and played with nice energy and helped stretch the game out.
“But I’ll be disappointed now if we don’t get what we’ve worked so hard to get. We’ll be right up to the wire on one or two, but I’m confident we can bring two players in.”
Despite the scoreline this was not a thrilling match, and it took until the 37th minute for anything of note to occur, with Whittingham finding the net with a low shot after a good pull-back from former Huddersfield man Pilkington.
That seemed to wake up the ponderous hosts and they were able to catch Fabio out of position down the Cardiff right, with Nahki Wells placing the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Wells went through again straight from the kick-off after the break, but dallied long enough for Fabio to recover and block his shot.
Terriers winger Harry Bunn was similarly wasteful when given plenty of time by Kyle Dempsey’s cross, shooting wide of the post.
Cardiff put an end to that good Huddersfield spell on 61 minutes, with Fabio and Sammy Ameobi linking up to good effect down the right before squaring for Lex Immers to tap home.
Huddersfield were furious with referee David Webb five minutes later after the ball clearly struck Matthew Connolly on the arm in a packed penalty box, an infraction the officials ignored. Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall denied Wells once again
15 minutes from time, leaping to tip away the Bermudian’s bouncing scissor-kick. Whittingham gave Cardiff a two- goal cushion in the 79th minute with
a perfectly flighted free-kick from right on the edge of the 18-yard box, rendering Bunn’s injury-time strike nothing more than consolation. Huddersfield manager David Wagner said: “It was a clear penalty. To be honest during the game I wasn’t sure but after watching the clips it’s very clear. “We always try to stay in the game and scored a second goal in overtime, but we did make too many mistakes against a very strong Cardiff team.
“If you concede three goals at home it’s not easy to win, but normally if you score two goals at home you have to get more than no points.
“We made too many errors in our defence and if we can be more clinical in our offence we should be able to score more than two goals.”
FIRST BLOOD: Peter Whittingham scores the opening goal for Cardiff City