The Bluebirds overcame promotion rivals Brentford in dramatic fashion, Kenwyne Jones’ late strike proving the difference between the teams in a 3-2 victory.
CITY SEIZE CONTROL
The opening exchanges took place mainly in the Brentford half, with Cardiff earning two opportunities in quick succession. First, Anthony Pilkington’s looping header agonizingly clipped the top of the cross bar. This was followed shortly after by a rapid Bluebird’s counter attack where Craig Noone couldn’t quite find a blue shirt when he was driving towards the opposition penalty area.
Brentford tried to seize the initiative and soon had their first chance of the game. Alan Judge controlled the ball well before making a surging run through the middle, only to see his vicious drive bravely blocked by Matt Connolly.
Just before the midway point in the first half, some good work from Lee Peltier resulted in a throw in for City in the final third. The full back found Craig Noone who fired a dangerous ball goalwards that the defence failed to deal with. Following the uncertainty, Tony Watt was in the right place at the right time to stroke the ball in, much to the delight of the Cardiff faithful.
Then came the moment where City firmly put themselves in the driving seat. Tony Watt received the ball from Pilkington just past the half way line. He got his head up and ran at the space in front of him, effortlessly gliding past defender Jack O’Connell before squaring the ball to strike partner Jones. The forward only had the 'keeper to beat but saw his initial shot well saved by Button. However, Jones was alert enough to follow in for the rebound and prodded home to make it 2-0 to the Bluebirds.
CHANCES BOTH WAYS
The second half began in similar fashion as City looked to add to their lead, Kenwyne Jones headed wide from an expert Joe Ralls corner. Ralls was heavily involved in proceedings throughout the game and his excellent control led to some smart interplay with Watt before he fired a volley just past the post, much to the relief of ‘keeper Button.
Watt was next to go close, shifting the ball out of the reach of the defender, the Scot fired a venomous shot that required an acrobatic save from Button to keep the score at 2-0.
However, with an hour gone, the Bees were beginning to make increasingly regular trips into the final third though, as they began to worry City's back-line and carve out opportunities.
BEES STRIKE BACK, BEFORE CITY GET THE LAST WORD
With twenty minutes to go, Brentford grabbed a lifeline. A timely tackle from Peltier resulted in a corner for Brentford. Alan Judge sent the ball into the area where Brentford skipper, Jake Bidwell, rose highest to head past David Marshall.
The Bluebirds appeared rocked by conceding and were soon in danger of shipping a second in quick succession. Vibe was played through and bearing down on goal, thankfully for City, Connolly recovered expertly to nick the ball off the striker’s toe, just as he was about to pull the trigger. Cardiff were finding it difficult to get out of their own half and Brentford had a succession of corners where Judge’s dangerous delivery was causing the home side problems.
Brentford kept up their pressure and eventually got their reward. A strike from the the edge of the area was well saved by Marshall, but the rebound fell into the path of midfielder Jon Swift who made no mistake with his finish from close range to level the match.
The seconds were ticking down now and it appeared that City would have to settle for a draw. Kenwyne Jones, however, had other ideas. Strong work down the left flank by Fábio presented the big striker with a chance to grab all three points, he duly obliged finding the bottom corner to send the Bluebirds faithful wild.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3-2 BRENTFORD
Scorers: Watt, ‘20, Jones ’34, Bidwell ’69, Swift ’86, Jones ‘90+3
Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier, Fabio, Morrison, Connolly, Gunnarsson, Ralls Pilkington (Malone ’86), Noone (Ameobi ’89), Jones, Watt (Mason ’68).
Subs not used: Moore, Manga, Whittingham, O’Keefe,
Brentford: Button, Yennaris, Tarkowski, O’Connell, Bidwell, Woods, Diagouraga (Jota ‘62), Swift, Judge, Kerschbaumer (McEachran ‘62), Vibe (Hofmann ’79)
Subs not used: Bonham, Colin, Dean, Saunders.