Exhausting: Ethan's trip to Cardiff one to forget - Away Days!

Over the weekend myself and the best part of 900 fans made the exhausting trip to the Welsh capital and the Cardiff City Stadium. Neil Warnock's men had beaten the Black Cats 2-1 at the Stadium of Light and the Bluebirds were looking to get their season back on track.

Chris Coleman made changes for the trip back to his home country, although he is a Swansea lad. These changes included a debut to youngster Jake Clarke-Salter and a return for Didier Ndong. James Vaughan left the club earlier this week meaning Josh Maja was tasked with leading the line himself.

First Impressions and the Ground

The exhausting bus journey down wasn't helped by someone throwing up all over the toilet but when we finally arrived, there were few away friendly pubs. Most fans opted to make the 20 minute bus journey into Cardiff city centre. The pubs near the ground are very home fan friendly only with most away supporters being turned away.


Some people went on a tour of the Millennium Stadium, the national ground just a few minutes drive from Cardiff's stadium. The tour lasted just over an hour and was about £10-£15.

The football stadium itself was a bog standard, bland modern football ground. The away coaches and car park was surrounded by a massive metal fence. 

Inside the ground a selection of lagers could be bought as well as the local 'Brain's Bitter'. A choice of pies, other hot food and crisps were also available.

Holding 33,000, the Cardiff City Stadium only had an attendance of 17,500, including the best part of 900 away fans.

The match

What to say? An uninspiring, lacklustre performance by the Sunderland players. Cardiff didn't look much better but they wanted it more. At the beginning, it had 0-0 written all over it and neither team deserved to be ahead coming into the break.

Goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter made a couple of good saves to deny Gunnarsson's long range drive. The Dutchman got down to his near post to turn away the danger; the former Utrecht shotstopper looked confident first half and commanded his area well.

Second half

The second period was much more eventful than the dull, boring and uninspiring first half, although not in a good way. Not a minute in and Ruiter blundered allowing Callum Paterson to capitalise. The Sunderland keeper came flapping out but failed to get anywhere near the cross, reminiscent of Steele at Boro last week.

Not 5 minutes afterwards, wantaway Gabon central midfielder Didier Ndong dove, recklessly, into a challenge and Junior Hoilett was lucky to get back up straight away. The record signing went over the ball and caught the Canadian in a nasty, stupid challenge. The midfielder didn't seem bothered and looked like he wasn't interested from the start.

From conceding the first, Sunderland didn't look like attacking never mind scoring, it was Cardiff's game to lose. Just minutes after Ndong's dismissal, Joe Ralls was on the end of Kenneth Zohore's pass and finished well past Ruiter.

Just after the hour mark, it could've been three when Ruiter dropped the ball, though he just managed to recover it after a cross of wires with right back Billy Jones. The only chance Sunderland had came shortly after this when Honeyman's free kick from the touchline deflected off centre half Bruno Ecuele Manga and onto the helpless Etheridge's bar before Bamba could clear.

Gunnarsson's free kick deflected away from the goal 10 minutes from time but it fell on the volley for striker Callum Paterson who relished the opportunity of a shot at the shaky Ruiter's goal. The Cardiff striker hadn't been picked up by anyone and was gifted with a free shot on goal to make it three and make sure Sunderland were well and truly dead and buried.

Then in injury time, Antony Pilkington turned defeat into humiliation and made it 4-0. An embarrassment to watch for the travelling support. Even with 11 men on the pitch it could've still been a cricket score. Defensively for the last goal, we looked disorganised and not one of the players seemed bothered. 

Post match thoughts 

Coleman slated his players in his post match interview, and rightly so. As I've said before and I'll reiterate it again that we need at least 11 new players in January and we need to ship those who don't want to be here yet still happily take a wage. He has a mammoth task on his hands to take Sunderland away from the jaws of relegation and to steer the ship away from the basement, all whilst trying to steady the club financially. Talking of money, Martin Bain was pictured on Sky cameras smirking and looking smug in the executive seats, if you remember back to my interview with David Edgar you'll struggle to disagree with him. 

Next game is a make or break clash at the Stadium of Light against fellow strugglers Hull before a trip to St Andrews' midweek to fellow relegation battlers Birmingham City. 

Thanks for reading, share your thoughts on Twitter with me @ethan_thoburn or @WeAreWearside 

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