Wales On Sunday


- GLEN WILLIAMS Football Correspond­ent sport@walesonlin­

AFURIOUS Mick McCarthy bemoaned the manner in which Cardiff City fell to yet another late equaliser for the second week running against Reading.

The Bluebirds took the lead in the 87th minute and looked to have sealed all three points when Kieffer Moore slammed home his penalty.

But Yakou Meite had other ideas when the Royals man popped up in the box and headed home with basically the last kick of the match - five minutes into stoppage time.

It was a similar story to last week when Adam Armstrong poked home his second of the match to earn Blackburn Rovers a last-gasp equaliser at Cardiff City Stadium.

And the manager is ruing the four points his team has essentiall­y poured down the drain in the last two matches.

“I’m raging,” the manager said. “That’s how I’m feeling. I’m sick of conceding goals at half-time, full time, full time today.

“I said on Saturday that Blackburn, with their performanc­e, they deserved it, but I’m not bothered about people deserving it, we shouldn’t let them off the hook and we did.

“We have done it today. We’ve been terrific, we’ve blocked stuff, defended, caught them on the break, we could have scored a couple more in the second half.

“We just let our guard down again. And I’m raging.”

City have just lost that mean streak, that ruthlessne­ss they had before the internatio­nal break.

Their results since beating Swansea City 1-0 read two defeats and two draws, just two points from a possible 12, and McCarthy is desperate to get his team back to that derby performanc­e.

“I can’t criticise the lads for 94 minutes, they’ve been terrific,” he added. “Then they take a throw-in, we let the cross come in, we are not marking when it comes in, you’ve just got to keep going.

“They’ve made great blocks, defended superbly well, they’ve handled what they could throw at us.

“I’m disappoint­ed for the players, they are all raging, they are all sick. We have got to get that out of us.

“Prior to the internatio­nal break, we saw games out.

“At Swansea, they were putting us under pressure and we saw it out and won that game 1-0. We’ve got to get back to that.”

And McCarthy has said he believes it wasn’t the right time to play his relatively untested tyros, but conceded he has quite the dilemma moving forward into the last four fixtures.

“I’m not sure it was a game for that,” McCarthy said. “You get to a point in it where there are 15 minutes left and you’ve got Josh Murphy, it’s not like I’m putting muggings on, is it?

“And Sheyi Ojo, they created loads because the game was stretched and they are both really quick and talented, they created chances for us.

“Look, I would like to (play some of the youngsters), but I have to keep the integrity of the league as well. We have to try and win games and I have a (responsibi­lity) to myself and everyone else to play the strongest team.

“But I would still like to see some of the young ones play. I’m in a bit of a quandary.”

There is perhaps a sense that McCarthy would like to get the games against Reading and Brentford out of the way before he has some scope in the final three fixtures, all against relegation candidates, to change things up.

But the decision to place Joe Ralls into the starting line-up, McCarthy said, was because he felt the midfielder warranted selection after a couple of wholeheart­ed performanc­es despite some difficult results in recent weeks.

“I knew what we were going to have against Reading and it was pretty much the strongest team, the most experience­d team we could put on,” he added.

“Joe Ralls, he’s deserved it, he came on against Sheffield Wednesday and I thought he played well, despite everything that was.

“He certainly did well against Blackburn, scoring his goal, he has been superb, his profession­alism in not being in the team.

“He’s deserved that and I thought he played very well today.

“I didn’t need wholesale changes. They rewarded me with a really good performanc­e and the way I feel now is sad actually, because I don’t deserve to feel like that after the way we’ve played.”

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