Cardiff too strong for a resilient Carmarthen
Pre season friendly:
Carmarthen Town 0-3 Cardiff City
CARDIFF City kicked off their pre-season programme with victory over a battling Carmarthen Town side at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.
The game was switched to Haverfordwest due to ongoing work on the Carmarthen’s Richmond Park surface, and to Cardiff’s credit, they travelled with a squad containing several players who featured in last season’s Premiership campaign.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were given a real scare in the opening minute, as Kyle Bassett’s outswinging corner was met by Cortez Belle, whose header was diverted onto the post by Bluebirds keeper Joe Lewis.
And just moments later Cardiff hit the woodwork themselves. Aaron Gunnarsson broke down the left and set up Craig Noone, and after his shot cannoned back off the post, former Haverfordwest keeper Lee Idzi did brilliantly to tip away Joe Mason’s follow up.
But six minutes in the Championship side did take the lead when Mason squared for Nicky Maynard, who scored from close range via the underside of the bar.
Maynard nearly doubled the lead when he lobbed against the post, before Mason miscued the rebound with the goal at his mercy.
Former West Ham striker Maynard then had strong claims for a penalty turned down after he latched onto a Peter Whittingham through ball, but despite being seemingly pulled down by Tyrrell Webbe, referee Dean John waved play on.
The Old Gold then had their best moment when Christian Doidge headed in a Matty Collins cross, but the goal was rightfully ruled out for offside.
Cardiff midfielder Matts Moeller Daehli was the standout player of the first half, and he went close just before the break when he flashed a curling shot inches wide after a mazy run.
But on the brink of half time the Bluebirds did make it 2-0. Mason skipped past three would be tacklers, before driving a left foot shot through the legs of Izdi.
Both sides were able to make rolling subs throughout the 90 minutes, and made wholesale changes at half time.
As a result, the second half started slowly before Bluebirds sub Matt Connolly forced a smart save out of Carmarthen’s replacement keeper Scott James.
Cardiff continued to control matters, and on the hour mark former Manchester United striker Federico Macheda made it 3-0 when he placed home following good work by Fabio.
Macheda should have added a fourth a minute later when he cut into the area but blasted over.
At this point it was one way traffic and Fabio himself and then Jo Inger Berget were both narrowly off target before Guido Burgstaller was denied by James.
In the dying moments, Adam Le Fondre came close to opening his Cardiff account when he rattled the bar from close range, before James did superbly to tip Berget’s low drive around the post.
The Welsh Premier League side did briefly threaten in injury time and Doidge fired straight at Lewis from long range, but despite a resilient display, Mark Aizlewood’s men were well beaten by their more illustrious opponents.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport after the game, Cardiff boss Solksjaer declared himself happy with his side’s run out, and also reserved praise for the surface at the Meadow.
“We have spent a lot of time on training pitches lately so it’s been nice to get out on a big pitch in great condition.
“It was a good run out and Carmarthen really tested us in the first half. Overall I'm very satisfied.”
Carmarthen Town first half XI: Lee Idzi, Chris Thomas, Cortez Belle, Paul Fowler, Tyrrel Webbe, Lewis Harling, Matty Collins, Chris Hartland, Christian Doidge, Kyle Bassett, David Brooks.
Carmarthen Town second half XI: Scott James, Luke Cummings, Cortez Belle, Paul Fowler, Chris Thomas, Ceri Morgan, Clayton Greene, Omar Bezhazdeen, David Brooks, Danny Thomas, Jordan Follows.
Cardiff City first half XI: Joe Lewis, Kevin McNaughton, Mark Hudson, Kevin Thoepile-Catherine, Declan John, Matts Moeller Daehli, Aaron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham, Craig Noone, Joe Mason, Nicky Maynard.
Cardiff City second half XI: Joe Lewis, John Brayford, Matt Connolly, Ben Turner, Fabio, Guido Burgstaller, Joe Ralls, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Jo Inger Berget, Adam Le Fondre, Federico Macheda.
Referee: Dean John.
Assistants: B Williamson and Alan Jenkins.
Fourth official: Angus Scourfield.