Relive Cardiff's 2-1 win over Coventry as the Bluebirds hold off a late fightback to book their place in the second round of the League Cup.
By Barney Corkhill, Staff Reporter Filed: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 19:15 UK
Last Updated: Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:12 UK
Cardiff City booked their place in the second round of the League Cup this evening courtesy of a deserved 2-1 victory over Coventry City at Sixfields.
The visitors took the lead after just four minutes through Guido Burgstaller, but failed to turn their first-half dominance into goals as they went into the break just one ahead.
They finally did double their advantage with 10 minutes remaining as Ryan Haynes turned the ball into his own net, and that proved to be enough despite Shaun Miller pulling a goal back almost immediately afterwards.
You can read how the full 90 minutes unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.
7.15pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's League Cup first round encounter between League One side Coventry City and the Championship's Cardiff City. We had an unbelievable night of action in this competition yesterday, with 32 matches yielding 102 goals, including a 6-6 draw and two eight-goal thrillers, so hopefully the entertainment will continue here tonight. First things first, though, let's take a look at the teams...
7.21pmSo, what can we make of those teams? Well, there are three changes for the hosts as Lee Burge replaces Allsop in goal, with Jack Finch and Billy Daniels also coming into the starting lineup. There is no place in the squad for Reda Johnson, who scored twice at the weekend but picked up a knock in the process, meaning that Steven Pressley has opted against risking his striker.
7.23pmCardiff, meanwhile, are still without Turner and Noone but are able to hand a debut to Jazzi Barnum-Bobb tonight. The likes of Dikgacoi and Macheda are not yet fit enough to make their own debuts for the club, however, while Javi Guerra is also not included in the squad.
7.25pmCoventry come into this match on the back of a disappointing defeat to Bradford at the weekend, and it was another match that encapsulated the story of the club over the past season. They have no problems scoring goals, and when Johnson equalised in the 89th minute on Saturday they must have thought that they had earned a point, but they are also vulnerable at the other end - as shown by the fact they conceded again in stoppage time to lose.
7.27pmIt was a very turbulent campaign for the Sky Blues last season as they had to contend with a 10-point deduction from the start of the campaign. They quickly set about obliterating that and looked in good form before tailing off in the second half of the season to finally finish 18th. It is worth noting, however, that without the 10-point deduction they would have finished all the way up in ninth.
7.29pmLast season was the perfect example of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. For a team that finished in 18th, their tally of 74 goals scored is a staggering one, with only three teams in the league managing more - all of whom finished in the top four. They certainly know exactly where the goal is and, on the early evidence this season, they could be looking to outscore their opponents again.
7.31pmHowever, at the other end things are a little more shaky, and it says a lot that, even having scored that many goals, they still finished with a minus goal difference. They conceded 77 times last season, and again only three teams in the division had a worse record. Of course, their campaign was disrupted by the fact that they were unable to play at the Ricoh Arena, instead playing here at Sixfields all season. The end to that saga looks like it could be in sight, but they will have to make do with playing at the home of Northampton Town for the early stages of this campaign at least.
7.33pmCardiff, meanwhile, didn't have the best of times last season either. Uncertainty surrounded the club from the top down, and they ended up finish dead last in the Premier League. Life in the Championship didn't get off to a great start either as they blew a one-goal lead to draw with Blackburn in the season opener on Friday, but they remain many people's favourites to bounce straight back into the top flight. A good cup run could give them added confidence, but there could also be the temptation for Solskjaer to simply focus on the league.
7.35pmUnlike Coventry, Cardiff didn't have the strength of goalscoring at their disposal last season. Indeed, only Norwich scored fewer goals than the Bluebirds over the Premier League campaign, with Cardiff managing just 32 in their 38 outings. At the other end things weren't much better as Cardiff conceded 74 times - a tally second only to Fulham's 85.
7.37pmThey have a decent record in the early round of this competition, though, having only lost one of their last six first-round encounters. However, it is worth noting that the last time they took part in the first round of the League Cup they were beaten 2-1 by Northampton Town in this very stadium, back in 2012. Coventry, by contrast, have lost four of their last five opening round League Cup ties, including last season against Leyton Orient.
