Sunday, 20 January 2013

Tommy Smith Is Hero As Cardiff Go Ten Points Clear

Gary_Taylor-Fletcher
Tommy Smith turned up the heat on the rest of the Championship by moving Cardiff ten points clear at the top.

Striker Smith grabbed the clincher as Cardiff made it six away games without defeat by beating Blackpool 2-1.

And the Bluebirds then dashed off to catch a flight to red-hot Dubai as a reward with Smith the hero.

While they soak up the sun during a five-day mid-season break Malky Mackay’s men can look back on six months of domination in the Championship.

And although this win will not go down as one of their finest, it was certainly their most dogged.

They were forced to deal with the searing pace of Blackpool’s attack and rode their luck at times before bullying their way to the points.

The Bluebirds were lucky to escape early on when Tom Ince raced through but found David Marshall in top form with the keeper making a brilliant low stop.

Ince’s intelligent running was troubling Cardiff though and in the 41st minute he broke away again.

This time Ludovic Sylvestre found him and the wide man pushed through the legs of Marshall but the ball ran agonisingly wide of the upright.

Not that the league leaders were short of opportunities themselves. As half-time approached Smith crashed an angled shot at goal to force a flying save out of Matt Gilks.

Cardiff expect to have striker Fraizer Campbell on board from Sunderland by the time they get back from Dubai.

And they could have done with his firepower as chances went begging.

The Seasiders were just as wasteful. In the 52nd minute Gary Taylor-Fletcher got to the ball ahead of Marshall but his touch was not strong enough and his effort rolled wide.

Cardiff breathed a sigh of relief, charged upfield and grabbed the opener with the influential Bo-Kyung Kim on target.

The South Korean started the move that saw Aron Gunnarsson’s shot ping back off the post before he arrived on the scene to smash the ball home.

That should have been the cue for Cardiff to push on and bury their opponents but within minutes Blackpool were back in the game.

Tiago Gomes’ cute little chipped cross was the right height for Taylor-Fletcher to attack and the hitman powered a header home.

It did not take long for the game to swing back Cardiff’s way with the home side getting caught on the break after winning a corner.

Kim’s sweeping pass sent Andy Taylor flying down the left wing and when his cross was cleared, Smith lashed a volley at goal and saw it fly in off the head of Craig Cathcart.

Sylvestre and Ince tried their luck with shots from distance but Blackpool never looked like netting a leveller as Cardiff took a step closer to the Premier League.

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