MATCH REPORT | CARDIFF CITY 2-1 BRISTOL CITY
Peter Whittingham's penalty and Sol Bamba's debut goal secured the Severnside Derby bragging rights for Neil Warnock's Cardiff City, despite Lee Tomlin's consolation.
WARM WARNOCK WELCOME
Rapturous applause greeted manager new boss Warnock and his Bluebirds side, returning to CCS after the international break, with 22,776 in attendance.
Full of true derby day passion, the game began with neither side willing to back down. However, as the tackles flew in from both teams, neither managed to get hold of the game, with only half-chances at both ends. For the Bluebirds, Rickie Lambert was looking dangerous, seeing a shot blocked, and was narrowly denied a free header thanks to a last gasp Bristol intervention. At the other end, the Robins saw a penalty appeal waved away after ten minutes, after Lee Tomlin went down in the City box.
However, the referee did award a penalty fifteen minutes later, in favour of the home team. A delicate through ball from Joe Ralls found the feet of winger Craig Noone, whose sublime nutmeg defeated defender Joe Bryan, with the left-back bringing down the Cardiff man. Up stepped spot kick specialist Whittingham, who made no mistake – tucking neatly into the bottom left-hand corner to put the Bluebirds ahead.
NEW BOYS PROVIDE SPARK
Debutant Junior Hoilett was providing plenty of energy on the left flank, linking up well with lone front-man Lambert and fellow new boy Joe Bennett. Despite Bristol City pressure, the Cardiff back line performed well in the first half, with centre back pairing Sean Morrison and Sol Bamba ensuring in-form Tammy Abraham had little space to operate. Good play in the final minutes of the half ended with a Ralls shot, well held by Frank Fielding, ending the opening period with City ahead.
In the second half, City began with the same attacking intent; a shot from Craig Noone went inches wide of the upright. After 52 minutes, an excellent Hoilett run ended with a pulled-back pass, which was just too short for Morrison to latch on to. Minutes later, a dipping Noone cross was met by Ralls, with the midfielder striking just wide from inside the box.
BAMBA SEALS THE WIN
With sixty-seven minutes gone, the Bluebirds grabbed a vital second thanks to Man of the Match Bamba. A Ralls corner was flicked on by Gunnarsson, with Lambert connecting. His shot crashed against the crossbar, only for Bamba, on his debut, to prod home the rebound.
Two minutes later, the Robins fired back in response, through Lee Tomlin. Despite Cardiff man Lex Immers being on the deck, former Bournemouth man Tomlin struck a low effort from the edge of the box, which bulleted in at the near post. As the game entered the closing period, the home support willed on the boys in the blue, with Joe Bennett coming close after pressing and winning the ball in the Bristol half.
In the dying moments, a great chance fell to Bristol substitute Bobby Reid. A low Bryan cross fizzed across to the back post, where the midfielder clipped the ball over the crossbar. Luke Freeman had another opportunity in added time, firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
As the Robins threw everything forward, the Cardiff players held firm, with some valiant defending across the whole team. After seven minutes of additional time, the referee signaled the end of the match, beginning Warnock’s reign with a win. The Bluebirds are up to nineteenth ahead of the midweek visit of Sheffield Wednesday.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 BRISTOL CITY
Cardiff City: Amos, Peltier, Morrison, Bamba, Peltier, Whittingham (Immers ’65), Gunnarsson, Ralls, Noone, Hoilett (Harris ’72), Lambert (Pilkington ’84).
Subs not used: Wilson, Manga, Richardson, Chamakh.
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Bryan, Flint, Magnusson, O’Neil, Freeman, Pack (Reid ’56), Paterson (Wilbraham ’56), Tomlin, Abraham (O’Dowda ’80).
Subs not used: O’Donnell, Golbourne, Moore, Brownhill.