Football: Cardiff joy marred by threat of sale: Barclays League promotion play-offs, semi-finals

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The Independent Online
Cardiff City . .5

Rhyl . . . . . .0

AFTER winning the Welsh Cup and securing a place in Europe to go with the Third Division title, Cardiff City's owner, Rick Wright, is hoping the club will be bought by a wealthy benefactor during the summer.

Certainly, the European dimension following this comfortable win over Rhyl, which included a hat-trick from Phil Stant, should surely attract such a person. On the other hand, as Wright celebrated by dancing the Ayatollah, the bizarre Cardiff City trademark jig, the club's players and supporters will surely be hoping that he will think again, dig even deeper into his own pocket and stay.

The players can certainly thank him. This win added a further pounds 10,000 to the pounds 40,000 they received as champions from Wright's canny insurance policy. 'I simply can't see him merely walking away,' Eddie May, the Cardiff manager, said afterwards. Wright, however, has threatened to liquidise his assets, sell the players and lock the gates at Ninian Park if there are no buyers.

These particular darling buds of manager May scarcely had to burst into flower at the National Stadium to quell an enthusiastic but moderate challenge from Rhyl, the Manweb Cymru Alliance club who once won the Welsh Cup twice in consecutive years in the 50s. Their attempt to get into Europe - would they have changed their name to Rhyl Madrid? - had realistically disappeared even before Cohen Griffith scored the first of his two headed goals on the half- hour. Stant had put the favourites ahead and when Griffith scored the third five minutes before the interval, the vast majority of the 16,000 crowd were in triumphant voice.

Lee Congerton offered skill and energy but his efforts were fruitless; Cardiff were so dominant that Gavin Ward had an untroubled afternoon in goal. Stant scored again on the hour - his 24th of the season - and his third, at the death, came as no surprise.

Cardiff City: Ward; James, Searle, Brazil (Pike, 80), Perry, Millar (Dale, 73), Ramsey, Richardson, Stant, Blake, Griffith.

Rhyl: Lichfield; Lee, R James, Espley, Lacey, S Jones, Cross (Norman, 81), Congerton, McMullen, Taylor (Marriott, 74, A Jones.

Referee: W K Burge (Tonypandy).