Peterborough United ended Cardiff City’s one hundred per cent home record on Saturday, seeing Cardiff failing to pick up points for the first time this season. City found themselves under pressure from Peterborough's direct counter attacking play, added to with a controversial refereeing decision which gifted Posh a free kick on the edge of the box. From there Bostwick hit a laid-off unstoppable shot that Marshall had no chance to save and Peterborough used their lead to their advantage fantastically, a pacey counter proving a constant danger for the Bluebirds who were committing more players forward as time stretched.
The second half brought renewed optimism, but it was cut short when two minutes after the restart, Gayle punished a high Cardiff defensive line, slotting past Marshall one-on-one. City now faced their biggest mountain this season at home and though Helguson went close with a lob and a twelve yard effort, it seemed it just wasn't Cardiff's day in front of goal. For all the chances created, Posh defended well, and Cardiff couldn't apply the finishing touch to a constant stream of passes into the box. The Bluebirds were nearly punished on the break on multiple occasions, but generally controlled possession and on the 89thminute perseverance paid off - Gestede volleying his first goal of the season to rouse CCS. However, it wasn’t to be and the final whistle blew consigning Cardiff to defeat.
Cardiff City kicked off today’s home encounter against Peterborough United with a view to extending their excellent home winning streak to eleven games, knowing that a win might potentially see them go six points clear at the top of the npower Championship should their nearest challengers Crystal Palace leave their away fixture at Birmingham City pointless.
The Posh arrived in South Wales rooted to the bottom of the division after going without a win since October, having picked up just one point from the available twenty-four since their 3-0 success over Derby County at London Road.
Captain Mark Hudson was out of contention, serving a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 4-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park eight days earlier. This meant that Kevin McNaughton came into the side at right back, moving Connolly to central defence with Ben Turner, who this week signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2016.
The Bluebirds kicked off attacking the Grange End in front of a sell-out CCS, Noone first to test Posh goalkeeper Olejnik with a left footed curling effort from the edge of the area, but it was routinely caught. Conway was then released and subsequently brought down on the left of the box, with Whittingham and Bellamy looking over. Bellamy whipped it in, and Helguson finished with a flick-on header, but the Cardiff celebrations were cut short as the linesman had ruled offside. A great start to the opening five minutes, but Cardiff were given a warning through a long range Boyd effort.
Cardiff were then saved acrobatically by Ben Turner. As the ball ricocheted around the box the centre back pulled off a fantastic bicycle kick to clear the danger. Bellamy was then flagged offside as Peterborough brought the game to Cardiff with a good spell of pressure. The Posh earned themselves a corner that resulted in a second, but the danger was averted.
Craig Noone cut back onto his left before delivering a fantastic ball toward Helguson, but Olejnik claimed the cross, releasing Peterborough who were playing well on the break. Cardiff were pulling their weight as a team though, Conway making two excellent sliding tackles to dispossess Peterborough then subsequently win a free kick. Connolly then earned a booking for a challenge on Tomlin and a minute later Helguson was controversially booked though it appeared he clearly won the ball.
The resultant free kick was laid off to Bostwick, who rifled a right footed shot to the left of the goal, Marshall standing no chance.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0-1 PETERBOROUGH (Bostwick, 22 mins)
The crowd voiced their displeasure at referee David Coote, as Cardiff restarted quickly, Bellamy fired a shot wide of the near post from twenty yards.
On 28 minutes Conway embarked on a storming eighty yard run, the result a Cardiff corner, Bellamy delivering. Olejnik punched it away and Noone whipped a ball back in to Bellamy who's diving header beat the Peterborough goalkeeper, but couldn't beat Zanuani who headed off the line. Cardiff were then let off as a square ball was drove across the box, but no Posh player could meet it before Cardiff won two corners in quick succession, starting to assert themselves. The delivery was good, but defended well by Peterborough, before Noone won a free kick on the right side of goal, cutting in before Knight-Percival brought him down. Whittingham put the ball to the near post, but Peterborough again cleared their lines.
Conway again showed his excellent work rate, making another tenacious tackle to stop a Posh counter attack. Cardiff were now in control, Conway winning a free kick on the left side of the box and Bellamy delivered, but the ball beat the Cardiff players and fell straight to Olejnik.
