Don Cowie

Sunderland 4-0 Cardiff: Black Cats lift themselves from the relegation zone with win (video)

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Gus Poyet’s Sunderland revival looks to be nearing completion.

With a massive 3-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Cardiff City, the home fans at the Stadium of Light have seen their team take control of its own destiny in the fight for Premier League survival.

Connor Wickham opened the scoring for the home side with a header just before the half-hour mark, with a controversial penalty and straight red just before halftime dooming Cardiff City.

Both sides started very cautiously, as nervy would be the best way to describe the opening half-hour.

In the first 25 minutes, the biggest highlight was a shot well wide by Don Cowie and a crunching tackle by Lee Cattermole (also, water is wet).

As the clock neared the half-hour mark, however, Sunderland took the best chance thus far and put it in the back of the net.  A corner bounced on its way to the far post, and Wickham was there to nudge Kevin Theophile-Catherine out of the way, getting a head to the ball and sending it back across the face of the goal.

Wickham’s header snuck over the head of Peter Wittingham covering the near post, and the ball nestled into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

Sunderland nearly went two-up less than 10 minutes later when Jack Colback looked to finish a quick break off a long ball but he slashed it just wide right.

It got chippy right before halftime, with Gary Medel, Jordan Mutch, and Santiago Vergini all receiving yellow cards in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Just before the halftime whistle, a major mistake by Cardiff defender Juan Cala put Sunderland well and truly ahead.  He was dispossessed as the last man back by Connor Wickham, and he in turn held back Wickham, earning himself a red card.

source: Getty Images
Connor Wickham left Cardiff City sprawled flat as a complete two-goal performance put Sunderland easily by the Bluebirds.

The sending off could not be disputed, but referee Phil Dowd also awarded a penalty for the foul despite a long attempt to play advantage.

Replays showed the foul took place well outside the box, but Fabio Borini was strong from the spot for a 2-0 lead on the stroke of halftime.

FIFA rules do state if a last-man foul continues into the box, which it appeared to do, then a penalty should be awarded.

In addition, Dowd waited a full eight seconds before blowing his whistle to end the attempt at playing advantage. Premier League rules state the referee can wait “a few seconds” before deciding to pull back advantage.

The second half was all Sunderland, with John O’Shea coming close to a third for Sunderland, as a brilliant ball from Johnson curled into the box for the defender but even a sublime first touch from O’Shea couldn’t keep it from Theophile-Catherine.

Cardiff offered little, and they were saved from conceding a third by David Marshall in the 72nd minute. The ball bounced around and fell to Colback on the left edge of the box, and he cut across to Borini who slid in for the finish, but Marshall was equal to the task.

The third did finally come in the 76th minute, as substitute Emmanuel Giaccherini put away a perfect through ball from Borini and Sunderland were officially out of the relegation zone.

Wickham picked up a second for his brace in exactly the same fashion as his first, beating Theophile-Catherine off a corner to head the ball into the back of the net.

Kenwyne Jones looked to head in a consolation prize for the visitors, but it went over, and it looks as if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attempt to rescue Cardiff City from a host of off the field issues could be for naught.

Sunderland are now in 17th position, even on points with Norwich City but ahead on goal difference with a game in hand.  Cardiff are now bottom of the table with 30 points, joined by Norwich and also Fulham, who failed to keep pace with Sunderland by dropping a 2-goal lead to Hull City.

The relegation battle remains heated, with the four clubs just two full points apart, but Vincent Tan’s decision to sack Malky Mackay looks more and more calamitous as they continue to spiral out of control.

LINEUPS:

Sunderland – Mannone; Vergini, Alonso, O’Shea, Brown; Cattermole, Larsson (Giaccherini 73′), Colback (Bridcutt 84′), Johnson (Gardner 84′); Borini, Wickham.

Goals: Wickham 26′, 86′; Borini 45’+1 (pen); Giaccherini 76′

Cardiff City – Marshall; Theophile, Caulker, Cala, Fabio (Jones 64′); Cowie (Zaha 46′), Medel, Whittingham, Dæhli; Mutch, Campbell (Bellamy 74′).

Discipline: Cala (straight red) 45’+1

Watch Live: Cardiff vs. West Bromwich Albion (Lineups and Discuss)

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This game will be a real battle down in South Wales as both teams are struggling for form.

