In a game many thought we had to win, it just didn’t happen for Newcastle down in South Wales this afternoon, with the side not producing the quality needed to beat a Cardiff City side who had their moments, Kenedy even managed to miss a last-gasp penalty that would have given Newcastle a win.
First Half – Newcastle started the first-half well, with Jonjo Shelvey pulling the strings in midfield, there were chances to take the lead with both Kenedy and Perez having chances blocked. But Cardiff City weathered the early storm and came back into the half. The Welsh side looked a little sharper and their pressing game started to create problems for Newcastle. Zohore was the biggest threat Cardiff possessed but the closest the striker came to scoring was a header he glanced wide.
As the half wore on Shelvey produced a lovely long-range pass which found Perez but the striker was, once again, denied by Etheridge, in the Cardiff goal, who blocked his shot with his upper torso. A late free-kick, earned after Kenedy was fouled outside the box, was easily saved by the keeper as the half was to end 0-0.
On a disciplinary note, Kenedy was, perhaps, lucky to stay on the pitch after a petulant kick out after a midfield tussle whilst Manquillo, after being booked early on, also walked perilously close to being shown a red card.
Manquillo, who picked up an injury late in the first half, adding to Newcastle’s injury woes, was replaced by Hayden at the break.
Second Half – Cardiff slipped into a similar pattern of play after the break, looking for long balls into the area Zohore, once again, saw a header go wide of the post whilst Newcastle struggled to show much when it came to getting forward and creating chances.
As Cardiff continued to look the more likely side to score, Shelvey was forced to turn behind a dangerous looking ball into the six-yard area.
Just past the hour mark, Rafa Benitez made a second change bringing on Muto for Perez as the boss tried to get his lacklustre side going.
The referee, Craig Dawson, made Newcastle United’s task even harder when Hayden, on as a substitute at half-time, was shown a red card after a poor tackle from behind on Murphy.
But, although they were a man light, Newcastle, in the last quarter of the game stated to push forward. Two corners in quick succession gave the travelling support hope that the points could be pinched but both were cleared by the Cardiff defence.
Joselu, getting on the end of a Shelvey cross, saw his shot blocked as we entered the final five minutes, Cardiff looked dangerous going forward though and another chance for Zohore saw the Danish striker unable to take advantage of the situation.
With two minutes to go, Diame was fouled just outside the area in a central position, Shelvey and Kenedy stood over the ball and the latter saw his poor shot hit the wall.
Six minutes of added time were announced but it was in the final minute of those six that the match sprung into life when Newcastle were awarded a penalty for handball after a cross from Muto struck the arm of Morrison. Kenedy stepped up and saw his poor shot saved by Etheridge in the Cardiff City goal.
Next up for Newcastle, in the Premier League, is a home fixture with Chelsea next weekend.