Report: Cardiff City 2 - 1 Hull City
Hull City conceded ground to the Championship top two as defeat in the Welsh Capital saw City fall five points adrift of league leaders Crystal Palace.
Like matches against Middlesbrough and Leicester City earlier this season, City rarely troubled Cardiff City and turned in an abject performance against another promotion hopeful. City have been clear second-best in these three games, which must be a concern although Steve Bruce`s side still remain in fourth.
Steve Bruce made just one change from the side which had defeated Wolves on Tuesday night. Alex Bruce was replaced with Abdoulaye Faye while Liam Rosenior and Ahmed Elmohamady did start, although the latter was clearly carrying a knock as he put in his poorest performance since signing on loan from Sunderland. Neither he, nor Bruce, will link up with their respective international countries in mid-week.
Cardiff, who hold the only 100% home record in the football league following seven wins from seven, started strongly and took a lead after two minutes. Noone, who terrorised City when playing for Brighton on the opening day of the season, and who is now at Cardiff found space ahead of Rosenior to turn in a deep cross. Amos came to punch but only connected with Helguson, who also got to the ball before the young keeper to give the home side an early lead. Amos` connection with the striker prompted five minutes of injury time as the Cardiff goalscorer received medical attention before continuing.
Cardiff`s early goal and home form combined to breed confidence, leading to chance after chance being created. Their aerial threat was City`s biggest concern, with Turner heading against the crossbar from a Whittingham corner before Gunnarsson headed wide. Young striker Joe Mason also headed wide when unmarked in-front of goal.
City could conjure little in the opening thirty minutes other than a Robert Koren shot from distance saved comfortably by Marshall. As the first half progressed, City came more into the game without creating any chance of note. However, as the first half concluded, a City corner caused panic amongst the Cardiff defence. Quinn, Koren and Simpson were all near the ball as Marshall and his defence struggled, Simpson eventually putting the ball into the net. The linesman flagged for offside (unlikely) or hand-ball (it appeared to be a Cardiff arm,) thus seeing the goal disallowed much to the annoyance of Bruce post-match.
The second half provided fewer chances as Amos denied Noone again, having done so brilliantly in the first-half, before Helguson shot wide. Aluko, City`s joint top scorer went closest to an equaliser as his free-kick from 25 yards clipped the top of the bar. As City introduced Brady and debutant Meyler, before bringing on Mclean, Cardiff scored their second as City searched for an equaliser. Gunnarsson, on City`s left hand side crossed towards the far post and still attacking from a previous corner, Hudson ran away from Elmohamady to score a diving header from close range.
City`s eventual consolation arrived from Robert Koren, who controlled and volleyed a weak defensive header in one motion to send an arching shot over Marshall and into the far corner. It was however too little, too late and City would not have deserved to take a point. In what is an important month, six points from nine is a good start, but three more would be very welcome at Birmingham on Saturday.
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