7.39pmThe exception to those first-round defeats came in 2012-13, when they had a decent run to the third round before being knocked out emphatically by Arsenal, losing 6-1 at the Emirates. Given their poor defensive record recently, it won't come as a surprise to their fans that they are without a clean sheet in their last five home matches in this competition - a run they will find it difficult to break tonight.
7.41pmPREDICTION: Right, we're just under five minutes from kickoff at Sixfields, which means it is about time I made a prediction. This is quite a tough one to call, not least because Coventry can be so erratic in their play. Their should certainly be goals, with both teams weak at the back, but I think Cardiff superior quality will just about shine through. I'll go for 2-1 to the Bluebirds.
7.43pmCoventry have not won any of their last nine meetings with Coventry, a run that stretches back to 2007, and their home record isn't great either. They have not won any of their last six matches against Cardiff in front of their own fans, losing three and drawing three.
7.45pmThere is one more match in the League Cup tonight, and I will be keeping you up to date with major events from the game between Sheffield United and Mansfield.
1 minKICKOFF: Coventry get us underway at Sixfields for this game, which should be an entertaining one. Who can make it into the second round of the League Cup tonight?
3 minAs expected, it is Cardiff who have taken control of the ball early on here, getting a foothold in the game without trying anything too spectacular in the final third. Both teams are just feeling each other out at the moment.
4 minWhat a start for the visitors! It is far too easy for Cardiff as one long ball over the top finds Maynard in a good position. He holds it up well before flicking it towards Burgstaller, who makes the most of some weak defending before drilling an effort into the bottom far corner. Good finish, but it could have been avoided by the hosts.
6 minThis is a really big test for Coventry now. Cardiff were favourites going into the game, and now they are under no pressure to go and get a goal. That is just what the visitors needed, but the onus is now very much on Coventry to attack. Then again, that is what they are good at!
8 minCardiff do have a measure of control in these early stages, and if Coventry can't get a foot on the ball more often then it could be a long night for them. We know that the hosts have a shaky defence, and I would be surprised if they kept the Championship side at bay for the rest of this match.
9 minCHANCE! Half a chance for Cardiff as Coventry give the ball away in midfield, allowing the visitors to flood forward. Burgstaller fizzes a low ball into the middle and Maynard attacks it really well, but he can't turn it goalwards when sliding in.
11 minCardiff are really dominating possession now, dictating the tempo of the match and attacking almost at will. Burgstaller in particular has looked bright in these opening exchanges, with a couple of decent passess and crosses in addition to his goal.
13 minCoventry finally get the ball back, but they don't keep it for long, firing it upfield and making it easy for the Cardiff defence to pick off. The hosts need to keep possession better here if they are to stand any chance.
15 minO'Brien shows a couple of nice touches in midfield and, more importantly, actually keeps hold of the ball. That is what the hosts need - a player to just keep things ticking over in the middle of the park. O'Brien shows a couple of signs of doing that, but then gives it straight to a red shirt and Cardiff go upfield and fire a shot wide.
17 minCoventry give the ball away yet again in a suicidal position, with Maynard pouncing on it and slipping a pass to Kim. The South Korean has men in the box to aim for, but chooses to shoot for an impossible angle and fires it wide of the near post.
19 minBurgstaller is looking really dangerous here. He slides another low ball into the box that Finch just about manages to clear, this time mis-kicking it to a blue shirt. The Coventry defender hasn't had the best of times tonight.
20 minYELLOW CARD! The first card of the night goes to Matt Connolly of Cardiff, and he can have no complaints. It was a poor tackle as he scythed his man down with a late and heavy challenge. A booking all day long.
22 minSHOT! Ralls is left in acres of space on the edge of the box and is picked out by a short corner. He lines up a shot and drills a low effort towards goal, but it takes a touch on the way through and goes behind for a corner.
