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29 March 2014
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 25661
West Bromwich Albion
M. Amalfitano 2'
G. Dorrans 9'
T. Bifouma 90'+
J. Mutch 30'
S. Caulker 73'
M. Dæhli 90'+
It might be two points dropped for both of these sides, but what an enthralling encounter! Both managers felt elation and frustration in those amazing last minutes and it keeps things very interesting at the bottom of the league! Many thanks for joining me for this one. I have been Hayden Gribble, and I hope you have a great evening.
Pepe Mel is furious with the fourth official as that equaliser came a minute over the time allocated. It's controversial, but it keeps Cardiff in with a shout of surviving the drop. The full time whistle blows to a chorus of boos from the home side.
90' + 5'
90' + 5'
GOAL! What an end to this game!! Cardiff have rescued a point! Daehli sneaks a shot on the swivel and sees his effort deflected past Foster to send the away fans into delirium! What a moment!
90' + 4'
GOAL! What an important goal! Heartbreak for the visitors and it's the Baggies who secure all three points! There is a huge slice of luck as a cross from the left takes a deflection into the path of the substitute Thievy, who waits in the six-yard-box to poke the ball through the legs of Marshall!
90' + 2'
WIDE! Gera skews his effort wide of Marshall's left-hand post and wastes a glorious chance to secure all three points. Now the Bluebirds in red fly up the other end...end to end stuff but with little intensity if I'm honest!
There will be FOUR minutes of added on time.
Solskjaer decides to throw Wittingham on instead of Jones after Medel failed to shake off an knock.
Nobody is leaving the stadium as the outcome of this one remains in a balance. A point helps neither of these sides in the fight to stay in the league next season. Who will provide the killer punch?
STAT ATTACK: The Baggies have won just two of their last 20 matches and kept one clean sheet in that period.
One last throw of the dice now for the Bluebirds as Solskjaer looks to Jones to make an impression from the bench. Will the former super-sub profit from a goal from the change? We are in the final ten minutes...
CHANCE! Daeli gets in through the gap in the box and decides to shoot from a narrow angle instead of squaring it for Campbell. Foster gathers the effort with ease.
Yellow CardCraig Bellamy
ELSEWHERE IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE: This afternoon could go from bad to worse for the Baggies as Crystal Palace are currently leading the league leaders Chelsea 1-0 at Selhurst Park. That would open up a two-point gap between those two sides, with the Midlanders dropping to 17th.
Talk about the captain leading by example. The England defender has been a rock at the back today and has well and truly got his side a great chance to go on and win this game!
GOAL! Caulker scores and levels for the Bluebirds! He guides the ball into the back of the net with a looping effort that flies over Foster and into the net for what could be a pivotal goal in the relegation fight!
The Hawthorns faithful are roaring their side back into action as the slightest chance of a break is quickly extinguished.
It must be said that for all this pressure from the visitors, Foster has had a quiet second half between the sticks. Time is slowly beginning to run out...
It's all Cardiff now as Solskjaer is imploring his men to keep this tempo up. Is an equaliser on it's way?
STAT ATTACK: The Bluebirds have suffered eight league away defeats in a row. They last lost nine successive top-flight away matches between December 1928 and March 1929.
Yellow CardGraham Dorrans
SUPERB SAVE! Campbell lashes an effort from just inside the box that draws a fantastic diving save from Foster, who palms it out to Bellamy, who fails to create a chance for himself.
Zaha - who could have had a shot himself - lays it off to Bellamy, whose shot hits the legs of Ridgewell and rebounds away. The Welsh outfit are stepping it up here.
BLOCKED! Caulker throws his body in the way of a bullet of a shot from Dorrans after a good counter attack from the home side. The Bluebirds captain will be feeling that in the morning!
Zaha has offered more pace down the right and is linking well with Bellamy but both have failed to create any real chances so far today. Campbell has cut an isolated figure up front as the Baggies continue to swamp the midfield.
STAT ATTACK: Only Fulham have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League than West Brom's five.
Bellamy gets in round the back of the Baggies defense and twists and turns to make room for a pass to Campbell, but the striker's run is not to the former Wales International's satisfaction and he gives him a volley of verbal after being dispossessed.
GREAT SAVE! What a brilliant stop from Marshall. Vydra connects with the ball and is thwarted by the stopper and Dorrans blasts over the rebound. Pepe Mel is hopping mad on the touchline!
DEFLECTED WIDE! The hosts have come out with fire in their bellies as Cardiff fail to clear a free-kick. It falls to Mulumbu, whose low effort takes a deflection off his own players and out for a goal kick.
OVER AND OUT! The visitors are on the backfoot from the restart as Sessegnon wins a corner on the left. Dorrans delivery causes confusion in the box and the ball falls to Dawson, who blasts the ball over from close range.
Aron Einar Gunnarsson
The Bluebirds get us back underway, kicking from left to right. Can they get back in this match?
HALF TIME - WEST BROM 2-1 CARDIFF. A compelling contest sees the Baggies leading at the break with two early goals from Amalfitano and Dorrans putting Pepe Mel's men in cruise control before the ten minute mark. But Jordan Mutch's cross/shot has installed an air of nerves in the home side and it's all to play for after the break!
