A determined and spirited Cardiff City came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Brighton & Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Brighton started with purpose at the AMEX, spurning early chances. Lewis Dunk’s fifth minute header from a corner kick drifted well wide of David Marshall’s goal, while Kazenga Lua Lua was guilty of spurning a golden opportunity in the tenth minute having turned Bruno Ecuele Manga and blazing over from inside the area. City’s best chance of the early parts came when John Brayford’s break and counter was met by Kenwyne Jones in the area, though the striker’s header was straight at David Stockdale.
In the 14th minute, Lua Lua was guilty once more. Great work by Bruno down the right hand side saw the ball find it’s way to the striker – this time, Marshall was on hand to pull off a fine save from point-blank range. The Skipper was at it again four minutes later, this time pushing away on instinct after Forster-Caskey’s cross took a wicked deflection goalwards.
In the 19th minute, Albion deservedly went ahead. Right-back Bruno broke free again down the right hand side, connecting with a hopeful cross-field ball in what could be considered a cross-shot fashion. The resulting connection left Marshall helpless.
GOAL: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1-0 CARDIFF CITY (Bruno, 19 minutes)
There was little time for the home fans to celebrate, though. City went on the front foot from the kick off, working the ball out to the left hand side after a number of phases. Peter Whittingham met the ball superbly, crossing to the edge of the area for the advancing Kenwyne Jones; from almost 18 yards out, the City striker connected with a superb header, that saw the onrushing David Stockdale blushing having watched his skipper, Dunk, caught napping.
GOAL: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (Jones, 21 minutes)
Cardiff were much better after the equaliser, going forward with more confidence and utilising the aerial dominance of Jones. Fabio continued to impress down the left-hand side, though it was fellow left-back Joe Bennett who had the best chance of giving his side the lead when he struck wide in the 36th minute after a great cross-field ball by Gary Gardner.
HALF TIME: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1-1 CARDIFF CITY
The Bluebirds came out with gusto in the second half, twice threatening goal inside two minutes. John Brayford was first to strike from distance, forcing a corner, before Tom Adeyemi was denied at the death by a last minute Dunk tackle when inside the area and bearing down on goal.
In the 52th minute though, it was more Marshall heroics that kept the scores level. Firstly, the City skipper denied Bennett from point-blank range, forcing a corner. From that corner, Gordon Greer’s back post header was once more expertly palmed away by the imperious Scot.
Substitution Cardiff City: Craig Noone on for Tom Adeyemi (54 minutes)
Anthony Pilkington was next to have a goal-scoring opportunity. Lewis Dunk had seemingly put his side in all sorts of trouble, back-heading towards ‘keeper Stockdale whilst unaware of the lurking City man. Pilkington kept his shot down and low, though Stockdale stood tall to deny the midfielder.
Substitution Cardiff City: Ravel Morrison on for Mats Moller Daehli (64 minutes)
This entertaining came continued at a breakneck speed, with City dominating midfield through Whittingham and Gunnarsson. A moment of decision in the 67th minute, however, led to a Brighton break – and it was David Marshall who again pulled out a save of the highest calibre to deny Joe Bennett. He seemingly had to score.
Substitution Brighton & Hove Albion: Chris O’Grady on for Craig Mackail-Smith (68 minutes)
Substitution Brighton & Hove Albion: Paddy McCourt on for Joao Teixera (79 minutes)
Substitution Cardiff City: Federico Macheda on for Kenwyne Jones (82 minutes)
Heading into the last ten minutes of the game, Brighton were spilling forward in search of the winner. But Cardiff were resolute, steely under the stewardship of Young and Gabbidon and defended sternly, aided by the superb Marshall. Five minutes of injury time were shown by the fourth official, and although Bennett’s last minute shot seemed to be heading in, the Skipper was on hand to force a corner that was defended superbly by Sean Morrison. This was a terrific game – and the Bluebirds, without question, played for the shirt and the 422 City fans in attendance.
FULL TIME: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1-1 CARDIFF CITY
Cardiff City:Marshall (c), Brayford, Fabio, Manga, S.Morrison, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Adeyemi, Pilkington, Daehli, Jones. Subs: Moore, Noone, Macheda, R.Morrison, Ralls, Maynard, James.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Saltor, Greer (c), Dunk, Mackail-Smith, Teixeira, Forster-Caskey, Gardner, Holla, Lua Lua, Bennett. Subs: Ankergren, Hughes, Colunga, Crofts, O'Grady, McCourt, Ince.