By Ian Hallam



I didn’t bother looking at the team sheet. I put my hands over my ears when it was announced over the tannoy. I wanted to try and work it out after the kick off. The game kicked off and so I first had a look at our defence. No surprise seeing Marshall in goal, Brayford at left back, OK that’s alright, the new boy Manga in central defence with Cala, comfortable with that I was. Then I saw Connolly at left back and I could only but stare.
This really amazed me knowing at best Connelly is a central defender and can fill the right back spot but never in a million years should he me on the left side. I immediately thought of the time we had Commingues playing in that position who was a natural right midfielder. Every time Manuel played there the opposition targeted him and we struggled. So having Connelly in the same position just did not console me and within 2 minutes my fears came true.

Middlesborough first attack went straight for Connolly. He was left stranded and so were the 2 central defenders from the cross that resulted in a tap in goal for the visitors. Their lone striker seem to have acres of space 6 yards out and had no problem putting the ball away as he found himself between the 2 defenders. Shocking start and I was angry.
I sat back in my seat and another thought came into my head and that was as far as I am concerned that is our promotion challenge finished. I envisage us struggling to get back in this game and with all the changes going on I just cannot see us getting it right in time especially with this manager who has not impressed me at all since his arrival. I just wanted to get this game out the way and allow time to accept the fact we will be still in this league next campaign.
Anyway back to the game. Actually I’ll keep this bit short. For the remainder of the first half all I saw was the visitors making effort on our goal in plenty while we had perhaps one or two. There was a common element to both teams here and that was the quality of shooting which was very poor thankfully for us. After the goal I don’t think there was one shot on target from either team.

The second half started more promisingly for Cardiff and it was then I realised Whitts and Daehli were in the team. I actually checked the team sheet to see if they were in the starting 11. Now Whitts for me is only on the pitch these days because he can do that one bit of magic. He did it against Huddersfield with a goal and for Jones goal against Fulham where his long diagonal pass basically creating the goal there. Unfortunately this season he has developed this habit of getting easily dispossessed putting pressure on the back four. This continued in the second half and I wondered if this is what Ole meant by being consistent.
Cardiff tried to force the game in the opponents half but just could not break the visitors defence down. It would of help if they could have targeted a Cardiff player but it seem each effort was easily collected by the Middlesborough keeper who used to be known as Dropalot. Don’t know who gave him that name but it didn’t fit the bill tonight. Even Whitts corners which use to be driven low and bullet like to the far post were more like a rugby conversation that Dropalot, well I’m sure he called mark on some of them.
Cardiff made a couple of substitutions in the second half bringing on Le Fondre and Guerra who is all fairness made a bit of a difference. Unfortunately their input made no improvement in the overall performance. By then I just wished the game ended and we were put out of our misery. The only team look like scoring in the final 10 minutes was the visitors who had a few breakaway chances that would have been put away by an average strike force. As said earlier they were just as bad at that as we were trying to play football.
The game came to an end with the visitors taking the 3 points. That meant Cardiff had won 1 point from the last 12. For the most expensive squad in the division that says there is something very wrong. Some blame the players while quite a few are pointing the finger at the manager. Me, who do I look at, well quite a few things. I’m not convinced this squad is as good as most say, I have not seen anything from the manager to convince me but I feel the real problem lies somewhere else. That being the fact we have the guys with the dough that know nothing about football and what it is all about.

That’s where I think it is and as soon as that is gone we just might get back to being the club we all use to know.