With recent defeats coupled by better performances by the teams around them, Cardiff and West Brom are suddnely embroiled in a relegation battle.

The Bluebirds haven’t won at home since beating Swansea early in November and the Baggies have lost three straight to plummet down the league.

WATCH LIVE ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

Cardiff bring in striker Peter Odemwingie as he comes up against his former club with Craig Noone and Andrew Taylor also coming in for Don Cowie and Declan John.

West Brom make two chances as Shane Long and Jonas Olsson come back in, while Scott Sinclair is back on the bench after being our injured. Sinclair returns to the bench after being out since September with a hamstring injury.

LINEUPS

Cardiff:
Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker, Taylor; Whittingham, Medel, Mutch, Noone, Odemwingie; Campbell

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob, Amalfitano, Sessegnon, Brunt, Long

Cardiff City 1-0 Swansea City: Home side takes first-ever top-flight South Wales derby (video)

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A historic matchup began cagey but ended furiously as Steven Caulker’s bullet header earned Cardiff City the victory in the first-ever South Wales derby in the top flight.

Swansea begun on top at Cardiff City, but like Spurs could not muster a serious amount of definitive strikes on goal.

It took Cardiff a while to finally make their way into the Swansea half, but once they finally did, they slowly gained a stronger grip on possession.  Gary Medel was a key cog in the Cardiff buildup, and the midfield work by the Bluebirds finally forced Swansea to do some defending by the 25th minute.

Angel Rangel, who made some disparaging prematch comments on Cardiff’s signing of Medel, was key in the Swansea defense as Cardiff pushed further forward.

With both teams appearing to be playing timidly, the snoozer of a first half came to an end with nothing much to show for it.

Things opened up a bit in the second half as rain slowly increased.  The first real chance fell to the home side in the 54th minute, with a great ball sent into the box for Craig Bellamy, who headed back to the center of the 6-yard box where Don Cowie was waiting, but Cowie just missed the header.

Finally, seemingly out of nowhere, the deadlock was broken in the 62nd minute.  Cardiff won a corner, and former Swan Steven Caulker rose high above Chico Flores for a towering header and directed it past both Michel Vorm and Jonjo Shelvey into the net.

source: Getty Images
Craig Bellamy and Cardiff put everything they had to keep Swansea out.

The goal erupted Cardiff City Stadium to life, and brought new life to the dull match on both ends.

Swansea were dealt a blow just after the goal as Michu was forced off with an ankle injury.  He had been off on the sidelines for some time adjusting his boots before returning, only to be substituted off after the goal, and he headed straight for the tunnel.

Swansea looked their brightest while fighting back from a goal down, but Cardiff continued to exert their full energy to keep the lead. Substitute Frazier Campbell had a great opportunity from close range in the 81st minute.  His first attempt was blocked by Chico, and although Campbell worked hard for a follow-up, it came from a tight angle and Vorm saved comfortably.

The visitors continued to push in the rain, with Jonathan de Guzman putting a good header on goal in the 87th minute, but David Marshall saved well.  Numbers continued to fly forward from the Swans, with Pozuelo testing Marshall just before added time.

But the biggest blow to Swansea would come in stoppage time. A long ball found Frazier Campbell, and Michel Vorm came out of the 18-yard box to challenge, with all numbers forward and no defenders back. Vorm stuck his foot high to challenge and Campbell went down, earning the Swansea goalkeeper a straight red card.

With all substitutes used, defender Angel Rangel went into goal and was immediately tested from the free kick, turning the ball over the bar well, impressively even for a defender.

That was the end of Swansea though, and Cardiff saw the game out.  The three points for Malky Mackay and Cardiff are massive, taking them from 17th to 12th in the table and jumping Swansea in the process.

GOALS:

Cardiff City – Caulker 63′

LINEUPS:

Cardiff City – Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham; Medel (Kim, 88′), Mutch, Cowie, Theophile-Catherine; Bellamy, Odemwingie (Campbell, 75′).

Swansea City – Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico Flores, Taylor; Britton (Pozuelo, 71′), Shelvey, De Guzman, Routledge (Vasquez, 81′), Dyer; Michu (Bony, 65′).

Watch live: Cardiff vs. Swansea (Lineups and discuss)

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The South Wales derby, always a ferocious and hotly-contested matchup, is nearly upon us.

