The Bluebirds progressed to the second round of the Capital One Cup with a 1-0 win over Neal Ardley’s AFC Wimbledon.
Russell Slade named a strong squad to face the visiting Wombles at Cardiff City Stadium, although young ‘keeper Ben Wilson was handed his début between the sticks. He had to be on his toes early on too, coming out to a high ball ahead of Dons star forward Adebayo Akinfenwa.
City were looking composed going forward though, as Eoin Doyle got a couple of early shots away. Aron Gunnarsson’s tenacious run could have seen them take the lead too, had Will Nightingale not been on hand to clear his driven cross, before the Iceland skipper himself hit an improvised volley just over.
The Wombles had brought a vocal away following and they almost had something to cheer about when Akinfenwa headed narrowly wide from George Francomb’s cross, although the referee did also judge that he had used his quite considerable strength to an unfair advantage.
NOONE DOES IT AGAIN
With three first-half minutes remaining, Sammy Ameobi fashioned a fine chance for the Bluebirds, surging through the middle of the park before letting fly from distance. The new recruit’s zipping effort looked set to nestle in the bottom corner until James Shea, a graduate from Arsenal’s academy, tipped it wide of his post at full stretch.
However, before half time City still had time to grab an opener as Francomb gave away a free-kick 25 yards out. After his equalising strike against Fulham, there was no questioning who would take it. Craig Noone was the man to step up, brimming with confidence, to curl the ball past Shea for the lead at the interval.
THROUGH TO ROUND TWO
The Bluebirds continued from where they left off after the break, carving out several good chances through Noone, Ameobi and Alex Revell. Montserrat international Lyle Taylor fired over for the Wombles though, as a reminder of their threat on the break.
Indeed, while Noone went close at the other end, Taylor was looking a real threat for the Dons. The former Scunthorpe man was just inches from connecting with Sean Rigg’s squared cross on their next venture forward.
Neal Ardley and Neil Cox in the Dons’ dugout opted for a triple substitution with twenty minutes remaining in an attempt to claw themselves back into the game. It was a Bluebirds’ substitute who almost made an instant impact though, as Kenwyne Jones played a headed one-two with Doyle, before seeing his shot saved superbly by Shea.
The Wombles gave City one last scare at the death when Tom Elliott’s header from a corner rebounded back off Wilson’s bar, but there was no need for extra time as Russell Slade's side confirmed their place in the next round with the 1-0 win.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 AFC WIMBLEDON (Noone, 45)
CARDIFF CITY: Wilson; Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Fábio; Noone, Gunnarsson, O’Keefe, Ameobi (Harris 73); Revell (Jones 67), Doyle. Subs not used: Moore, Ajayi, Ralls, Kennedy, Mason.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Shea; Fuller, Nightingale, Robinson, Kennedy; Francomb (Barcham 69), Bulman, Meades, Rigg; Akinfenwa (Elliott 69), Taylor (Azeez 69). Subs not used: McDonnell, Reeves, Fitzpatrick, Osborne.