Sweet Allison

Swindon Town 2 (Allison 58, Finney 83)Cardiff City 0 Attendance: 8,274
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The Independent Online
NEW readers starting here should know that Cardiff City have won the FA Cup and Swindon the League Cup so that neither club is without distinction in death-or-glory football. Neither, alas, added to their lustre in this unremarkable FA Cup tie, watched by only 8,274 the deadly deadlock broken by Wayne Allison's 25-yard shot out of nowhere.

Cardiff's glory came in the Twenties, when, so legend has it, they fielded a goalkeeper who celebrated so enthusiastically that come a League match on Christmas morning he could stand upright only by leaning, in an attempt to look nonchalant, against a goal-post.

Swindon's fame is more professional and more recent and while their power play has taken them to the top of the Second Division, neutrals will sigh for the more elegant days of Ossie Ardiles.

The first shot on target came on 38 minutes after a clever turn and quick fire by Steve Finney was beaten down by David Williams. Darren Adams made some brave efforts on Cardiff's behalf, loudly cheered by City's 2,000 travellers but Carl Dale's reputation as a nippy little opportunist meant he was mostly well covered.

Swindon began to appear the stronger from just before half-time but Dale, in the 54th minute, did win the prize for forcing the first genuine save of the match from Fraser Digby.

Four minutes later, Swindon, out of the blue, went ahead. Wayne Allison, who previously had managed one high header, was cruising harmlessly about 25 yards out when he suddenly let fly, the ball crashing in off the underside of the Cardiff bar.

Two minutes later Paul Allen, five yards out, could have ended the trepidation and boredom, but fired high over the angle. Cardiff then had no choice but to flood upfield, tactics that suited Swindon but gave Williams a chance to be remembered as a Welsh hero.

Three times he saved the Bluebirds with point-blank saves from McMahon and Finney (twice) before, with seven minutes remaining and huge gaps in Cardiff's rearguard, Finney was given a third chance in open space and was this time clinically decisive. Ian Culverhouse, Allen, Paul Harding and Adams were booked, but this was no more than the usual Cup-tie fracas.