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Match Report: Cardiff City 0-0 Burnley (Cardiff Fan's Perspective)

Tuesday 20th March 2012
Who is the greatest footballer of all time? Who would win in a fight between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson? Will the new Batman film be as good as the last one? These are the questions I had plenty of time to ponder as Cardiff and Burnley found the obvious answer to the question: What happens when a side which wouldn't score if it played until next week faces a side that are quite happy with a nil-nil draw?

After Saturday's Championship games, Cardiff knew that a win over mid-table Burnley would have taken Malky Mackay's side up to fourth place and back into a strong play-off position.

Mackay kept faith with the team that lost 3-0 to Hull City on Wednesday, making only one change on the bench as Filip Kiss withdrew with illness to be replaced by Stephen McPhail, making a welcome return after suffering further problems with Sjogren's Syndrome.

Burnley made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace at Turf Moor, with Danny Lafferty replacing Ben Mee and Junior Stanislas, making his first start in more than two months after suffering with a hamstring problem, replacing Jay Rodriguez.

Before the match got underway, the whole stadium put all footballing matters aside and joined in wishing a speedy recovery to Fabrice Muamba with a heartfelt round of applause.

In what was a dour first half, chances were few and far between with neither side showing much of a cutting edge in and around the opposition box.

Marshall was the busiest of the two goalkeepers stopping shots early on from Martin Paterson and Ross Wallace, whilst Joe Mason managed to briefly worry the Burnley backline by rounding goalkeeper Lee Grant before being forced wide for the chance to come to nothing.

Burnley looked the most likely scorers, with David Edgar heading over from a Keiron Trippier free-kick followed by Stanislas testing David Marshall with a shot from the right hand side. In the 36th minute Danny Ings hit a shot just wide after cutting in from the left, as Burnley continued to pressure a Cardiff side that didn't seem able to string enough passes together to trouble the visitors.

Sections of the Cardiff City Stadium let their opinions of the first half be heard as boos brought a poor half to an end. And the second half started in much the same way, with both sides failing to provide any meaningful chances until Trippier's speculative long range effort failed to trouble Marshall on the hour mark.

Cardiff introduced Craig Conway to the game on 63 minutes, replacing Don Cowie, which seemed to spark the Bluebirds into life and brought some urgency to thir play. Soon after, Aron Gunnarsson was inches away from heading home a Liam Lawrence cross.

With Cardiff finally showing some attacking threat, Burnley seemed happy to settle for a point and did their best to run down the clock, with goalkeeper Lee Grant sometimes leaving the Cardiff players and fans wondering if play was ever going to restart.

Rob Earnshaw was brought on after 78 minutes for Kenny Miller and came close to making an immediate impact. His quick movement saw him almost get on the end of a Gunnarsson through ball before it was eventually cleared comfortably by the Burnley defence.

Gunnarsson was then replaced by McPhail as the Bluebirds looked to snatch three points and, as the fourth official raised the board for five minutes of injury time, Cardiff piled on the pressure.

The match-winning goal nearly came too. Andrew Taylor's whipped ball into the box was flicked towards goal with a glancing header by Earnshaw, but the ball drifted wide of the far post to leave the two teams sharing the points.

This result leaves Cardiff one point behind sixth-placed Middlesborough, who have a game in hand. But the lack of goal threat and recent form of the tired Bluebirds squad will leave many fans wondering if these missed opportunities to catch the teams above them will ultimately cost them at the end of the season.
Rob Morgan

Total articles: 3

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