WARNOCK’S LOVING VIEW FROM THE TOP
CARDIFF CITY remain on top of the Championship despite being held to a goalless draw by Derby.
Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds have been sensational so far this season and even though they weren’t at their best in what was their third game in a week, they still managed to gather a point.
Veteran boss Warnock celebrates a year in charge of the Welsh side on Thursday and it’s been one to remember for the 68-year-old, who is a master at this level.
Cardiff were second bottom when Warnock took over last October, but since then the turnaround has been remarkable and they remain the team the rest must catch going into this season’s second international break.
“It’s been a remarkable year because we were talking about avoiding relegation when I came in,” Warnock said. “I’m only partly disappointed. The game was there to be won, but we kept our home record intact and to get seven points in a week is a tremendous effort.
“I can’t fault the players at all and I’m delighted to keep the run going. The Championship is not a league to get too euphoric when you do well or too down when you don’t.
“We tried to win but couldn’t, so I’m pleased with a clean sheet. That’s what keeps you at the top of the league and it’s been a great start. I’m looking forward to the break now.”
A shocking first period saw both teams struggle to create clear-cut chances. Junior Hoilett went close for Cardiff, but his 25-yard rocket was tipped over by Scott Carson. Loic Damour also dragged wide for the hosts, but otherwise former England stopper Carson was unworked.
The second half, thankfully, was much better. Cardiff’s fans were incensed by the decisionmaking of referee James Linington, and their anger made for a raucous atmosphere in the Welsh capital.
And Derby gave as good as they got, the arrival of striker Chris Martin after the break making the world of difference to their attack.
Craig Forsyth – who had earlier given Damour his opportunity when slipping on the edge of the box – struck the crossbar with a crossed effort and Tom Huddlestone’s shot was deflected wide.
The impressive Tom Lawrence had set up Huddlestone, the Wales midfielder joining former Bluebird Joe Ledley in appearing on familiar territory at Cardiff City Stadium.
Warnock introduced Lee Tomlin to the fray in search of a goal and Cardiff had further chances.
Richard Keogh did brilliantly to block Nathaniel MendezLaing’s effort, but it was Derby who finished the stronger and they should really have secured all three points.
Bradley Johnson couldn’t find the target with two efforts, but when substitute David Nugent was put through on goal, it looked like we’d finally get a goal.
Cardiff stopper Neil Etheridge had other ideas though and produced a fine save as the game ended as a stalemate.
Derby boss Gary Rowett said: “If you’d told me before the game we’d have had a clean sheet and limited Cardiff to just one real chance then I’d have been happy.
“But we were the better side in the second half and deserved to win the game. We had two or three great chances after the break, but we just couldn’t make the most of them.”
AT FULL STRETCH: Derby’s Tom Huddlestone battles with Cardiff City’s Junior Hoilett