REPORT: BLACKBURN 1-1 CARDIFF
A late Grant Hanley goal for Blackburn Rovers meant the Bluebirds were forced to settle for a point at Ewood Park.
With the exception of the returning David Marshall, Cardiff City were unchanged from Saturday's memorable draw at Queens Park Rangers with Alex Revell and Joe Mason spearheading the attack. The aforementioned Mason had a superb pre-season for the Bluebirds and would have been delighted to open his account for the new campaign just five minutes into the match, latching onto a Lee Peltier through ball to slot under young Rovers keeper David Raya.
Marshall was called into action for Cardiff City as Blackburn looked to level against the run of play, the Scottish No. 1 denying Nathan Delfouneso's close range header after nine minutes. After 22 minutes, the 377 travelling Bluebirds fans broke into applause as a mark of respect to Cardiff City supporter, Gareth Seville, who sadly passed away earlier today.
Slade's men had two further chances to double their advantage, Anthony Pilkington's shot deflected just wide of goal 31 minutes in, moments before Joe Ralls' powerful strike was parried inches away from the City forwards, who were ready to pounce.
The away side were undoubtedly the more impressive outfit for the opening 40 minutes, but could have gone in at the break level as Blackburn began to threaten from three separate set pieces. Fode Koita's header did hit the back of the net, with the linesman ruling it offside. City had a further let off in added time, Shane Duffy smashing the ball into the away support from less than five yards out.
Shane Duffy's defensive partner Grant Hanley had an even better chance to score just before the hour mark, somehow heading wide of goal from two yards out. The hosts came out for the second period in determined fashion, though they were still susceptible on the break. Substitute Kenwyne Jones having a shot blocked after 73 minutes.
On his return to the side, David Marshall made a number of outstanding stops, but there was nothing he could do after 87 minutes, with Rovers finally finding a way past the imposing goalkeeper. Skipper Grant Hanley with a composed finish from close range, making up for his earlier miss.
Both sides had late chances to steal all three points, Craig Noone's free kick from 25-yards drifting just wide before Marshall and Connolly both made game-saving blocks. With the Bluebirds dominant in the first period, and Rovers showcasing steel determination in the second half, neither side could be too disappointed with a draw - City remaining unbeaten in 2015/16 after this result.
FINAL SCORE: BLACKBURN ROVERS 1-1 CARDIFF CITY (Hanley '87; Mason '5)
Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Henley (Guthrie, 61), Spurr, Hanley, Lowe, Delfouneso, Koita (Barrow, 46), Marshall, Akpan, Duffy, Conway. Subs Not Used: Steele, Kilgallon, Olsson, Williamson, O'Sullivan.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone, Dikgacoi (Gunnarsson, 73), Whittingham, Ralls, Pilkington, Mason (Noone, 84), Revell (Jones, 65). Subs Not Used: Moore, Fabio, Ameobi, Doyle.