Nick D

BPL Post Matches 19th April 2014

Created on Apr. 19, 2014 11:55 AM EST

Cardiff City have failed to keep their BPL dreams alive after a hard fought match that saw them walk away sharing the points with Stoke City. Two penalties would leave the game all square at 1-1. This now leaves the struggling Welsh side on 29 points and second last on the ladder with only 3 games left to play.

Cardiff began the game strong and put the pressure on Stoke early on. Mutch had the Welsh sides first chance as he broke into space inside the box but his shot was well covered by Begovic. The Stoke keeper has proved to be one of the best in the EPL this season even though his team did let him down in a lot of games. Stoke though weren't going to be a push over and they did manage to slow down the game and started enjoying some possession in the midfield. Stoke also threatened with the high ball and Crouch was a bit unlucky not to be awarded a penalty kick as he was clearly having his shirt pulled as he tried to rise for the header. Next it was Cardiff that pushed forward and if it wasn't for some desperate defending by Shawcross almost found themselves in the lead. Campbell played a nice one two with Mutch and as he picked his spot from the top of the box, a last ditch slide by Shawcross managed to block the ball from hitting the target. The Stoke fought back and broke well with Odemwingie on the right side. As the froward made his way into the box he rifled in a powerful shot towards the near post but Marshall was there to block the shot. Whittingham would have the last chance before the halftime break as he fired in a fantastic free kick from about 30 yards out. But Begovic would scramble well and make sure the curling ball wouldn't find the back of the net. Then in a controversial decision saw Howard Webb award Stoke with a penalty after Kim was judged to have fouled Odemwingie. Arnautovic stepped up and f=drilled the ball home down the centre of the goal as the keeper committed to one side. The halftime whistle sounded soon after that, as Cardiff found themselves down a goal after having most of the play in the first half.

Solskjaer with a lot to do to keep his team from dropping back to the Championship Division

The second half began as the first half finished, this time in Cardiff's favour. As Cardiff pressured Stoke's defensive line a late challenge by Nzonzi saw him take out Campbell and this time Webb pointed to the spot in Cardiff's favour. Whittingham stepped up and he also drilled the ball down the centre of the goal as Begovic leapt to his left. 1-1 and this game was proving to be a tale of the penalties. Then to add to the controversy after some tough pressure by Cardiff saw them win three corner kicks in a row. The last one would see Cardiff have a great chance at goal but Begovic would once again deny the shot only to see Caulker head in the rebound. As the Cardiff players celebrated it was to be short lived as the linesman flag was up and would deny the home side and the home crowd their celebration. Solskjaer by then had seen enough and would take off Kim and bring on an Zaha to add to their attack. The game would see-saw after the change as both teams battled it out for possession in the midfield. Solskjaer would make another gamble as he brought on the ex-Stoke player Kenwyne Jones looking for the win with 10 minutes left to play. In the end Cardiff would fail to find the winning goal and the game would end a 1-1 draw.

Southampton tried to bounce back after their shock defeat to Cardiff City last week with a strong showing against Aston Villa, but the game would end in a goal-less draw. The Saints dominated the possession in the first half as Aston Villa struggled to get in the match. Lambert was causing a lot of trouble to the Villa defenders early on and Villa needed to be careful not to give the English striker too much space up front. Villa though did manage to get themselves into some good spots as Southampton pushed higher up the pitch. Agbonlahor almost made them pay as he broke well down the right side and made his way into the box. But his touch let him down as he played it just a bot too far in front of himself and gave Fonte time to get a foot to the ball and play it out into safety. Villa though were playing on thin ice as Southampton pressed on and should have had the lead just after the 30 minute mark. Davies found himself in the box and in space as the ball kindly bounced in his path. He wound up and fired at the goal but Guzan stretched well and managed to get a hand to the ball and keep the ball out of the goal. It was the wake up call Villa needed and as the end of the half approached Villa piled on the pressure on the Southampton defence. Though two corners in a row they still failed to really trouble the keeper. Halftime came and both teams locked at 0-0.

Lambert and Lallana proving to be a handful for the Villa defence in the first half

Aston Villa came out the better of the two in the second half and finally started to dominate the play at their home ground. This brought the crowd into the game as well as Villa pushed forward. Some good plays saw Villa get the chances but were not clinical enough in their final touch and not troubling Boruc too much. Villa continued their strong showing in the second half but still couldn't find that vital touch to break the deadlock. They also needed to be careful not to get caught on the counter as Lambert and Lallana were still lurking about. Holt was brought on for the last 10 minutes in hope to spark a result for Aston Villa and to increase the attacking depth of their forward line. Though it was to no avail as neither team could find the back of the net and would share the points. 

The other two matches saw Newcastle United lose 2-1 against Swansea City after a late penalty by Bony sealed the points for the Welsh side, while Crystal Palace would steal another away win, this time it was at West Ham United's expense losing 1-0 to the Eagles.

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