Cardiff breezed into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Colchester.
There might only have been 4,194 present – the lowest crowd in the six-year history of the Cardiff City Stadium – as home fans showed their apathy following a poor run of league form under manager Russell Slade.
But if the magic of the cup was in short supply off the pitch, Slade’s men did not let it affect them as the Championship club made light work of opposition one place off the bottom of League One.
A deflected Joe Ralls shot gave the home side a half-time lead and then further strikes from Kadeem Harris and substitute Kenwyne Jones increased the gap before Colchester netted a consolation goal through Freddie Sears 16 minutes from time.
Cardiff went ahead after 34 minutes when the ball fell invitingly to Ralls to strike from 25 yards out. Keeper Sam Walker was left totally wrong-footed as the ball deflected first off Kaspars Gorkss and then Cole Kpekawa and into the net.
Cardiff extended their lead after 53 minutes when Ben Turner met Peter Whittingham’s corner and the ball ballooned into the air and Harris reacted quickest to hook home.
Colchester conceded a third goal on the hour when Jones scored with his first touch, moving into double figures for the season when nodding home Whittingham’s corner.
The visitors looked a spent force but they grabbed a 74th-minute consolation when Sears found space on the edge of the Cardiff area to drive home .
Gary Roberts’ goal for Chesterfield was enough to see them past MK Dons 1-0 in round two. The tie was replayed after Chesterfield fielded an ineligible player in the original match.Reuse content