It's a funny old game...
Fulham v Cardiff City (28th September 2013)
Cardiff City team: Marshall, Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine, Whittingham, Medel, Kim Bo Kyung (Mutch, 56), Gunnarsson, Campbell (Maynard, 72), Odemwingie (Bellamy, 81)
Cardiff City have made a decent start to their first season in the Premier League. A disappointing opening day defeat at West ham was followed by that barnstorming win over the mighty Manchester City and creditable draws against Everton and Hull, before Tottenham hit them with a sucker punch to take all three points last weekend. That result could easily have had a demoralising effect on the team, especially when followed by a midweek League Cup defeat by those troublesome Hammers.
Consequently, there was a lot riding on the trip to Fulham. With the Londoners struggling for form many City fans marked this one down as eminently winnable, but it was never going to be an easy game. For all their frailties, Fulham are an established Premier League club boasting a team peppered with seasoned internationals. But on a day when Manchester United and Manchester City both lose, which doesn't happen often, there was just something in the air. Every club seemed determined to prove that the Premier League is still the best league in the world.
Cardiff City started the afternoon as underdogs with the odds stacked firmly against them, as is so often the case this season. Their last away win in top flight football was as long ago as November 1961. Weirdly enough, that result came against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The two sides traded blows in the first half, Bryan Ruiz cancelling out Steven Caulker's early header with a fantastic effort from outside the area. But with the score tied at 1-1 and the game trundling toward a seemingly inevitable draw, Malky Mackay brought on defensive midfielder Jordan Mutch, who has never scored for Cardiff in his twenty-odd games. As the clock ticked into injury time, he controlled the ball from a goal kick, turned, looked up, and unleashed a cracking drive that flew across the goalkeeper and crashed into the net from about 25 yards (which will surely become 35 yards when the 3500 travelling fans tell their kids about it). These are the kinds of scripts you just can't write.
Next up is Newcastle at the Cardiff City stadium. The Magpies have had a mixed season so far, and with confidence flowing and some vociferous home support behind them, City might just pull off another upset.
My new book, From the Ashes - The REAL Story of Cardiff City FC is out now: