Scott Johnson – Bamba blasts off
Sol Bamba knows how to make an entrance. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been missing until it finally turns up and Bamba made an instant impact. He is Neil Warnock on the pitch; barking orders and marshalling the defence. The personality of the side.
Making his debut in the Severnside derby, Bamba was a powerhouse at both ends, letting nothing pass him and popping up with the winner at the other end. Big games need big players and few are bigger than Bamba, in stature and presence. How Cardiff have missed him this season and you wouldn’t bet against him having an impact tomorrow.
Ben James – Thorne in their side
Over the years, our games against Bristol have given us some brilliant moments. The 6-0 trouncing in the snow, the 3-1 win at home, early on under Malky. But none will top the 1-0 win in the play-off semi-final back in 2003. I was still relatively early in my Cardiff City supporting journey and our successes seemed to have been limited to a promotion to Division Two, when we drew 0-0 with Scunthorpe. Also losing to Northampton in the play-offs in ’97 and Stoke again in 2002.
The 2003 play-offs felt like our big moment. That home semi-final was a game that crackled with energy. It was a season in which Bristol had beaten us at home and they were probably tipped ahead of us. That game was tense, exciting, nervy and Peter Thorne scored a typical Peter Thorne header. He rose high at the back post, hanging in the air for what felt like seconds and he slammed his header home.
The only goal over two legs, it was a huge moment in that period. He put us past a bitter rivals, it moved us onto the final, and laid the groundwork for the next era of Cardiff City.
Scott Salter – the start of the Warnock era
That 2-1 win may largely be remembered as the arrival of Sol Bamba but, while that is largely true, for me it signaled that Neil Warnock had arrived in South Wales.
The club were down in the dumps when Warnock arrived but that game everything changed. There was optimism in the ground – both on the pitch and in the stands. I don’t think any of us could’ve imagined what came next, though.
Paul Gronow – I was there when Gavin Rae scored
Cardiff City beating Bristol City 3-0 at home in 2009 was a beautiful moment. Most Bluebirds remember this game as Chopra’s ‘boots are on fire’ goal celebration made an appearance, but they’d be wrong.
This was the day that Gavin Rae, an often overlooked stalwart of the Dave Jones era, scored a beautiful goal to top off the perfect day.
The sun shone, Lee Johnson’s father Gary, who was managing Bristol at the time, was seriously miffed and our life at the Cardiff City Stadium was looking good.
Gavin Rae scoring was almost as rare a beast as Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Johnson and I’m so pleased I was there to see it.