24 minCoventry simply can't keep the ball at the moment. They have been dreadful in possession so far, misplacing simple short passes and sending a lot of long balls forward that give the front two very little chance. The hosts need to improve a lot if they are to get back into this one.
26 minSAVE! Good play again from Cardiff as they move into the Coventry area through John, who works space to shoot before firing a powerful effort towards the front post. Burge has his angles right, however, and is able to beat the ball away.
28 minSolskjaer will be pretty happy with how his side have performed in this opening half an hour or so, but he may want the scoreboard to reflect Cardiff's dominance so far. They have been in complete control but are yet to really test the keeper since that opening goal.
30 minThis has resembled a training ground match for large periods so far. Cardiff are simply keeping the ball without any great desire to push forward and get a second, while Coventry are finding it hard to get anywhere their Championship opponents. It is very one sided.
32 minTo be fair to Coventry, they have defended fairly well when Cardiff have actually made it into their penalty area. The goal was a poor piece of defending, but since then they have kept the visitors at bay despite gifting them possession in some very kind areas.
34 minWorrying signs for Coventry here as McQuoid is down and holding his hip. He was on the end of that heavy challenge from Connolly earlier, so could still be feeling the effects of that. That would be a big blow for the hosts, particularly if it is bad enough to keep him out for a while.
36 minThe fans unite in a joint protest against their respective owners. Coventry make their point known about playing at Sixfields, which is 35 miles away from their usual home at the Ricoh Arena, in the 35th minute. A number of fans stand on the hill outside the stadium as they are still refusing to pay for a ticket to the ground.
38 minMcQuoid is back on the field, by the way, and it looks like he will be fine to continue. He has been isolated for long spells in this first half, with the hosts spending much of it on the back foot. It has been very hard for them to put together anything like a threatening attack.
40 minThere were a few big shocks in this competition last night, but so far tonight it doesn't look like there will be another. Cardiff have been in cruise control so far and you feel that they have a couple more gears they could move into. They will want a second sooner rather than later, however, as 1-0 is by no means a safe lead to have.
42 minOne thing Cardiff have done well tonight is their defending from the front. They have given the Coventry defence very little time on the ball, which has forced a number of mistakes or aimless long balls forward.
44 minCoventry continue to hold out here, but Pressley will surely make a change - either in personnel or tactically - at the break. His side have offered nothing going forward so far and look to have another mistake in them to gift Cardiff a second goal.
45+1 minThere will be a minimum of two minutes added time at the end of this first half.
8.40pmThe referee brings an end to the first half, and in truth it wasn't the best 45 minutes of football that you will ever see. After all the goals and drama of last night's League Cup matches, this one has been something of an anti-climax so far, with Cardiff in complete control over Coventry. Neither side have played at a great tempo and it has all been a bit flat really.
8.42pmThe one true highlight of that first half came early on as Burgstaller opened his Cardiff account with a crisp finish into the bottom corner. It was nice play from Maynard to set up the chance, but the defending from Coventry was very suspect.
8.44pmAside from that, there really has been little to talk about. Ralls, John and Maynard have all had half chances for the visitors without really being able to test the keeper, while Coventry have not offered anything in an attacking sense at the other end. It has been a disappointing performance from the hosts in particular, who are not used to having games without much action. They need to go for it more in the second half.
8.46pmOne saving grace for Coventry is that the score remains just 1-0. As long as that is the case, the hosts are still in with a chance here tonight, and Pressley will no doubt be telling his players that now. However, they need to improve immeasurably from that first-half performance. They were poor in possession and couldn't deal with Cardiff's pressure from the front. The Sky Blues have given the ball away far too often, including a number of times in dangerous positions, and they will perhaps feel fortunate to only be one goal down right now.
8.48pmHaving said that, Cardiff have not exactly threatened the Coventry goal as much as their dominance would suggest. The visitors have had it all their own way in terms of possession and seem very comfortable, but they haven't been able to turn that into chances. Perhaps the early goal made them a little complacent, and it does look like they have a few more gears if they need it, but they will be keen for that second goal nice and early in this next 45 minutes.
