Bellamy belter seals a perfect homecoming

Cardiff City 4 Doncaster Rovers 0

Very rarely the substance lives up to hype, and here in the Welsh capital yesterday Craig Bellamy fully justified the billing of the superstar hero at last coming home.

With one superlative swing of his right boot, the Cardiffian proved that while you can take the boy out of the Premier League you can't take the Premier League out of the boy.

The chances of anybody at Manchester City tuning into this Championship encounter would have been on the negligible side of zero. Which is a shame, if only because they did not get to see the contribution of the man whose £90,000-a-week wages they are supposedly subsidising to the tune of £65,000.

Purely on this evidence, the Bluebirds have made one hell of a deal, both from a footballing and business standpoint. After yesterday's fairytale finish it is hard to imagine that Cardiff's next home match won't be a sell-out as well. The bloke with 39 on his back was truly that good – and truly that touched as well.

"This was probably the most emotional week I've had in football," Bellamy said afterwards. "The tension hit me on Thursday – I felt it like you didn't believe.

"The manager saw it and told me to relax, told me I didn't need to score a hat-trick. All that experience counted for nothing today. I was more worried about this match than any before. It was made for Doncaster to come and upset the party."

Instead, it was Bellamy who popped the corks. With six minutes left, he stepped up and unleashed a 35-yard free-kick into the net. It was right on target and right on cue.

"To finish it off like that, I can't explain," he said. "It really is hard to describe that free-kick and what it meant. I've grown up here. My house is here. My family is here."

And so too, is a city full of Bellamy worshippers. Dave Jones, the Cardiff manager, tried manfully to deflect some of the attention towards the other players who were more influential in this victory. "We didn't want it to be the Lord Mayor's Show," said Jones, who confessed to calling over Bellamy for at least one "kick up the arse".

And he was right, the man of the moment probably wasn't the man of the match. Chris Burke, on the other flank, nudged that award. Before he came on for Michael Chopra in the 32nd minute, Doncaster had actually enjoyed the best chances. Four minutes later, Jay Bothroyd scored his first of two and the script they all wanted was in the writing.

Bellamy had a hand in that deadlock-breaker, after a neat one-two with Seyi Olofinjana. But it owed more to Wayne Thomas's mistake. In that moment, Bellamy's own errors in the opening minutes were forgotten. He had arrived at the ground at 12pm to beat the crowds and the three-hour countdown seemed to affect him as passes went astray and at least one chance went begging.

But the more the game progressed the more he found his feet and the more the nerves left him. And when Bothroyd headed in his second in the 62nd minute, after a quite perfect Burke cross, the stage was set. First Bellamy delivered a 70-yard pass – that he confessed to being speculative – which dropped at the feet of Burke to clinically convert. Then, after the inevitable booking, came the grandstand moment and soon after Jones took him off to "ensure he got the applause he deserved". "I'm just amazed Man City have got 25 better than him," said the Doncaster manager, Sean O'Driscoll.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn