Neil Warnock expressed his delight after Cardiff City’s crushing 6-0 pre-season win against Tavistock AFC at Langsford Park.
Many thanks to all at @tafclambs for their superb hospitality this evening. 💙
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) July 16, 2018
“The attitude of our players was excellent, there was a good crowd with a lot of fans from Cardiff,” said the Bluebirds manager. “I’m pleased there were no injuries. Everybody worked hard and I’m pleased with the effort they put in.”
Warnock confirmed he still wants to add a couple of players to his squad, probably on loan deals, and said he is still chasing Marko Grujic.
But he warned: “We won’t wait for ever. I’ll assess again at the end of this week. Liverpool want Marko to come here and the player wants to come, but his agent doesn’t seem keen. Hopefully Marko will decide.
“We’d like him to join us again, but I am not as confident about that as I once was.
“Certainly we need another couple to supplement in case we pick up injuries.”
The Bluebirds used 18 players against Tavistock and scored six goals.
Only goalkeepers Alex Smithies and Brian Murphy stayed on the bench, watching Neil Etheridge complete a clean sheet. Etheridge, Bruno Manga, Callum Paterson and Joe Ralls were the four players to complete 90 minutes for Cardiff.
Gary Madine, leading the attack with real intent, was desperately close to a first half hat-trick against AFC Tavistock in West Devon.
Centre-forward Madine had already scored twice when he swept a shot at goal from 15 yards only for goalkeeper Josh Oak to go full length and claw the ball away at full stretch.
“That was a great save by their goalkeeper to deny Gary his hat-trick,” said Warnock.
Cardiff City, fielding their strongest starting line-up in pre-season so far, tore into their South West Peninsular League hosts from the start and led 5-0 after 31 minutes.
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) July 16, 2018
Junior Hoilett was on target after 54 seconds, while Madine (2), Ralls and Bobby Reid completed the first half tally.
City were without Aron Gunnarsson and Sol Bamba, who joined the squad on Monday afternoon and watched the game at Tavistock from the stands, and Kenneth Zohore, who was in the South West and was allowed a couple of days off because his wife had a baby.
Steady rain during the afternoon ensured the playing surface at Tavistock was improved from the baked, hard pitch it had been.
Captain Sean Morrison and Manga linked up at centre-back and that could yet be the partnership which starts against AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Morrison has had experience of top flight football with Reading, while Manga’s composure and ability to read the play picks him out as a defender who could shine in the Premier.
Bamba, of course, will be aiming to play in the next pre-season first team fixture and show he is the man for the job.
Ralls was highly effective in midfield, winning tackles, sliding passes through the Tavistock defence and adding a neatly taken goal.
Cardiff were ahead inside the first minute when Hoilett swept his shot home and Ralls made it 2-0 with nine minutes gone when he won possession, slipped a pass out to Hoilett on the right and then ran to the far post.
Hoilett’s cross was spot on and when Ralls’ downward header was half saved City’s all-action midfield man swept his shot into goal.
Madine smashed a long range effort into the net after 23 minutes and then new signing Reid struck after good work by Ralls and Hoilett.
Cardiff led 4-0 by the time goalkeeper Etheridge made his first save, dropping fast to save from Dave Hallett after the Tavi man had powered away from Morrison. That was the only moment of real danger for the visitors.
Madine’s second came soon after the half hour and that completed the scoring over the opening 45 minutes, although the former Bolton Wanderers striker was desperately disappointed not to add a third from that late chance.
New signings Reid, Josh Murphy and Greg Cunningham all eased through their first appearances for City and manager Neil Warnock stuck with the same XI in the second half.
The Bluebirds made seven changes on the hour, having dominated the match with good movement, pace and a good range of passing. Both Ralls and Reid fired long-range, crossfield passes which were on the mark.
City were also willing to track back and win battles for possession.
Substitute Danny Ward added the sixth goal on 69 minutes, finishing crisply from a right-wing cross, while pace ace Kadeem Harris was full of running.
There will be far harder tests ahead for the Bluebirds, but this was a useful opening run-out for the first team squad.
They created an abundance of chances against a Tavistock club who won the Peninsular League title two years ago and were runners-up to Plymouth Parkway in 2017-18.
Tavistock AFC: Josh Oak, Ben Davies, Dan Evans, Lewis Daw, Josh Robins, Jack Craigo, Dave Hallett, Rhys Shanley, Tallan Burns, Tyler Elliott, Lewis Coombes. Subs: Liam Prynn, Corey Burns, Afet Toujans, Alex Cairo, Sam Clifton, Toby Gosling, Bayley Williams.
Cardiff City: Neil Etheridge, Lee Peltier (Jazz Richards 60), Sean Morrison, capt (Matt Connolly 60), Bruno Manga, Greg Cunningham (Joe Bennett 60), Junior Hoilett (Kadeem Harris 60), Callum Paterson, Joe Ralls, Josh Murphy (Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 60), Bobby Reid (Loic Damour 60), Gary Madine (Danny Ward 60). Unused subs: Alex Smithies, Brian Murphy
Referee: Brett Huxtable.