Greg Halford Steps In With Defensive Midfield Master Class

Leeds United 0, Cardiff City 2

Greg Halford, Cardiff City’s experienced and versatile defender, showed exactly why manager Neil Warnock signed him during January.

Halford, 32, was given the task of stopping Leeds United playmaker Pablo Hernandez and he succeeded in style, playing as part of a five-man midfield.

He operated just in front of centre-backs Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison, protecting them to such an extent that Leeds could not find a way out of the trap set for them.

“Greg did his job on Hernandez,” said a delighted Warnock.

Bamba was under pressure to shine against one of his former clubs, but the Bluebirds boss told him not to try and prove anything to Leeds fans.

“The two centre-backs, Morrison and Bamba, were outstanding,” said Warnock. “I told them, especially Sol, ‘you don’t have to prove anything’. Just be a centre-half.

“Don’t start dribbling and doing stupid things, well the Leeds fans expect him to and I thought he played a typical centre-half role.

“”Even the save at the end kept a clean sheet, which I wanted,” said Warnock, who has been in management for 37 years.

Warnock loved the City performance to such an extent that he described it as’The best performance by a mile since I’ve been at the club.’

He went a step further, saying: “It’s probably the best away performance in the circumstances probably since I’ve been a manager.”

There is little doubt the Bluebirds haven’t played better than this over a full match since Warnock arrived. Leeds had the majority of possession, but City stayed compact, cool and composed.

They were competitive in midfield without being able to gain the upper hand, particularly in the first half, while Craig Noone and Kadeem Harris offered outlets in wide areas.

There were more than 31,000 spectators at Elland Road, 500 of them from Cardiff, and the visitors had those travelling Bluebirds celebrating wildly when captain Morrison headed in from Craig Noone’s free-kick.

City’s second went in after 71 minutes when Aron Gunnarsson drove down the left and then picked out Kenneth Johore, who netted with goalkeeper Rob Green helpless.

Leeds then had Liam Bridcutt sent off with five minutes left, earning a second yellow card for a foul on Halford, and Cardiff travelled home having secured an excellent away win.

Now Warnock must come up with another plan when his Bluebirds travel to play Derby County at Pride Park (7.45pm).

Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Cooper, Berardi, Bridcutt, Vieira (Doukara 76), Dallas (Sacko 62), Hernandez, Pedraza (Roofe 71), Wood. Subs not used: Silvestri, O’Kane, Barrow, Coyle.

Cardiff City: McGRegor, Connolly, Morrison (capt), Bamba, Richards, Ralls, Halford, Noone, Gunnarsson, K Harris (Hoilett 87), Zohore (Lambert 86). Subs not used: Bennett, Whittingham, John, Healey.

Referee: James Linington.

Attendance: 31,516

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.