by Tom Walker at the Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City maintained their brilliant record against Huddersfield Town thanks to a late winner from substitute Juliet Hoilett on Wednesday night.
A second consecutive home win for the Bluebirds gives them two wins from their opening four league games – having lost away to Wigan Athletic and Reading.
In front of over 21,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium, Neil Warnock’s side showed their intent within the first 90 seconds as Josh Murphy had his curling effort saved by Huddersfield keeper Kamil Grabara.
Cardiff had 12 shots before their first goal which finally came in the 41st minute from Joe Ralls. The ball fell to Ralls just inside the penalty box from an Aden Flint knockdown. A nice bit of skill got him away from his defender before the Englishman slotted it nicely into the top right corner.
After the break, the visitors came out with something to prove and equalised in the 49th minute after a lovely strike from Huddersfield’s outstanding player on the night, Trevor Chalobah.
Cardiff reacted well to the goal, regaining control of the game and started pushing for the winner. A double substitution from Warnock saw Omar Bogle and Junior Hoillet come on and it wasn’t long before they made an impact, with Bogle hitting the bar from a freekick in the 80th minute.
The winner eventually came in the 87th minute after Junior Hoilett latched onto Murphy’s through ball before the resulting shot deflected off Hogg and flew past the helpless keeper.
In what Warnock called Cardiff’s best performance of the season, we outline three things that his side would have learnt on Wednesday night:
1) Press coherently or not at all
A common theme of the first half was Cardiff pressing Huddersfield high up the pitch. Huddersfield are well regarded as a possession-based team in the Championship so the thought process seemed logical.
However, the application was extremely poor with the Terriers’ centre-backs bypassing straight through the Cardiff press with a simple through ball, resulting in the Huddersfield midfield having acres of space to carry the ball forward untroubled.
Luckily for the Bluebirds, it didn’t affect the end result, but with more tougher tests to come, this tactic may need revisiting on the training ground or scrapped altogether.
2) Keep giving Murphy a chance
The tricky winger was Cardiff’s most potent threat down the left side last night, however it is clear to see he often leaves fans frustrated with his questionable shot selection and periods of general sloppiness during games.
That said, his one assist, eight crosses and six Key Passes from last night should not be overlooked. His pace and trickery gave Cardiff another dimension as well as providing the team with much-needed width.
With consistent game time, the errors within his game should diminish, leaving the Bluebirds with a high-quality attacking player.
3) Be more clinical
“I don’t know how we hadn’t comfortably put that one to bed”, were the words of Cardiff boss Neil Warnock after the game, and it’s hard to disagree with him.
The home side had 24 shots but only put six of them on target. Striker Robert Glatzel had five shots, with four of them coming inside the box, but was only able to put one on target.
If Cardiff have any aspirations of even challenging for a playoff spot, they will need to improve in front of goal – and quickly.