Cardiff City recorded a 2-1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers under the Cardiff City Stadium floodlights.
Blackburn centre-half Shane Duffy scored two own goals in seven first-half minutes to give the Bluebirds the well-deserved points. Danny Graham did pull one back in the 77th minute, before Duffy was dismissed in the closing moments on a night to forget for the Republic of Ireland international.
DUFFY AT THE DOUBLE
The Bluebirds dominated possession in the opening stages, frequently venturing into the Rovers’ half. After fourteen minutes, the home side were rewarded, opening the scoring in bizarre fashion. A sublime cross-field pass from Peter Whittingham found advanced Welshman Declan John. The full-back’s shot crashed against the post, before Duffy inadvertently hit home the rebound, giving City the lead.
Six minutes later, Duffy again found the back of the net – and once again, it was at the wrong end. The centre half, who has now netted three own goals in two League matches, awkwardly headed the ball past Jason Steele, whilst being put under pressure from Bruno Manga and Sean Morrison, much to the Irishman’s dismay.
BLUEBIRDS BUILD PRESSURE
Moments after doubling the lead, Cardiff almost went three up thanks to Joe Ralls. His shot was deflected just wide of the far post, as the Bluebirds looked to seal the game. Anthony Pilkington had the best opportunity to do so on the half-hour mark, after being played through on goal. City’s number 13 raced into the box, before dragging his shot wide of the mark.
After the break, the Irishman had another great chance – firing wide from in the box after an Aron Gunnarsson pass. A great run from substitute Kadeem Harris just after the hour mark saw him beat three players, before his effort was deflected over the bar.
Looking to get back into the game, Owen Coyle’s Blackburn acquired more of the ball, and created some chances of their own. An inviting ball into the box wasn’t initially cleared by the City defence, before stopper David Marshall calmly collected. However, another great chance for the Bluebirds did fall to Matt Connolly, who smashed agonizingly wide from a corner.
ROVERS COMEBACK QUASHED
Seconds later, Blackburn found a way back into the game, thanks to Danny Graham. Despite the best efforts of the battling Manga, the striker managed the squeeze the ball in at the near post, to give Rovers a lifeline. In response, City came close from a corner, with Morrison’s heard tipped over by Steele. A fizzing Ralls shot on 85 minutes looked dangerous, but was well held by the Rovers’ stopper.
As the minutes ticked down, Blackburn threw all they had at the City defence, who stood firm, before helping to almost add a third. A long clearance from Harris found fellow substitute Frédéric Gounongbe, who beat his man and went clean through, only to force a great one handed save from Steele.
There was still time for one more major moment, as Duffy – who truly had a night to forget – was sent off for a second bookable offense. The defender booted the ball away in frustration, having been flagged for offside to halt a Blackburn counter-attack. The full-time whistle signaled three points for Cardiff after an enthralling fixture, with the Bluebirds facing Fulham at Craven Cottage in their next match.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 BLACKBURN ROVERS (Duffy OG ’14, ’20, Graham ‘77)
Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier (Harris ’57), Manga, Morrison, Connolly, John, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Immers (Huws ’88), Pilkington (Gounongbe ’76).
Subs not used: Moore, Ajayi, Huws, Noone, Zohore.
Blackburn Rovers: Steele, Greer, Lowe, Duffy, Hendrie, Byrne, Akpan (Lenihan ’84), Marshall (Feeney ’88), Conway, Graham, Stokes (Gallagher ’62)
Subs not used: Raya, Guthrie, Mahoney, Wharton.