Cardiff City played out a poor 0-0 draw with a Millwall side struggling to keep its head afloat near the foot if the Championship table.
With nothing to lose or gain apart from pride and a respectable position in the league, the Bluebirds teetered on the edge of the top half going into the game in 13th.
However, Millwall travelled to the Cardiff City Stadium with everything to play for. After being deducted points due to young defender Farrend Dawson being fielded for fellow strugglers Rotherham after his loan deal expired, Millwall will find themselves below Rotherham in the relegation battle and hopeful of knowing whether or not they will have points taken off them or not.
The start of the first half started as many of Cardiff’s games have started and been played out throughout the season; plenty of half-chances, shots from far out and long balls from both sides that never really troubled either goalkeeper.
Cardiff, again much like they have this season, controlled the tempo of the game. Whittingham flashed why he has been a staple in the side for so long, as he whipped accurate passes from the centre of the park to either wing.
This control of possession eventually started to pay off for the Bluebirds, as stand-out man Craig Noone caused all sorts of trouble down the right wing for Millwall full back Harding.
In the 25th minute, all of Cardiff’s control nearly allowed for the breakthrough they so thoroughly deserved, as Doyle toe-poked a shot at centre back Sid Nelson which then fell to Noone once again, who was able to shimmy around two defenders and put a dangerous chip into the box.
The Bluebirds were without any big strikers up front, which usually benefits their long ball tactics. However, the smaller and swifter partnership of Doyle and Mason nearly paid off at the tail-end of the first half as Marshall was the catalyst on a quick counter attack that allowed Doyle to leave the defenders tracking him in the dirt, but he was unable to accurately pick out Mason who flew into the box and would have surely put the home team ahead if he had gotten anything on the end of it.
Millwall’s frustration was clear to see, and striker Lee Gregory extracted his anger out on Ecuele Manga with a two-footed challenge that forced the home crowd to erupt in jeers and chants for Gregory to gain a straight red.
To the dismay of everyone in the stands and on the pitch, Gregory only received a yellow, and Peltier portrayed the feelings of the fans as he allegedly spat at Gregory and also received a yellow for his part of the melee that followed.
Millwall manager Neil Harris urged his team to come into the second half and show a bit more intensity, and they looked like a side desperately fighting for their place in the league, and two early chances nearly gave them what would have been a shocking lead. Beevers found himself in the middle of the box with no one around, and a strong shot shook the crossbar, with the follow-up nearly proving as deadly apart from the fact that Marshall showcased his prowess for commanding his penalty area and successful held a strong strike into the right hand side of the goal.
Millwall continued to pile the pressure on a Cardiff side that looked quite content with just taking the one point instead of all three, and it would be hard pressed to find any highlights from a lacklustre second half performance from the home side, that assistant manager Scott Young attributed to being “frustrated to play without possession”. The most significant chance came from a Millwall counter attack lead by substitute Ricardo Fuller, who was praised by Neil Harris who giving Millwall a bit of a spark in attack, who portrayed his strength as he pushed Manga to the side, and cut back a low cross to fellow substitute Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who looked destined to finally break the deadlock, but was unable to get the ball from out underneath his feet.
This result will be one to overlook for the Bluebirds, but there will be positives to take away – especially the play in the midfield from Whittingham and Noone, and also the defensively play pointed out by Scott Young, who stated that it is as important to be “good defensively, get clean sheets” as it is to be effective offensively. Millwall will certainly view this as two points lost instead of one point gained, with Neil Harris reluctantly stating it was just a “good point”.