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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:45 18th September 2012
By  Luke Nicoli

Albion 0 Cardiff City 0

On paper it will go down as a stalemate but Albion's first home game of the new season was anything but a bore draw.

Cheered on by Albion's biggest home attendance for 25 years - a whopping 25,518 - both sides could count themselves unlucky not to have gone home with all threee points.

Shots off the line, superb saves, thrills and spills, the game had everything but a goal - but it was Gus Poyet who looked the more frustrated at the final whistle, with his side dominating possession and the shot count.

It was Cardiff who created the game's first opening on six minutes when Mark Hudson headed Peter Whittingham's corner goalwards, but Craig Mackail-Smith was on hand to clear off the line.

And so the tone was set for a game which ebbed from one end to the other.

Albion were soon in the ascendancy - Ashley Barnes seeing a low shot well saved by David Marshall after Mackail-Smith had flicked on Gordon Greer's through ball.

Fine work from Bruno and Mackail-Smith teed up Craig Noone moments later but his 25-yard effort flew over the bar.

Cardiff always looked dangerous on the break and they showed their attacking intent on 15 minutes when Heidar Helguson somehow spooned over Andrew Taylor's cross from six yards.

It was a warning shot across the bows for Albion who responded when Andrew Crofts dummied the ball into the path of Mackail-Smith - again Marshall was equal to the shot.

Barnes missed a great chance to break the deadlock two minutes later when he headed over a deep Noone cross, while the livewire winger brought another save out of Marshall - with Bruno blasting the resulting ball into the side netting.

Whittingham tested Tomasz Kuszczak with a fierce free-kick and the Cardiff danger-man also created the first chance of the second-half, with a dipping effort that flew inches wide.

Bruno hit back with a low 20-yard drive that Marshall stopped without knowing too much about the shot, but with the visitors proving a tough nut to crack, boss Poyet brought on Kazenga LuaLua for Barnes.

With pace down either flank, Albion tested the visitors' rearguard with plenty of balls into the box, but simply couldn't find the breakthrough.

Kuszczak showed his undoubted class with a superb double save to deny Joe Mason and Etien Velikonja, while LuaLua also went close seconds later with a curling 20-yard effort.

With ten minutes remaining, Albion brought on midfield duo Ryan Harley and Vicente but City dug in to earn themselves a share of the spoils.


TEAMS


Albion: (4-3-3) Kuszczak (GK); Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Bridcutt, Dicker , (Harley 82), Crofts; Noone (Vicente 82), Mackail-Smith, Barnes (LuaLua 64). Subs: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Calderon, Agdestein.


Cardiff City: (4-4-2) Marshall (GK); McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor; Whittingham, Cowie, Gunnarsson, Mutch (Mason, 46); Helguson (Velikonja 77), Bellamy (Conway 73). Subs: Lewis (GK), Kiss, Earnshaw, Blake.


Referee: Mark Halsey


Yellow Cards: Mutch(Cardiff City).


Attendance: 25,518 (784 Away)


Lotto:www.seagullslotto.co.uk

    QUICK FACTS

    32,425 paving slabs were used to create the exterior concourse at the American Express Community Stadium.