By Yousef Haider at the Cardiff City Stadium.Cardiff vs Leeds, a fixture that always brings a smile to Cardiff city fans faces.
At the old Ninian park, in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, a then lowly cardiff city managed to beat a, then, high flying Leeds united 2-1. A result that was a highlight for many fans for a long time. Long before Cardiff took part time residency at wembley, it was a stand out moment.
Leeds where then THE team in england. A star studded squad, a brilliant young manager, and top level european football.
Since then much has happened, Leeds ended up below Cardiff after a double relegation, but clashes between the two have always been competitive.
Today encounter marked a second opportunity for home fans to commemorate the passing of City legend Eddie May who sadly passed away, which was done in typical Bluebird fashion.
It also potentially marked a conclusion of sorts to Cardiff's promotion campaign.
A win would guarantee a play off spot, although with Reading spectacularly being the first team to get promoted to the Premiership this season, and Southampton looking likely to be the second, the play off"s look a daunting proposition this season, with the likes of West Ham and Birmingham having squads that rival most Premiership sides.
There were no changes from the midweek victory over Derby, and the manager had somehow resisted the urge to put Mark Hudson up front, after his spectacular strike from his own half. It was Miller and Mason up front.
The first 20 minutes were pretty uneventful with Cardiff creating the better chances, although neither keeper had a proper save to make.
The first noteworthy moment unfortunately was a terrible injury to Leigh Bromby. Although it was difficult to tell exactly what had happened, his team mates were visibly distressed, and eventually the crowd of physios and paramedics carried him off the pitch on a stretcher and he was replaced. Get well soon Leigh.
The match resumed, and with it, the same ebb and flow. Much a do about nothing, with Cardiff creating the better of the play, with neither Keeper actually having to save anything.
Just as me and a colleague commented on the fact that with only one shot of any meaning, it had still been a reasonably entertaining half, far from the best, but not the worst half of football we had ever seen, a ball, from no where travelled pretty much the entire length of the pitch from the back left position to the front right, and dropped for Joe Mason, who lobbed it across goal, over the keeper and in for his 12th goal of the season.
Cardiff 1-0 Leeds
The match all of a sudden came to life as you would expect, and cardiff were in command. Half time beckoned, however due to the injury, 6 minutes of injury time were added on.
Cardiff created chance after chance, Kenny Miller blasting one over, Wittingham tried to play him through, just to much on the ball, then Wittingham tried again, found his man, and Miller blasted it at the keeper.
Still 1-0 but we had a game to watch now. Cardiff could have gone in 2-0 up, but they were no doubt happy to be heading in with the lead.
The second half resumed, and Leeds created their best opportunity so far. A header from a cross......over the bar. Still no real trouble for Marshall.
At the other end a penalty claim turned down for Cardiff, and Kenny Miller was put through but ruled offside.
Cardiff were very much in charge of proceedings and a cross from the right found the head of Mark Hudson, who nearly scored in back to back games but unfortunatley put his header over the bar.
The noise picked up in the second half, after the first being all but silent from the city fans. Maybe it was nerves, but now the fans were counting down the minutes, 30 minutes, half an hour away from being guaranteed a play off spot. All the. Hard work was paying off. This would make it three years in a row for Cardiff, third time lucky? Three times for a Welshman, as the not so famous saying goes....
With 20 minutes to go, Andre Taylor drilled a volley across goal, and produced what must have been one of the saves of the season, from near enough point blank range.
Cardiff were in control, but I kept thinking that Marshall is yet to be tested, and City really needed that crucial second goal to secure the points and the playoffs!
Unfortunately, rather prophetically, the first shot on target that they had, they scored.
Snodgrass kept the ball in play on the touchline, hustled a cross, which was blocked and the second ball came in and was delicately headed into the net from less than a yard.
Marshall still hadn't made a save.
Cardiff 1-1 Leeds
Now surely this game would be on fire. For the remaining 15 minutes.
After a succession of corners, Joe Mason miss hit a shot, Ben Turner headed across goal, someone missed an overhead kick, and Kenny Miller found the net. After the whistle, a penalty claim was turned down, and at the other end Ben Turner again involved, this time making a crucial sliding tackle to halt a Leeds counter attack in its tracks.
10 minutes to go.
There was much huffing and puffing, but the clock was already on 90 minutes when Kenny Miller made way for Robert Earnshaw, and then a minute later Darcy Blake came on for Kevin McNaughton.
The match petered out and the whistle blew. It was a draw that felt like a loss considering what was on offer but the season isn't over yet.