8.50pmI am expecting a more entertaining second half at Sixfields, with Coventry having no choice but to throw caution to the wind as time goes on. Incidentally, the other League Cup match taking place tonight is still goalless, so at least we have seen the net bulge here!
46 minKICKOFF: Cardiff get us back underway for the second half as they look to double their lead and put one foot into the second round. It was too easy for them in the first half, can Coventry make it a little tougher in the next 45 minutes?
48 minPressley is not looking too happy on the touchline. He hasn't made any changes at the break, but his face suggests that he had a few choice words for his side during the interval. Something needs to fire the hosts up after what was a drab first-half display.
48 minSAVE! Burge is forced into his toughest save of the night so far, but it is one he'd expect to make. Kim was given far too much room just outside the area and curled a decent effort towards the far corner, but it was at a nice height for Burge to get across and push it away.
50 minCardiff have quickly reassumed control of this one, dominating possession since the restart. It is all good saying Coventry need to up the tempo and push forward, but they simply can't get the ball right now.
51 minCOVENTRY SUB: An early sub in this second half from the hosts as Ryan Haynes comes on in place of Danny Pugh, who appears to have a slight ankle problem.
52 minNice football from Cardiff in and around the box, but the ball just doesn't sit up right for them and Coventry eventually crowd the box out. However, they make a mess of getting it clear again and almost gift the visitors another chance.
53 minSHOT! Coventry have a very rare effort on goal as O'Brien manages to dig out a cross from the left, finding McQuoid in the middle. The striker rises higher than his marker but can't get enough power on his header to trouble the keeper as it loops up and wide of the post.
55 minUPDATE: There has been a goal at Bramall Lane in the other League Cup fixture tonight, and it is the hosts Sheffield United that have taken the lead! They could well be on their way into the second round.
57 minHaynes looks to make an impact off the bench as he delivers a decent ball into the box that is just about cleared. Coventry work it back forward, however, and McQuoid just flicks a clever volley wide of the mark. Much better from the hosts, and a warning shot for Cardiff.
59 minUPDATE: That lead didn't last long! Less than five minutes after Sheffield United broke the deadlock, Mansfield have equalised. As things stand, they are heading for extra time at Bramall Lane courtesy of Alex Fisher's goal.
61 minWith half an hour left in this match Solskjaer must be thinking about pushing on for a second goal. They would be left kicking themselves if they don;t go on to win this match in normal time.
62 minCOVENTRY SUB: A second change for the hosts as Shaun Miller comes on for Billy Daniels. Can the sub make a difference and provide a much needed spark for his side?
63 minBetter from the hosts as Haynes works space to cross from the left before whipping a wicked ball towards the back post. Clarke is there to meet it, but the angle is against him and he can't steer a tricky header on target.
65 minLovely play down the right between Kim and Barnum-Bobb. The duo exchange passes a couple of times before the latter whips a cross into the middle - just about keeping it in play on the byline. However, Burge reads it well and picks it off before it can cause any problems.
67 minCARDIFF SUBS: Solskjaer opts to make a double change here as goalscorer Burgstaller and debutant Barnum-Bobb are replaced by Mats Moller Daehli and Kadeem Harris.
69 minCOVENTRY SUB: Third and final change for the hosts as a baby-faced James Maddison comes on for his senior debut, replacing McQuoid. Interesting change with Coventry needing a goal.
70 minSAVE! Nice play from O'Brien as he drives forward from midfield, picking the ball up on the edge of the box before beating one man and drilling a shot towards goal. It is straight at the keeper, but it is yet another encouraging sign for the hosts, who are beginning to show more of a threat in the final third.
72 minAt long last, Coventry seem to be closing Cardiff down with a bit of urgency. They force a sliced clearance from the keeper in doing so, while all over the field the visitors are being made to work a lot harder to keep hold of the ball.
73 minSHOT! Again, Coventry give the ball away in a dangerous area, gifting it straight to Maynard. As ever, the Cardiff striker is alert to the chance and tries to catch the keeper off guard with an early shot, but it is straight at Burge, who holds on comfortably.
