Cardiff City fell to a 2-0 defeat against newly-promoted Burton Albion in difficult conditions in East Staffordshire.
The Bluebirds started the match with promise as they looked to go into the international break with a positive result at the Pirelli Stadium.
Stuart O’Keefe and Joe Ralls impressed in midfield during the opening exchanges, as Peter Whittingham and Rickie Lambert combined to give the Bluebirds plenty of early territory.
However, after an encouraging start for City, the home side drew first blood on twelve minutes. The Brewers put City’s back line under pressure with a couple of dangerous crosses, before the ball fell to Burton’s record signing Jackson Irvine on the edge of the box. With the rain pouring down, the Australia international made no mistake with his finish, finding the bottom corner of Ben Amos’ goal.
After the strike, City managed to turn the flow of the game back in their favour and, for the most part, dominated the remainder of the half.
The pace of Craig Noone on the right flank looked to be a useful outlet for City as the lively winger created several opportunities. First, he drove past two markers into the box and almost managed to unleash a left-footed effort on the Burton goal, only to be thwarted at the last second.
Then, Noone had a strong shout for a penalty denied as he got to the ball ahead of Ben Turner in the area. The former Bluebird put in an assured performance for the Brewers but was caught out by Noone’s pace and brought the winger down after the ball had gone, although nothing was given by the referee.
Following a promising first half, City would have been optimistic of playing their way back into the game after the interval.
However, they were dealt a huge blow at the beginning of the second half as the Brewers scored within five minutes of the restart. Burton earned a free-kick which was swung in towards the head of Kyle McFadzean at the far post. The centre-half had caused City some issues with his aerial presence, and managed to knock the ball back across the box for Lucas Akins to nod home Burton's second.
City continued to press throughout the second half and were unfortunate not to at least pull a goal back before the full time whistle. Noone continued to impress while the introduction of Kadeem Harris on the left flank brought further zip to the City side.
However, despite their efforts, the Bluebirds were up against a well-drilled side in the Brewers, and were unable to break them down and find a way back into the hard fought encounter.
FINAL SCORE: BURTON ALBION 2-0 CARDIFF CITY
Scorers: Irvine 12’, Akins 49’
Burton Albion: McLaughlin, Naylor, McFadzean, Turner, Palmer, Akins, Dyer, Irvine, Choudhury (Mousinho 90), Ward, (Miller 66), O’Grady (Flanagan 77).
Subs not used: Bywater, Reilly, Barker, Harness.
Cardiff City: Amos, Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, John, Whittingham, O’Keefe, Ralls (Harris 55), Noone, Immers (Gounongbe 56), Lambert (Zohore 78).
Subs not used: Wilson, Ajayi, Bennett, Huws.