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Last minute equalisers, Ninian Park & the cult of Andrea Dossena; Three Lads v Cardiff classics!

Let’s look back at three happy visits to the Valleys from years gone by!

Soccer - Nationwide League Division One - Cardiff City v Sunderland Photo by Matthew Ashton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Head-to-head record in the Welsh capital...

Sunderland wins: 8 | Cardiff wins: 17 | Draws: 6

Last time in Wales...

Cardiff City 2-2 Sunderland (Mutch 6, Campbell 58, S. Fletcher 83, Colback 90+5)

Cardiff City 0-2 Sunderland - Ninian Park - 11/12/2004

A cold afternoon in the valleys set the scene for Mick McCarthy’s high flyers to cement our promotion push, as a professional second half performance in front of 12,528 took us within touching distance of the top spots.

Second-half goals from summer signings Dean Whitehead and Liam Lawrence meant we left South Wales with all three points and a clean sheet in the bag, despite a few early scares. Thomas Myhre kept us in it with numerous stops in the first half as Cardiff looked to emulate their 4-0 victory from the previous season by flying out of the traps.

A Cardiff side that included a teenage Cameron Jerome, James Collins and Joe Ledley ran out of steam in the second period as a Sunderland side built on McCarthy’s transfer budget of nothing more than a can of baked beans and a copy of Reader’s Digest continued to show it’s mettle by claiming our third win on the road, moving into third place.

Cardiff City 2-2 Sunderland - Cardiff City Stadium - 28/12/2013

Our first visit to Cardiff’s new ground was one of the most satisfying trips there in recent memory. What more can you possibly want from a televised game in late December than fan fury, late equalisers and a back four that includes Modibo Diakite, Valentin Roberge and Andrea Dossena?

The Bluebirds fans were just getting over their fume at Chairman Vincent Tan for changing their kits from blue to red when - true to form - the Malaysian businessman invited the baying mob back for more, sacking a man they seemingly quite liked in Malky Mackay.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it though? It later transpired Mackay was a bit racist, and that doesn’t sit well with most Asian owners - especially when they are paying your wages. It was something the big Scot of course denied, and I will reserve judgement as I once sat next to him on a flight from London back to Glasgow and he’s huge and could easily take me in a fight. Although I will never really forgive him for taking all the legroom.

With a fan-base divided, despondent and angry, the atmosphere at Cardiff was a little firey for a cold evening in December, which of course meant we went 1-0 down as early as the sixth minute, with Fraizer Campbell adding a second for the Bluebirds (or Red Dragons as it was then) just after the restart.

The game turned unexpectedly turned on its head when Steven Fletcher toe poked home a cross from Emmanuele Giaccherini with just seven minutes left on the clock to set up a tense finale.

We piled forward in search of an undeserved equaliser with Fletcher, Roberge and Giaccherini all squandering chances, before Jack Colback’s last-gasp attempt cannoned off Steven Caulker, lobbing David Marshall and nestling in the top-corner as the clock hit the fifth minute of injury time. The few thousand of us in the corner wild in our winter warmers. Bliss.

Let’s not forget Vincent Tan booing his own players either, that was hilarious.

Cardiff City 0-1 Sunderland - Ninian Park - 31/03/2007

Away games in the Roy Keane era were bloody brilliant weren’t they? Our final visit to Ninian Park was no exception either, as the rickety old ground shook to the sounds of chorus upon chorus of ‘Hey Jude’ from the travelling faithful.

We had just moved into the automatic promotion places and were unbeaten in thirteen when we arrived in the Welsh capital and just as the word “promotion” was being mentioned, a free kick from former Celtic winner Ross Wallace eighteen minutes from time squeezed under Neil Alexander to strengthened our title winning credentials even further and send the travelling red and white army wild.

After the game our new Messiah Keano talked up the enormous pull of the club being a factor in the resurgence under him, stating:

I could see the potential of this huge club... you look at the players’ spirit and desire to work hard here.

With six games to go, we’d win five and lose only once more as we marched towards the Championship title, whereas Cardiff would miss out on the play-off’s by losing five of their last six matches.

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