74 minSAVE! More good play from Maynard as he turns on the ball and runs straight at the defence, who back off and seem reluctant to put a tackle in. That suits Maynard perfectly as he makes his way into the area before drilling an effort towards goal, but once again it is straight at the keeper.
75 minCHANCE! Coventry finally carve out a chance! Swanson picks the ball up in a good are and uses the decoy runner well, skipping past a defender to move into the box. After a good run, though, he drags his shot well wide of the mark when he should have at least hit the target.
77 minChances like that will serve to make Cardiff even more nervous, however, and with just over 10 minutes left there is still time for the hosts to pile more pressure on the Championship side here. Could Cardiff be made to pay for not putting this game to bed?
78 minCHANCE! Cardiff should have been made to pay! What a chance for the hosts as a long diagonal ball takes out the Cardiff defence and finds Miller in a great position. The sub only has the keeper to beat, but he loses his composure at the vital moment and fires it a long, long way over the bar. The best opening of the match by some distance!
80 minCoventry have been getting more and more into this second half has time has gone on, and we are now at the point where they look most likely to score. They should have found the back of the net with at least one of those last two chances, but Cardiff will be getting increasingly nervous in these closing stages now. I said 1-0 was not a safe lead, and that is certainly proving to be the case.
80 minWell, 1-0 may not have been a safe lead, but this surely is enough for the visitors to book their place in the second round now. Daehli is released down the left flank by a long ball forward, and he cuts inside to deliver a fine cross to the back post. A lot of credit must go to Harris, who puts Haynes under a lot of pressure as the Coventry man turns it into the back of his own net.
83 minMaybe this one is not quite over! Coventry hit back straight away to halve the deficit as Haynes recovers from his own goal to send an enticing cross into the middle that Miller finishes on the volley. What a response from the hosts, and Cardiff are once again in for a nervy finish!
85 minThere is so much more hunger about Coventry right now, and it makes you wonder why they didn't play like this from the start. They were simply dreadful in the first half but have grown into the second and look a lot better now. There is still time for them to salvage extra time at least as well.
87 minHaynes and Miller deserve a lot of credit for not letting their heads drop to combine for that Coventry goal. Haynes had turned the ball into his own net just a minutes before, while Miller had missed a sitter earlier in the game as well. They didn't let that get to them, however, which will prove to Pressley that they have character at the very least.
89 minUPDATE: There is late drama at Bramall Lane as well, with Sheffield United taking the lead against Mansfield in the 87th minute. McNulty got the goal to make it 2-1 to the hosts, which will surely now be enough for them to progress.
90+1 minThere will be a minimum of four minutes added time at the end of this match - still time for some more late drama at Sixfields!
90+3 minCLOSE! Almost a dramatic equaliser for Coventry as Webster peels off his marker to get to a corner, nodding it just wide. It looked like the man on the line had it covered, while the corner was wrongly awarded in the first place, but it was not far away from Webster.
9.41pmCardiff just about manage to hold on and book their place in the second round of the League Cup courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Coventry at Sixfields. It was a deserved victory for the Championship side, who spent the majority of the match in complete control, but it was not as comfortable as they would have liked. They failed to turn their dominance into goals, and that almost came back to haunt them at the end. It was a nervy final 10 minutes or so, but Coventry woke up too late and can have no complaints as having lost this match.
9.43pmThe first half was pretty much one-way traffic for Cardiff as they dictated the play, but they only managed a solitary goal as Guido Burgstaller opened his account with a good finish into the bottom corner after less than five minutes. They were forced to wait until the 80th minute for their second, and it came via a Sky Blue shirt as sub Ryan Haynes turned a cross into his own net. He responded quickly, however, setting up Shaun Miller for a goal less than two minutes later, but it was too little too late for the hosts.
9.45pmRight, that is all we have time for tonight! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for this League Cup clash as Cardiff hold on to grab a deserved victory over a Coventry side that didn't get going until it was too late. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction, as well as news from the draw for the second round. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!