There’s only one Coloccini – Cardiff v Newcastle match report.

Posted on September 13th, 2009 | 15 Comments |

Taff land
Taff land
One of the problems of living in South Somerset is that I’m only Devon and Cornwall short of being as far as it’s possible to get from St James’s Park and still be in England. One of the advantages of being in the Championship, though, is that there are a few more away games within reasonable driving distance.

One such place is Cardiff, which is about 50 minutes up the M5, across the new Severn Bridge and another 40 minutes down the M4. Getting to the M5 was plagued, as usual, by the network of farmers who arrange to get their tractors on the roads whenever I get my car out, but the journey was otherwise only interrupted when I picked my father-in-law up from Magor on the way. We found some great parking right next to the entrance thanks to some advice from a Scunthorpe fan I read on web site.

The last time I was at Cardiff City was in 1981 when they played at Ninian Park (we won 4-0) but they now play at a new ground which is a stone’s throw away from where the old ground used to be. Throwing stones at the old ground is in fact all it was good for but the new ground is decent enough with a 28,800 capacity of which 25,600 seats were taken today.

I was sat right in the back row and I’d left my specs in the car, so I squinted through most of the game trying to follow the action. It started well for us attacking the goal at the far end and for the first 20 minutes or so Cardiff hardly troubled our half at all. I wouldn’t say we were particularly inventive but we certainly dominated and Guthrie found himself with a shooting chance early on but was denied by a decent sliding tackle from a Cardiff defender.

The next clear chance fell to Ryan Taylor after quarter of an hour or so but his shot did the pinball wizard, pinging off a few defenders and eventually rolling out for a corner. Ryan Taylor curled in the corner kick which Ranger jumped for and missed but the ball found its way back out to Taylor who hoofed in another cross. A hair-do emerged high from the crowd of players, closely followed by and the head to which it’s attached, and suddenly Coloccini has us 1-0 up with a header into the bottom corner.

The crowd was already in good voice but the goal spurred on the ginger-haired choirmaster in front of me even more and Geordie chants dominated the stadium for the rest of the first half as the Cardiff fans seemed to lose their voices.

Cardiff did pick up the pace a bit after the goal and had one or two chances, most notably from a free-kick just before half-time, but we seemed to deal with everything they threw at us and there wasn’t really much cause for concern.

After half-time Cardiff seemed a bit more urgent about their attacking play and forced a good save from Harper early on after a bit of careless defending from Steve Taylor. Cardiff retained the initiative for a while and a couple of corners and one or two shots rattled the away fans’ nerves a bit, although only mildly so. If truth be told it never felt like we were in any real danger. It seemed as if it would take something special from someone like Chopra to level the scores but in the absence of that we looked comfortable enough even through Cardiff’s best spell of the game. In fact the chap next to me said as much when Cardiff’s Bothroyd headed the ball wide 20 minutes into the half.

We had our moments in the second half and Ranger, who I didn’t think was at his best in the first 45 minutes, worked hard to hold the ball up and try to make something of it. On one or two occasions he seemed to lack support and with nobody to pass to he would eventually find himself dispossessed as Cardiff would set 2 or 3 players on him.

During the last 10 minutes or so there was a feeling we weren’t getting the decisions from the ref and chants questioning his parentage began to break out. This made the Toon fans a little bit nervy as time ran down and the 4 minutes of injury-time felt like 10. The only thing that silenced the away crowd though was when Alan Smith brought down Bothroyd and it looked for a moment as if the ref had pointed to the spot. There was a deathly quiet until we realised it was just a free kick. Still, it was close in and we were relieved to see the wall do its job and stop the shot.

Agonisingly the injury-time ticked down and we could eventually rejoice in the win.

It wasn’t a particularly good game and it was obvious we lacked potency up front without Ameobi and Carrol but, as I said, we never looked like we would actually lose and that – despite some dominant spells from Cardiff in the 2nd half – made me think we were worthy of the 3 points.

Getting out of Cardiff was a nightmare and we spent 60 minutes in a traffic jam before getting to the M4 where we immediately ran into another traffic jam. Eventually we got off the M4 to skip a few junctions but it was slow progress until we got back to civilisation and into England. It took us twice as long to get home as it did to get there and of course the local farmers had arranged a welcoming party of tractors for me when I got off the M5 at Taunton.

