Wednesday, 21 September 2011

League Cup Conclusions from the Cardiff City Stadium

Cardiff City2-2 AETLeicester City
(HT 1-1)
Cowie 33
Gestede 81
Howard 40
Dyer 66

Cardiff City win 7-6 on penalties

Cardiff City Stadium, attendance: 8,697
BBC Match Report

Home Team: Weale, Pantsil, Mills (Peltier 46), St Ledger (81), Ball, Dyer (78), Johnson (Abe 91), Moussa (Fernandes 81), Danns, Howard, Schlupp

Away Team: Marshall, Taylor (Naylor 60), Keinan (73), Quinn (117), Kiss, Cowie, Blake, McPhail (Gunnarson 29), Earnshaw, Gestede, Mason (Conway 74)

  • This was a night for winners. Fringe players made their mark tonight. Whether it was Steve Howard or Lloyd Dyer with a point to prove or young Jeff Schlupp fighting for a break into the first XI, individually there were a lot of good performances from a very strong Leicester City B-team. Lest we forget, Cardiff City are in the same league as the Foxes and they were held to extra time by a B-team that would probably hold their own against any other Championship side, too.
  • The better team lost. That B-team had the better of Cardiff for the majority of normal time and indeed into the extra half hour, too. It was only the pot luck of penalty kicks and a miscue from Gelson Fernandes that saw this season's foray in the League Cup come to an end.

Michael Johnson
The Manchester City loanee looked a very classy player against a mediocre Bluebirds side and he showed the potential he has to be a key asset in the Foxes' promotion push this season. The only downside is Eriksson's choice, should the manager wish to field Johnson in the league: to play the midfielder, one of Neil Danns, Richie Wellens, Yuki Abe or Andy King must make way in a very congested central third.

Jeff Schlupp
Another great performance from a young man who, quite simply, has no fear. With Frankie Howard as an outlet, Schlupp had a partner in attack and as a duo they caused chaos in the home side's defence. This boy is coming of age in the League Cup and he will light up the Championship before Christmas. With Beckford alongside him, their pace would tear apart any team in the league.

Steve Howard
We must not forget Big Frankie Howard's performance tonight, as it served as a timely reminder of his capability. He lures defenders towards his immense presence, creating space for the likes of Schlupp to do their thing. That, and his height and power mean he is deadly in the box, particularly when delivered a ball of quality akin to that which Schlupp delivered for the Scot's equaliser.

Lloyd Dyer
Another man who has suddenly found himself on the fringes is Lloyd Dyer. The former MK Dons winger has shown, however, that he still has the pace and finishing that made him so adored of Foxes' fans during the club's season in the third tier. Another good League Cup performance from the winger, and an important goal to boot.

Lee Peltier
A note for full-back Peltier, who put in an admirable shift filling-in for the substituted Matt Mills at centre half. He's no Dimitar Berbatov (for those who enjoyed Manchester United's thrashing of Leeds yesterday), but his was a good effort nonetheless.

The League Cup (Sponsored by an American Brewing Conglomerate)
The abysmal 8,697 attendance of this fixture is symptomatic of the problem with this competition. What is the interest in paying £20-30 for a ticket - plus the ale, food and travel costs of attending football matches - for an early-stage tie between two teams who will play in the league just a few days later? Following a football team is an expensive pastime for a home games-only fan, but for a travelling fan, in a 'nothing' competition, the costs just don't add-up. It's a shame for Foxes' fans that it is a problem in a competition in which Leicester City have historically done so well but, without the magic of the FA Cup (Sponsored By A Different American Brewing Conglomerate), are the League Cup's days finally numbered?

Chris Weale
Another goal from distance evades the now-firmly-no-longer-number-one.

Alan Young
Neil Danns!

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