Cardiff worries deepen with home loss to Millwall

by 24britishtvJan. 21, 2023, 6 p.m. 16
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Last updated on .From the section Championship

Cardiff City started their latest period of managerial transition with defeat against Championship play-off contenders Millwall.

Cardiff mustered a handful of hopeful long-range efforts after the break but those amounted to nothing for the division's lowest scorers.

Millwall remain eighth in the Championship table but are now level on points with Middlesbrough in fifth, while Cardiff stay 21st and hovering just three points above the relegation zone as their winless run extends to 11 games in all competitions.

The result exacerbated an angry atmosphere at Cardiff City Stadium, where a group of home supporters had staged a pre-match protest calling on owner Vincent Tan to leave.

Supporters have become increasingly disillusioned with the club's direction under Tan, sliding towards the Championship's bottom three and now looking for a fifth manager in two years.

Hudson's reign had ended here a week earlier, Wigan's injury-time equaliser sealing the former Cardiff captain's fate after just four months in charge.

His assistant Dean Whitehead took the reins on a temporary basis and was given a chastening introduction to management with a 5-2 FA Cup defeat at Leeds on Wednesday.

This was another tough examination for Whitehead against a Millwall side looking to regain their place in the Championship's top six.

Gary Rowett's men were quick to impose themselves on this encounter, with the impressive George Honeyman crossing invitingly for Zian Flemming, whose first-time shot went wide.

Millwall kept possession confidently and poured forward at regular intervals, though their opening goal was as much to do with Cardiff's defensive frailties as their own attacking quality.

Jaden Philogene provided the first charitable act by giving the ball away and, after Millwall centre-back Jake Cooper appeared to have overhit his pass, Cardiff's Cedric Kipre misjudged his attempt to shield the ball out of play and allowed Bradshaw to nip in and finish between Ryan Allsop's legs.

The home side had chances to get themselves back into the game but lacked finesse in the final third, such as Callum Robinson's heavy through ball to Philogene, who later fired over with a half-volley.

Allsop then denied Bradshaw a second from another excellent Honeyman cross and, after the break, Honeyman himself was thwarted as his shot was superbly blocked by Mark McGuinness.

At the other end, Cardiff were largely limited to long-range efforts from the likes of Robinson and Kion Etete, though Sheyi Ojo did spurn one decent chance as he headed over.

While Millwall still posed a threat, Cardiff had something to cling on to as long as their deficit remained at just one goal but their attempts to find an equaliser were laboured.

The introduction of Isaak Davies at least injected pace into their attack but, apart from a stray Cooper forearm to the young forward's head which went unpunished, Davies had little impact.

The best chance of the second half fell to Millwall substitute Jamie Shackleton, whose late shot was well saved by Allsop.

Cardiff simply could not conjure the necessary quality to trouble their opponents. The home crowd's frustrations grew and, at the final whistle, it was the familiar sound of boos which rung around the Cardiff City Stadium.

"It's probably a game that typifies our season really, a lot of good play and get in good areas and the final pass, the final cross or final finish has just not been there.

"Ced [Kipre] has been colossal for us all season and that lapse in concentration has cost us and it's changed the game because Millwall can then sit behind the ball and counter-attack, so it was difficult to take in the end.

"Confidence comes with winning games and at the moment we're not doing that. That's our job to change that."

"I think it was, for large parts of the game, pretty attritional but I think the game dictated that. Cardiff played like they had nothing to lose.

"Every time we attacked and lost the ball we left ourselves open and we could have dealt with that a lot better. But going a goal up means we have a tendency to drop in and protect what we've got.

"We had to do that for long spells, we had to dig it out and sometimes those three points feel a lot nicer than three points when you've played really well because the character of the group came to the fore today."

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