This was a re-arranged game from December when Cardiff's undersoil heating system was not working and meant that the frost put paid to the game. Never mind that we were already about 100 miles into the trip to Wales. The more cynical amongst the City support pointed to the injury list that Cardiff had at the time and when the heating system was miraculously working in time for their bumper holiday game the conspiracy theorists brought the story up again.
Anyway, after a few problems getting the match re-arranged the date was set and the tickets we had had since December had the cobwebs blown off them. Now as I don't like to make things too easy, we go to Cardiff via Leicester to pick up Helen, adding a few more miles to an already long trip for a night game. A fairly uneventful trip saw us arriving in Cardiff by 5.40pm and after we park up we head to Costa for nice coffee and something to eat. This means I will have now done 91 of the 92 after tonight, only Arsenal left now.
I'd been to Ninian Park on numerous occasions, most recently with City on Craig Levine's first appearance as Leicester manager, although he was on a watching brief that day. He must have wondered what he had let himself in for as I really have no idea how we came away with 0-0 draw, we were awful, but Cardiff's finishing was even worse! Back to tonight. We start to wander round the outside of the ground but this abruptly halted once we had entered the area outside the visitors section. Once in we could not go any further, so we headed inside. The concourse was very roomy and there were plenty of toilets etc. We found our seats which were on the back row. Good views and plenty of room for my legs. But some jobsworth steward then tells us we cannot stay here as they want to keep the back row clear. Why? And if you want to keep it clear, then don't sell me a ticket for the row then. Of course later Mr Jobsworth gives up doing this and City fans stay on the back row for the duration of the game.
As with most new grounds at this level, it is a smart looking stadium, with excellent views from everywhere. One problem I'd read about though, was the lack of cover for people sitting at the front of the stands when the weather was wet and this was clear to see tonight. The wind was very strong and during the game, even where we sat near the back, the rain was blown onto us.
True to his word, Paul turned up wearing his Santa Claus outfit, alluding to the original date the game should have been played, although a few people looked puzzled when they saw him. As for the game, well, we go on to lose 2-1 on a night we could have won. A controversial moment in the first half took me back a number of years. From a corner City look like they have scored but the ball is cleared and no goal is given even though from where we are sitting the ball looked over the line. Now many years ago I visited Ninian Park with Grimsby and we were stood behind the goal on the open terrace. A Cardiff corner was cleared to the halfway line and a Grimsby player took the ball into the other half, spotted the keeper off his line and had a shot. The keeper scrambles back to pull it back from over the line but we're celebrating like mad only to eventually realise that play is continuing and no goal has been given. Some things just don't change.
To cap a disappointing evening it takes over an hour to get back onto the M4, only to find it shut only a few miles down the road. The non existent diversion signs means we ended up lost very quickly. A long night gets even longer when we then reach the M69 turn off only to find out that it is blocked off! We finally roll in at 3am, totally knackered.
Many thanks to Helen for the photos.
Cardiff City 2-1 Leicester City