Still, it was nice to get to my first match of the season and we’re still top of the league, so I’m not complaining!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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15 Responses

  1. Great craic, Hugh. Sorry for treading on your toes. I thought you’d ended on an all-dayer so I decided to write something. Nothing better than the real thing though. Good result for your first one mate. Hopefully one of many.

    By the way, you’ll not have seen but Guthrie looked miffed coming off. Which I suppose is what you want and hopefully it’ll bring about positives rather than negatives.

  2. HI ALL NEWCASTLE FANS. You are all welcome at our 1200 capacity venue next to the POSH ground ON Tuesday 22 sept for a pre Cup match drink . CLUB METRO is located next to the ground and the major car and coach park. The train station is a five minute walk over the Bridge.We are easy to find , please just look for all the flags. We aim to serve all fans within 5 minutes of entering. Please dont get squashed into a little venue.. big support means…. a big venue…. AND THATS CLUB METRO.

  3. “I was sat right in the back row and I’d left my specs in the car, so I squinted through most of the game trying to follow the action.”

    So the photo is more or less exactly as you saw it then, Hugh? :-)

  4. workyticket says:
    September 13, 2009 at 9:51 pm (Edit)

    So the photo is more or less exactly as you saw it then, Hugh? :-)


    Pretty much!

    My eyes work up to about the distance I was from the near edge of the pitch. I need them for driving, watching football matches, hitting cricket balls and spotting gazelle in the middle distance.

    I was quite annoyed to have left them in the car.

  5. bowburnmag says:
    September 13, 2009 at 9:35 pm (Edit)

    Great craic, Hugh. Sorry for treading on your toes. I thought you’d ended on an all-dayer so I decided to write something.


    No problem BBM, as I explained the journey back was a whole lot longer than anticipated. Then when I got back I had to walk the dog and whatnot.

    I got my wife to drive back and, knowing I’d be late, wrote a lot of the article on my iPhone while I could still remember anything (I’m not known for my memory), which was extremely wearing on the thumbs!

  6. half the first team were dancing away in floritas tonight, must have been given the day off tomorrow!!
    kevin nolan and nicky butt were a bit worse for wear like!! haha
    fair crack though, in actually glad they want to go out with each other and get pissed, i would rather that than ignore each other and count their pennies like it obviously was like!!

  7. anybody else think these new football stadiums,which have sprung up over the last ten years,are meccano sets?
    cardiff,s new stadium is like coventry,s which is like southampton,s which is like leicester,s which is similar to doncaster,s which is like boro,s etc…
    football now is getting like everything else in society,clonesville x factor throw away culture everywhere you look.
    the atmosphere at the game yesterday was poor,it all seems a bit rent a crowd now.
    sorry for going off topic,but it,s doing my box in,rant over.

  8. trojan

    agreed have you seen spurs’ new stadium i think it looks a little like the emirates wembley imo looks like most of the new age stadiums aswell(bar the arch) its one of the things i like about st james’ it doesnt look like rest it looks a little different even though some people say it looks as though its not finished

  9. batty says:
    September 14, 2009 at 10:39 am

    “worky have you heard off stardust and hows the biily thing coming a long m8”

    Haven’t heard from him for a few days batty.

  10. Trojan – aye, totally agree but seems like most club’s won’t/can’t pay over-the-odds for fancy designing and implementation. They’ll pay basic for off-the-shelf stuff that means more and more stadiums start to look alike. Grounds always seemed like they had more character when it wasn’t all-seater as many of them were lop-sided and random. The fact many were grimy probably also added to the character.

    Our’s is unique as much for it’s central location as anything else.

  11. bowburnmag says:
    September 14, 2009 at 11:30 am (Edit)

    “Our’s is unique as much for it’s central location as anything else.”

    Our’s is also famous for being a lopsided monstosity.

    What’s happened to Hugh’s early morning blogging?

  12. workyticket says:
    September 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm (Edit)

    What’s happened to Hugh’s early morning blogging?


    Apologies, I’ve been ludicrously busy at work for the last week so my posts have been erratic but I’m hoping it’ll ease up in a day or two when I get the Yanks off my back.

  13. Our’s is also famous for being a lopsided monstosity.

    st james’ is not a manstrosity i actually like the fact that its lopsided it adds character and i’d rathher have our stadium than the vast majority of the new ones as ours does have character and individuality