So close for Cardiff, but nothing to show
Seamus Coleman’s mis-kick in the 93rd minute secured a 2–1 home win for Everton against a Cardiff side which was left deflated after nearly securing a battling point. There were less than 90 seconds of injury time left to hold on when Coleman struck. Based on chances created all game you could say that Everton deserved to win the match, but that’s no consolation to a Cardiff side desperate for points. Man of the match was Cardiff keeper David Marshall, who produced another superb display with a string of fine saves to keep his side in the game. When he was finally beaten in the second half it was a deflected effort from Gerard Deulofeu that wrongfooted the Scottish international at his near post. - Coleman winner for last-gasp Everton Marshall’s performance was singled out by Everton boss Roberto Martinez: "David Marshall in goal was phenomenal, as good an individual performance as you are going to see from a goalkeeper.” Cardiff battled back and levelled when Juan Cala bundled the ball over the line from a Peter Whittingham free-kick. It was one of just a couple of efforts at the Everton goal from the Bluebirds. Scoring goals has been a problem all season and if the side is relegated then it will be games like this, where chances have been at a premium, but points nearly won, that will define the season. Cardiff felt that they should have been awarded a penalty when Wilfried Zaha was tripped by Sylvain Distain but Roger East waved away the claims. The referee also denied Cardiff two corners when the ball clearly went out off an Everton player. It really does make you wonder why the club is getting a raw deal with big decisions on a regular basis. T24 hours later Liverpool went to Old Trafford and won three penalties in one game; Cardiff have not been awarded one spot-kick all season! If there is anything to take from the last two away performances, it’s that both Spurs and Everton were made to work for their single-goal victories. Relegation is still more likely than not but the team are not looking the pushover they once were. Liverpool will provide a stern test this weekend but then Cardiff face six matches against sides in mid to lower table positions. Teams have recovered from bigger deficits to stay in the Premier League before. Goodison Park is one of the few remaining traditional English football stadiums capable of holding Premier League football. There are no modern extensions to the ground which, in most parts, is still as it was decades ago. The only visible addition seems to be the impossibly tall home stand upper tier opposite the away fans. The away section is on the side of the pitch and has an upper and lower tier. The facilities are sparse and the area under the stand is very congested and uncomfortable. It reminded me of the tight alley that runs under the away end at West Ham United. It was an experience to go to a classic football stadium but the lack of atmosphere from the home fans was disappointing. After years of experiencing the facilities at Ninian Park, I have no regrets watching Cardiff now in a new stadium. It’s one part of the clubs' identity I don’t mind seeing changed. No matter how good or bad the side played and regardless whether the team deserved a point or not, it will never be easy to accept conceding a last-minute goal scored especially when it wins the game for the opposition. Cardiff have needed a boost from a result against a top side and were so close to stopping a run that had seen the previous seven away games end in defeat. A draw would have been a massive confidence boost but the side can draw strength from the performance as they prepare to face Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and the rest on Saturday. Liverpool have scored 18 goals in their last five League games while Cardiff have only scored 23 goals all season. It will be a big shock if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men can pull off a result against a serious title contender.