KIEFFER MOORE: THE SUCCESS STORY OF CARDIFF CITY'S TOP GOALSCORER
Within football, a range of stereotypes and misguided notions take place. One such is the inclination that towering centre forwards serve the sole purpose of being a bruising battering ram, simply sculpted for the game’s belligerent elements.
These types of footballers carry a daunting aerial prowess that enables them to win most if not all of their duels, and they possess a profound ability to hold up the ball, yet any form of technical expertise is automatically extinct from their arsenal. Or so many believe.
If that sentiment is something that you invest yourself into, I would highly advise that you watch Cardiff City and Wales International forward Kieffer Moore in action who, at 6’5, perfectly fits the deceiving presumption.
Colossal in stature, pugnacious in manner and masterly in the air, his presence alone bookmarks him as your archetypal hulking striker- and Cardiff themselves have had plenty of those.
Such a frame enables him to truly flourish in the way that the Bluebirds have played football for years, but his game consists of much more than what may meet the eye and anyone who has seen the 28-year old donning blue this term will duly concur.
Betraying the credence, Moore beholds a velvet-like first touch, capable of bringing the ball under control almost effortlessly. He is very productive at driving forward in possession and, with a deceptive turn of pace, he can leave defenders dumbfounded as he speeds away in emphatic style.
His opener against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon was a staple of his forte and a valuable telling of how good he is with the ball at his feet.
Perry Ng had done well to find him on the byline, where Moore tracked the ball well before cushioning the ball onto his right foot and knocking past ex-Bluebird Joe Jacobson.
For a second, Jacobson had been left to ponder what had just happened, but lo and behold, it was too late. Moore was long gone.
Without breaking stride, he gracefully cut in past Wycombe’s Anthony Stewart and although he had options in the area- Sean Morrison, Curtis Nelson and Rubin Colwill had all made themselves available- he instead chose to take it on himself, arrowing a low, venomous strike into the bottom left hand corner of the goal from a testing angle.
It precisely illustrated a striker beaming with confidence and no surprise emanated when Moore added a second later on, taking his tally up to 20 goals for the season.
Subsequently, that made him the first Cardiff player to hit the elusive benchmark in the league since club icon Peter Whittingham’s 20-goal haul from midfield in the 2009/10 campaign.
The figure is even more impressive when you consider the own inconsistencies that Cardiff have suffered with, ascending from mid table mediocrity to shock playoff candidates in the blink of an eye. That honeymoon was fairly brief and before long, it would meet its expiration date. It hurt, although moderately given Cardiff’s fortunes during the first half of the season and many were grateful to even be associated with the words ‘top six’.
In spite of this, throughout the highs and lows and managerial changes, Moore has remained a virtual facet of consistency in the side. Sure, he has endured the occasional barren run of form that strikers inevitably go on at some stage, but even then, his overall impact was unshiftable.
Under Mick McCarthy, who took to the dugout back in February following the sacking of Neil Harris, Cardiff’s shape has tweaked somewhat. In contrast to the 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 formations that were deployed earlier on in the season, they now tend to opt with a 3-5-2.
Moore still holds his role as his team’s focal point, however, it facilitates a second striker playing off the shoulder and for the large part, we have seen Josh Murphy and Sheyi Ojo utilised in that role. It has worked a treat; Moore’s ability to win flick ons opens up defences and allows one of the two to run in behind, which goes some way to carving out potent goalscoring opportunities.
Even though it has proved to be effective at times, there is a school of thought that Cardiff have been missing a spark of inventiveness. Mercurial on-loan forward Harry Wilson has provided moments of brilliance in the Welsh Capital, but despite an outlay of 11 assists, he has often been accused of drifting in and out of games, leaving City supporters to wonder if he failed to quite match the expectations placed upon his shoulders.
Likewise, both Ojo and Murphy have threatened to supplement that sorely-needed architecture into the side, though they too have been marred with inconsistency and have been in and out of the team.
To perform at the level he has without a frequent creative force takes some doing, so it is no wonder why the Cardiff faithful have warmed to him so much. But, if there is one way to win the hearts of this fanbase, then it is by having an interminable work ethic.
Moore has just that.
Whether it is dropping deep to get on the ball or committing to blustery battles, the former Wigan Athletic man marries his marksmanship with a relentless graft that evidently pays off handsomely.
And, if you are to blossom as a centre forward in the Mick McCarthy mechanism, you need to play the game a certain way. Scoring goals on its own is seemingly not enough. It is nothing short of paramount that you plug away without end and press from the front, which Moore does excellently.
Of course he does. If you have watched the Bluebirds at all this season, it is likely you have found yourself scratching your head at what he cannot do, as opposed to what he can.
It has been a long time since Cardiff had such a revelation in front of goal. Indeed, it dates back to the glorious days when Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd struck up a lethal combination under Dave Jones’ swashbuckling, impulsive brand of football, but now, at long last, they have their hitman.