45' + 2'
Sessegnon has had a disappointing afternoon so far on the left flank and again a short pass fails to reach Vydra, leading to groans from the home support. It's as if someone has broken into The Hawthorns with an atmosphere hoover!
There will be THREE minutes of added on time.
OVER! Vydra wins a contentious free-kick on the edge of the box for the hosts. Dorrans lines up the set piece, but his effort is tame and floats over the bar and out of danger.
WELL WIDE! Bellamy lays the ball off for Medel, who strikes from 25 yards out. But the former Sevilla man's body shape is all out and he blasts it into the crowd.
With five minutes to go, the Baggies are starting to come back into the action here. They have not created many chances since the second goal and Cardiff have begun to look more threatening. Is it possible that the winning manager will be the least happiest at half time?
EASY SAVE! The atmosphere within The Hawthorns has well and truly changed. Mulumbu works some space for himself but his low shot is saved by Marshall.
Fabio Da Silva
Zaha is being prepared on the sidelines as it looks like Fabio has pulled up with a niggle. Or is it a tactical change for Solskjaer? Either way, it's one Man United loanee being replaced by another - can he make the difference?
The Bluebirds look reinvigorated by that strike and it has breathed life into this game again. Now it's Pepe Mel's turn to look pensive in the technical area.
STAT ATTACK: Before Mutch's goal, Cardiff had only scored EIGHT first half goals in the Premier League all season.
AssistAron Einar Gunnarsson
GOAL! Cardiff are right back in this! Mutch takes the ball down to the right of the box and loops a cross into the area, but it looks like his effort is caught by the wind and it curls into Foster's top corner. Well, well, well. I didn't see that coming!
Dorrans and Vydra are linking nicely and causing all sorts of problems in the area. This time the striker is played in by the goalscorer but Caulker is there to put the ball out into touch.
Cardiff are still showing a lack of tenacity and Mutch is cutting a frustrated figure in the middle of the park. The crowd are lifting the home side as the Baggies continue to dominate.
HALF CHANCE: Caulker meets Bellamy's corner but heads it straight up in the air and it is dealt with by Foster, who wins a free-kick following a melee in the six-yard-box.
Foster has to be quick at getting to a backpass from Reid and just manages to boot it away as Bellamy charges in. Still no signs of encouragement from the away side.
STAT ATTACK: Cardiff have lost eight of Solskjaer's 11 league games in charge (W2, D1, L8).
In comparison, this is the most explosive start the Baggies have made all season. But if they take their foot off the pedal, maybe a window of opportunity will open up for Solskjaer's men.
The visitors look so shaken right now and are struggling to build up a cohesive pattern of play. Is their afternoon - indeed season - over already?
STAT ATTACK: West Brom have lost just one of the last seven home league games, albeit against Manchester United in their last game at The Hawthorns (W1, D5, L1)
The Bluebirds just have not turned up here and Solskjaer is screaming at his charges from the dugout. Where do they go from here? Meanwhile, the home support have a minutes applause in tribute to club legend Jeff Astle. How the Bluebirds could do with a striker like him today.
GOAL! West Brom go 2-0 up and it is a dream start for Pepe Mel's men. Once again, Amalfitano is in the thick of the action, playing a great ball into the box, where it is cushioned on to Dorrans, who taps the ball past Marshall.
The hosts win a free-kick after Fabio fouls Ridgewell on the left. Dorrans floats the ball towards the back post but fails to find a teammate. It wasn't a bad cross, though.
The visitors are looking so nervous at the back today as Taylor struggles to clear a Ridgewell cross from the left. Marshall is then also called into action. It's all going on here.
GOAL! What a start for the home side! Amalfitano capitalizes on a poor defensive header and loops the ball over the stranded Marshall and into the net from distance. It looked like a cross but the midfielder won't care about that!
AS IT STANDS: The Bluebirds can move level on points with their hosts if they take all three points this afternoon. Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want nothing less!
We are off...with West Brom kicking from left to right.
The atmosphere is rocking here in the Midlands and how the Baggies will need the home support today. Pepe Mel makes his way to the bench as both teams huddle in the middle.
Both teams are lining up in the tunnel...we are moments away now.
Today's match referee will be Michael Oliver. We are getting closer to kick-off. I have a feeling it's going to be a nail biter for both sets of supporters at The Hawthorns today!
Cardiff (5-3-2): Marshall; Fabio, Turner, Caulker, Theophile-Catherine, Taylor; Medel, Mutch, Gunnarsson; Bellamy, Campbell. Subs: Lewis, Whittingham, Jones, Cowie, Cala, Daehli, Zaha.
West Brom (4-5-1): Foster, Reid, McAuley, Dawson, Ridgewell; Morrison, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Amalfitano, Sessegnon; Vydra. Subs: Myhill, Lugano, Berahino, Thievy, Gera, O'Neil, Roofe.
Hello! Good afternoon and welcome to this crucial Premier League clash between West Brom and Cardiff. I am Hayden Gribble and I shall be your guide through all the ups and downs of what could prove to be a defining game for both these struggling sides. Let's get the team news...
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