Sheffield Wednesday 0 Cardiff City 0: Cardiff show strength for long haul despite Chopra's touch of weakness

Click to follow
The Independent Football

By the slimmest of margins Cardiff City remain at the top of the Championship - for another 24 hours at least. They are above Preston North End by virtue of having scored one extra goal; their goal difference advantage over third-placed Birmingham is a positive cushion by comparison.

Not that there is any time to dwell on this precarious advantage because it will all change again as soon as tomorrow evening, when the next round of action takes place. Such is the relentlessly frenetic nature of the Championship.

Following Saturday's goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff have now won only two of their last seven games. But then, in a league where there is precious little difference between one team and the next, they were never likely, particularly given their small squad, to be able to maintain such a furious early pace.

And if this performance against a resurgent Wednesday, playing at Hillsborough under their new manager, Brian Laws, for the first time, was anything to go by, it will not be long before they rediscover winning ways.

In the mean time, results like this will do nicely, according to Dave Jones, their manager, and Riccardo Scimeca, the midfielder. "We're happy with a point, even though we had enough chances to have maybe won," Scimeca said. "But draws away from home are always good and if we can nick a similar result against Stoke [their opponents tomorrow night] then that will do us nicely."

Wednesday earned their draw thanks to goal-line clearances from Kenny Lunt and Lee Bullen, as well as a point-blank save from Mark Crossley. Only Michael Chopra, the League's leading scorer, knows why he took an extra touch after Crossley had made a horrible mess of an awkward back-pass, giving Bullen the chance to intervene.

If it is any consolation to Cardiff, the 37-year-old goalkeeper - who is on loan from Fulham - has been around long enough to know what it takes to get out of the Championship and was impressed by their performance.

"They're a big, strong team that are hard to play against," Crossley said. "I'd be amazed if they weren't in the top three come the end of the season." Not that Jones is looking that far ahead: "It's a long old flog" was his world-weary take on the prospect of the coming months.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Crossley; Simek, Bougherra (Coughlan, 78), Bullen, Hills; Andrews (Whelan, 72), Lunt, Folly, O'Brien; Tudgay, Burton (MacLean, 35). Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Spurr.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Alexander; McNaughton, Purse, Johnson, Wright; Parry (Kamara, 80), Scimeca, McPhail, Ledley; Thompson (Campbell, 87), Chopra. Substitutes not used: Howard (gk), Glombard, Gunter.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Sheffield Wednesday Hill, Lunt; Cardiff Wright, Johnson, McPhail.

Man of the match: McPhail.

Attendance: 23,935.