MORRISON’S DOUBLE HAS BLUEBIRDS ON BRINK...
Warnock’s men grab upper hand
CARDIFF are just one victory away from a place in the Premier League after a sensational two-goal salvo from skipper Sean Morrison.
Knocked off second spot by Fulham on Friday night, Cardiff arrived at the KC knowing three points were essential to keep matters in their own hands.
Step forward Morrison, who headed the Bluebirds into a firsthalf lead, then raced forward from centre-back to finish a sweeping counter-attack.
The defender’s heroics mean Cardiff need only match the Cottagers’ result on the final day to ensure a record eighth promotion for gaffer Neil Warnock.
“That was probably as big a game as I’ve had in my career,” said Warnock, whose side host out-of-form Reading in Sunday’s showdown.
“And as for next week, it’s massive. I don’t think anybody can realise yet what’s at stake, but I’m sure that will come.
“Everybody expects us to fall away. You’ve got decisions going for Fulham left, right and centre.
“A lot of teams might have been demoralised by what happened on Friday. But they’re a great bunch of lads. They get knocked down, they get bad decisions, but they get up and they get on with it. I know we’re limited. I know that we
aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. But we’re not going away. We’re like a rash and it’s just great to be their manager.”
Morrison’s first, a powerful header from Joe Ralls’ corner, enlivened a half scarred by stoppages, the most worrying of which saw Aron Gunnarsson depart with a serious knee injury.
Due to captain Iceland at this summer’s World Cup, the 29-yearold required the help of two physios to limp from the pitch and looked close to tears as he inched painfully into the tunnel. It now seems highly unlikely he will add to his 77 caps in Russia this summer.
“We won’t know until tomorrow, but Aron doesn’t go down easily,” said Warnock. “It looked a bad one.”
Hull’s Angus MacDonald also suffered an agonising exit, dislocating his shoulder in an innocuous tangle with Cardiff powerhouse Kenneth Zohore.
The fourth official eventually brandished eight minutes of stoppage time, though few at the KC welcomed the extension of a desperately dull half.
Dull, however, was just dandy for Warnock, especially against a side who have scored 15 goals in their last four matches.
Anchored by an impeccable back four, Cardiff revelled in wasting time, disrupting play and generally stifling a Hull side too limited to resist.
Not once was Neil Etheridge forced into a meaningful save, though Sol Bamba did produce a fine double block to deny Fraizer Campbell.
“All credit to Cardiff,” said Hull boss Nigel Adkins, who replaced Leonid Slutsky in December and engineered a series of high-scoring wins to keep his side in the division. “They’ve put themselves in that position through hard graft, doing the right things.
“For us, I’m disappointed. The level of performance wasn’t what I expected it to be, or what it has been at home recently. There was no real fluency to our game.
“It isn’t how I wanted to end the season but, big picture, we’ve kept ourselves in the Championship.”
The coup de grace came ten minutes from time when Nathaniel Mendez-Laing broke from deep and picked out Morrison at the back post. The defender deftly dumped Ondrej Mazuch on his backside before bending a beauty into the far corner.
“When you watch it back, it’s incredible,” said Warnock. “He actually starts in his own sixyard box. Then he carries on and carries on. I was thinking, ‘We’re winning 1-0, what the hell are you doing?’ But he must have just spotted that something was on.
“Incredible – I’ve told him to tell all the papers we practice doing it in training all the time!”
RUNNING MAN: Sean Morrison celebrates after scoring his second after a counter-attack
HIGH TIME: Sean Morrison climbs above the Hull defence to meet Joe Ralls’ corner and open the scoring for Cardiff