Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 18:48 UK

Cardiff fall at last FA Cup fence

Fans arriving ahead of the game at Wembley

Thousands of Cardiff City fans have seen their team lose the FA Cup final to Portsmouth in a 1-0 defeat.

About 25,000 City fans travelled to Wembley for the match, the club's biggest game for 81 years.

Up to 7,000 City supporters also watched the game on a big screen erected in Cardiff Bay.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who was in the Wembley crowd, said Cardiff fans "can't have any complaints on what has undoubtedly been a great day out".

"Although Cardiff had chances to equalise in the dying minutes, we just didn't have the rub of the green on the day to take us to extra time," Mr Morgan said.

"The Cardiff City team played their hearts out but it just wasn't meant to be.

Cardiff Bay is a field of shattered dreams

"The players, Dave Jones, fans and everyone involved in the club can be immensely proud of the teams' efforts today and in getting so far in this years competition," he added.

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy also congratulated Cardiff for fighting hard in the game and said they should be proud of their performance.

Mr Murphy said: "Cardiff's achievement in reaching the final is a remarkable feat for which players and management should feel very proud."

Cardiff council leader Rodney Berman also congratulated the club for their "tremendous achievements in the FA Cup this season, despite missing out on success against Portsmouth at Wembley ".

"The Bluebirds gave a battling performance and despite the loss, I was still extremely honoured to be at Wembley to experience the electric atmosphere and witness the clash."

Extremely memorable

Mr Berman said Cardiff City's "success this season attracted great interest throughout Cardiff and south Wales and the FA Cup fever that swept the city was wonderful. This season's cup run has been extremely memorable"

"We all would have wanted to be celebrating the team lifting the FA Cup on Saturday but it unfortunately, it just wasn't to be."

The Bluebirds had not played in an FA Cup final since lifting the trophy in 1927 with a win over Arsenal and taking the cup to Wales for the only time.

Katherine Jenkins sang the Welsh national anthem before the game, which was expected to attract a global television audience of 400m people.

Fans had travelled to the game by air, rail and road, with Cardiff City Supporters' Club alone taking 60 coaches up the M4 to London.

More than 50 Cardiff fans from Bluebirds Down Under, flew from Australia to see the final.

Ahead of the game, Vince Alm, of Cardiff City Supporters' Club, said it was a huge day for the city and not just the football team.

"It raises the profile of the football club and the whole city."


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