A neat Posh exchange inside the Cardiff box was collected by Marshall as the Bluebirds continued to apply the pressure, however Cowie picked up a booking on the centre circle as three minutes of added time was announced. Noone then nutmegged Knight-Percival, the right back bringing Noone down and earning his self a booking. Whittingham's free kick was impressive, but tipped over and the corner taken short; Conway picked it up before firing a left footed drive wide. It proved to be the final act of the first half, Cardiff City going in a goal down for the first time this season.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0 – 1 PETERBOROUGH
Cardiff looked to start the second half strongly, putting two dangerous balls across the box with good intensity, but Peterborough immediately caught Cardiff on the break and a two-on-one situation left McNaughton in no-man's land as Gayle finished routinely past an again helpless Marshall.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 0 – 2 PETERBOROUGH (Gayle, 47 mins)
Quickly after the restart Whittingham played a good ball to Bellamy, but the striker's shot was blocked and the resultant corner was cleared. Mackay then chose to bring McNaughton off the pitch with Aron Gunnarsson taking his place at right back.
Substitution Cardiff: Aron Gunnarsson on for Kevin McNaughton (50 mins)
Substitution Cardiff: Jordon Mutch on for Don Cowie (52 mins)
Matt Connolly played an excellent ball from defence to the chest of Bellamy and after a succession of quick passes Whittingham fired an effort over from outside the box. Peterborough then earned a free kick after good work from Mark Little, but conceded possession after playing it short. Zakuani was then booked for time wasting; this as Cardiff searched for a goal that would put them back in contention.
Peterborough won a corner after a quick free kick caught Cardiff napping, and a good header from Dwight Gayle was tipped over by Marshall. Noone then won a free kick in a dangerous position to the right of the Peterborough goal, Whittingham drilling an effort that was deflected out for another Cardiff corner. The delivery was poor and Peterborough again caught Cardiff on the break, Gunnarsson defending well. The Posh then thought they had made it three, but a late offside flag cut celebrations short.
Gayle brought a good save from Marshall that earned Peterborough another corner, Tomlin delivering, but Cardiff were awarded a free kick as the ball flew in. Mackay then used his final substitution, bringing on Rudy Gestede for Conway, moving Bellamy to left midfield.
Substitution Cardiff: Rudy Gestede on for Craig Conway (64 mins)
Bellamy received the ball out wide, playing a first time low cross to Helguson, but the Icelandic striker put the ball the wrong side of the post from twelve yards.
Substitution Peterborough: Craig Alcock on for Knight-Pervical (69 mins)
As the match ran on Marshall did well to save from Gayle - who was benefiting enormously from the Posh counter - diving down to his right hand side. Gayle then had a shot tipped onto the post, his pace proving impossible to deal with. Turner then played a fantastic ball through to Helguson, who did well to reach the ball before Olejnik, but his lobbed effort fell again, the wrong side of the post.
Whittingham's searching long balls were causing Peterborough problems, but for all the pressure Cardiff had, they couldn't apply the finishing touch. Posh were content with hitting Cardiff on the break, a tactic that was working extremely effectively; Boyd going close with a long range drive. Boyd then placed a square ball after Whittingham lost possession in a dangerous area, but Gayle's shot was straight at Marshall, the Scottish goalkeeper not knowing much about it, but saving nonetheless.
A good run from Bellamy ended with the Welshman's deflected effort flying across the Posh box, but Gestede couldn't apply the finishing touch to steer a scuffed Noone shot goal bound.
Substitution Peterborough: Kane Ferdinand on for Joe Newell (83 mins)
With time running out Helguson put a header just wide following a good Noone delivery and it seemed like it just wasn't Cardiff's day. Marshall however was doing everything he could to keep Cardiff's chances alive, saving well from Tomlin. City then earned a late corner with three minutes to go, Whittingham delivering, but the ball in was again found wanting. However, this worked to the Bluebird's advantage; Gestede latching on to a squared ball, volleying into the far right corner. The Bluebirds had a lifeline, and with six minutes of injury time announced, CCS was deafening.
GOAL: CARDIFF CITY 1 – 2 PETERBOROUGH (Gestede, 89 mins)
Turner and Tomlin were both booked after Tomlin reacted angrily to a good Turner challenge and Cardiff pumped ball after ball into the Posh box. Contrary to much of the second half where Cardiff were caught on the break on numerous occasions, they were now in complete control of possession. Inevitably though, the final whistle blew, leaving Cardiff with their first points dropped at home this season, however the Bluebirds remain at the summit of the Championship as chasing Crystal Palace were pegged back by Birmingham City.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 1 – 2 PETERBOROUGH