Cardiff host Swansea in the historic occasion – the first time ever this derby will be played in the top flight – on NBCSN at 11am ET, or online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

The match is such a fierce contest that police had to escort Swansea fans on buses to Cardiff City Stadium, with fans only receiving tickets on the bus.

Just one change for the visitors, as Michael Laudrup brings Jonjo Shelvey back into the lineup placing Wilfried Bony back on the bench and putting Michu alone up front.

For Cardiff City, they appear to make similar moves, with Craig Bellamy returning to the starting lineup after a week off, along with Don Cowie.  Frazier Campbell and Kim Bo-Kyung make way.

LINEUPS:

Cardiff City – Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Whittingham; Medel, Mutch, Cowie, Theophile-Catherine; Bellamy, Odemwingie.
Bench – Tremmel, Tiendalli, Amat, Canas, Pozuelo, Vazquez, Bony.

Swansea City – Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico Flores, Taylor; Britton, Shelvey, De Guzman, Routledge, Dyer; Michu.
Bench – Lewis, Hudson, Campbell, Kim, Gunnarsson, Maynard.

Norwich City 0-0 Cardiff City: Canaries fail to break down bullish Bluebirds (video)

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Norwich City and Cardiff played out an extremely one sided game at Carrow Road, as the home side huffed and puffed the entire game but couldn’t find a way past former ‘keeper David Marshall.

The Canaries went close on several occasions, as Nathan Redmond has his shot well-saved in the second half and Gary Hooper twice went close with close-range efforts.

Cardiff rarely threatened, but manager Malkay Mackay will be pleased with the resolve of his side as they battened down the hatches to clinch a vital point on the road.

Norwich are still 18th and in the relegation zone on eight points, while Cardiff rise to 15th with nine points from their opening nine games.

After a good start by both teams Cardiff were extremely dangerous on the counter attack. But in the 26th minute Norwich’s lone striker Gary Hooper was played in by Leroy Fer and only a last-ditch tackle from Cardiff’s Steven Caulker saved the day.

Moments later Jonny Howson had his long-range effort saved by Marshall, as the towering ‘keeper dove down to his right to keep the shot out. However Cardiff did have a great chance to open the scoring, but Jordon Mutch’s close-range effort was superbly blocked by John Ruddy as it hit him in the face.

Sustained Norwich pressure followed as the Canaries went in search of their first home win since defeating Southampton in August.

Anthony Pilkington was giving Cardiff all kinds of problems down the left hand side and popping up in the  middle, as the Bluebirds struggled to get into the game. Norwich went closest in the 44th minute, as Robert Snodgrass ran at the defense and his shot was deflected onto the post by Cardiff ‘keeper Marshall.

As half time arrived, it was still 0-0 but Norwich boss Hughton would’ve been disappointed that his side weren’t ahead after intense pressure which saw them tally 13 shots and have 63 percent of the possession.

At the break Cardiff brought on Don Cowie and Aron Gunnarsson for Peter Odemwingie and Kim Bo-Kyung, as Mackay tried to keep the game tight.

Hooper went close in the 56th minute, as his header from a cross flew just over and Norwich continued to lay siege to Cardiff’s goal. Pilkington went close as he slid in at the back post and couldn’t quite connect with Hooper’s cross-shot.

In the 77th minute Norwch sub Nathan Redmond popped up free on the left flanks and forced Marshall into a strong save at his near post, as Redmond blasted his striker towards the top corner.

Late on a bizarre incident almost gave Norwich a win, as Leroy Fer tapped the ball into an empty net as he aimed to give the ball back to Cardiff as the Bluebirds sportingly knocked the ball out of play. Both sets of players clashed, before referee Michael Jones ruled out the goal and the 0-0 scoreline was confirmed.

But try as they might, Norwich couldn’t find the winner, as Cardiff dug in deep to preserve a point on the road.

LINEUPS

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, Turner, Bassong (c), Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson (van Wolfswinkel, 87); Snodgrass, Pilkington (Redmond, 72), Hooper (Elmander, 72).

Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor, Caulker (C), Turner, Whittingham, Medel (Bellamy, 72), Campbell, Odemwingie (Cowie, 46), Kim (Gunnarsson, 46), Mutch, Theophile-Catherine.