Writer: Auckland Owl
Date:Monday September 28 2009
The first in what we hope will be a regular feature: Our man on the spot, spiro theocropolis, provides his player ratings from the weekend.
Lee Grant 5/10
Very unusual game for Grant, because I can't remember him making a single save. Cardiff didn't put him under much pressure, but he was beaten three times, twice for disallowed goals. A point taken off for conceding the penalty that let Cardiff back into the game.
Lewis Buxton 6/10
Had a pretty solid game by his recent standards. Didn't do anything particularly memorable, but didn't make any glaring mistakes either. Still struggles a bit going forward, and defensively was probably helped by the fact Cardiff didn't have a quick left winger like Forest and Boro. A big improvement.
Tommy Spurr 5/10
Had a decent game, got into some good positions going forward. Had to take a point off though for giving the ball away a couple of times in threatening positions, and getting the wrong side of his man for the penalty incident.
Richard Wood 6/10
Won a lot of headers, and put in some strong tackles, also threatened the Cardiff goal early on with a header over the bar. Distribution sometimes suspect though. Looked better than Purse.
Darren Purse 5/10
A big game for him against the side who let him go last summer, but once again did not look totally convincing. Won most of his headers, but missed one completely, leading to one of Cardiff's disallowed goals. Hopefully there is better to come from him.
Darren Potter 7/10
Seems to be gaining in confidence with every match, and once again pulled the strings. Along with O'Connor he seemed to lose control of midfield after the Cardiff equaliser, but improved again after half time. Was running the show in the second half. Beginning to think he may be a better player than Glenn Whelan.
James O'Connor 6/10
Did his usual solid job in midfield, although his control let him down a couple of times in the first half, and he conceded ground to Cardiff after their equaliser. Got forward well in the second half.
Michael Gray 7/10
Not at his best in the first half, and seemed to struggle to get involved, but was much improved after the break. Drifted inside from the right a lot, which put a lot of pressure on Buxton at right back. Combined well with Potter, and his passing and reading of the game were very good. Also drew the foul that led to the red card.
Etienne Esajas 8/10 - Man Of The Match
Excellent performance right from the start, he made a great run down the left wing in the first minute. Free-kick totally fooled the Cardiff keeper. His control and reading of the game were excellent, as was his delivery, setting up both of the second half goals. Also tracked back well on a couple of occasions covering Tommy Spurr's runs forward. Easily the best he's played starting a game, could this be a breakthrough performance?
Marcus Tudgay 5/10
Strangely under par performance from an in form striker. Substituted early in the second half, was he carrying an injury? Best moment an overhead kick wide in the first half. Still, he was due a bad game.
Luke Varney 8/10
Ran Esajas close for man of the match. Constant threat with his direct running. Hit the post in the first half. Started and finished the move for our second goal just after half time that put us back on the front foot. His workrate will always cause problems even when he's not playing well.
Leon Clarke 8/10
Came on for Tudgay early in the second half, and could have scored a hat-trick. Strength and control caused real problems for the Cardiff defence. Hit the post from a tight angle when put through shortly after coming on, but made amends with a classy finish for the third goal. Nearly scored with a neat chip just afterwards. Seems to have lost weight, and is definitely now a cult figure with the fans.
Jermaine Johnson 6/10
ooked like a man with a point to prove after being dropped, and probably tried a bit too hard. A superb run from the half way line almost brought him a solo goal, but should probably have squared the ball to Leon.
Akpo Sodje 5/10
Looked off the pace, but it was great just to see him back on the pitch. One excellent moment, when he turned his defender and almost scored.
Thanks, spiro, great job!
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Date:Monday September 28 2009
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