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Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City v Reading
Championship League Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Tuesday, May 17th 2011, 7.45pm

James Clyde
(Reading fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Reading were playing in the play-offs and I was looking forward to the match. I went with my Dad, who was also looking forward to it. Reading had drawn, 0-0, with Cardiff in the first leg. I went hopeful of a win, which would take the Royals to Wembley.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Finding the ground was quite easy, as it’s right next to the old Ninian Park. The journey was uneventful; the traffic was ok up until the Newport area – when the M4 goes down to two lanes and there was huge tail backs. The trip took just over two hours. There is an away car park just outside of the away corner; however it’s not well sign posted. This meant we went into the main car park instead (where we had been directed by the stewards). In front of us was another Reading fan, who had also gone to the wrong car park.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We went straight into the ground. The home fans seemed okay though and there were no problems.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground is like most of the modern British league stadiums. It has also been compared to Reading’s stadium; the Madjeski. The away corner had a surprisingly good view. There were two or three exits/entrances for away fans making access to the seats and concourse quick.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

There was great atmosphere from both side leading up to the game. The stewards were friendly and the facilities were good.


In the game, it didn’t take long for the first chance of the game, only a minute gone when Shane Long hit the side netting for the Royals. Cardiff had the next chance, but it was fired straight at a Reading player. It bounced back out to another Cardiff player, but again it was blocked. Cardiff had a great chance to take the lead; Jay Bothroyd had a shot deflected wide from twenty yards out. Then the moment that changed the game, a Griffin throw that was flicked on by Cummings, then controlled by Long, but was fired away by a Cardiff midfielder, towards his own net. It hit his own McNaughton in the back and both he and Shane Long chased after the bouncing ball. The Cardiff goalkeeper rushed out and fired the ball straight at Long, about twenty-five yards out. Long flicked the ball forward and the ball ended in bouncing perfectly into the Cardiff net. A huge delayed cheer from the Reading fans at the other end of the ground followed. The Berkshire club was leading the game one-nil. Cardiff then could have had a penalty, the cross came in from the right and a Cardiff player was pushed in the back by Mikele Leigertwood. It wasn’t given, though. With one minute to go before half-time, Reading won a corner on the right. Jobi McAnuff played the ball in, bounced a yard away from captain Matt Mills, who was being tugged back by a Cardiff player. The referee gave a penalty. However, from the Reading’s fans view it was hard to tell if a penalty was given or not. An initial cheer was then stopped for a moment or so, before everyone in the Reading end realised that a penalty had been given. Shane Long stepped up – while I hopped that Ian Harte had stepped up, because of his better record with penalties throughout the season. Long sent the keeper the wrong way and the Royals were two up in Cardiff. The referee then blew his whistle for half time.

 

In the second half, Cardiff missed a great chance to get a goal back, but the Cardiff’s Emmanuel-Thomas fired is shot across Adam Federici’s goal. Reading had a chance to go three up; Jobi McAnuff ran from the centre circle and reached the semi-circle on the edge of the Cardiff box, passed the ball left to Long, who crossed in towards the on rushing Noel Hunt. Hunt could only head the ball on to the post, as the ball skidded on the surface – picking up pace – before reaching Hunt. Cardiff, again, had a chance to get a goal back. Emmanuel-Thomas played the ball down in the ground and the ball bounced up and over the Reading goal. Federici could have been sent off after getting to a ball outside of his penalty area, before the Cardiff striker and Reading defenders. Cardiff fans claimed that it was handled by the Australian. Reading’s Long crossed the ball to fellow Irishman Noel Hunt, who fired across the face of the Cardiff goal from 10 yards. Then the game was over, A Griffin throw in to Leigertwood, followed by a pass to McAnuff – who was about thirty-five yards out at the time – ran towards the box. Twisting passed two Cardiff players before reaching the box, being tackled by one of them – with the referee playing an advantage – keeping his footing and firing into the Cardiff net. The Cardiff fans started to leave the stadium. Loads of people surged down the aisle next to me towards the pitch – they were stopped from getting on to the pitch by stewards and the police. The players celebrated in front of the Reading fans. Also, the Cardiff fans had “happy clappers” which ended up being used as missiles. These were thrown at players, officials, police and the Reading fans. The game was stopped for a few minutes, because of this.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We didn’t get away from the ground for about half an hour, partly due to celebrating with the players – however the players couldn’t stay out for long, due to some Cardiff fans getting on to the pitch – and partly due to the away fans being locked the away car park area for about half an hour after the match.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a great day out. The Royals had a trip to Wembley and a great three-nil win against Cardiff. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve heard watching Reading. It’s a nice stadium and has good facilities and a good away car park, but nothing special.


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