REPORT: NORWICH 3-2 CARDIFF
Despite a valiant second half, the Bluebirds were defeated 3-2 by Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Russell Slade made just one change to his side for the trip to Carrow Road with Alex Revell coming in for the injured Kenwyne Jones, Revell making his full Cardiff City debut in Norfolk.
Simon Moore contained to deputise in between the sticks with this match coming too soon for skipper David Marshall, and Moore was called into action after nine minutes making a full length diving save to deny Gary Hooper's curled effort from the edge of the area. It was soon opposing keeper Ruddy's turn to react as Peter Whittingham tried his luck with a free kick from the edge of the area with John Ruddy pushing the set piece wide of goal. An end-to-end match in the opening moments with both teams looking to attack, the first goal came on fifteen minutes with the hosts happily celebrating. Former Bluebird Cameron Jerome heading the ball to the back post for strike partner Hooper to divert in.
Goal! Norwich City 1-0 Cardiff City (Gary Hooper, 15 mins)
The Bluebirds came close to levelling within five minutes as another Whittingham set piece caused chaos in the Norwich penalty area. The City number seven's corner kick was met by Sean Morrison, Cameron Jerome clearing off the line for the hosts. Some neat innovation from Adam Le Fondre saw the striker back heel into the path of Ben Turner but the towering defender was unable to divert the ball goal wards. This chance became ever more important on 25 minutes as the Canaries doubled the lead.
The ball fell to forward Kyle Lafferty on the edge of the area, with the former Palermo man picking his spot with a curled effort that evaded Moore's dive, hitting the back of the net off the inside of the post. It was Lafferty's first ever goal for Norwich City.
Goal! Norwich City 2-0 Cardiff City (Kyle Lafferty, 25 mins)
Cardiff had a superb opportunity of getting back into the match within a minute as Adam Le Fondre was fouled in the penalty area by former Villa defender Carlos Cuellar. Peter Whittingham recently celebrated eight years as a Bluebird, but he was unable to celebrate it with a converted spot kick as John Ruddy pulled off a wonderful save to his left to dent City's hopes.
Russell Slade's side attempted to fight their way back into it and almost halved the deficit on 41 minutes. Fine work from Whittingham and Le Fondre in the build up helped to release Scott Malone down the left side, the full back cutting in field for Alex Revell but the new forward struck over the bar under pressure from Ruddy and Martin.
Cameron Jerome ensured the home side went in at the break with a commanding lead in added time at the end of the first period with a close range volley to leave the Bluebirds with a herculean uphill battle.
Goal! Norwich City 3-0 Cardiff City (Cameron Jerome, 45 mins)
HALF-TIME: NORWICH CITY 3-0 CARDIFF CITY
The home side could have added a fourth goal on 54 minutes as dangerous wide midfielder Nathan Redmond broke through down the right side. His effort beating Moore but cannoning out off the crossbar. The Canaries need for another goal became even more important as the Bluebirds cut the deficit to just one inside a three minute spell in Norfolk.
Cardiff City's first goal of the match came via new signing Alex Revell, the striker meeting Whittingham's cross with a deft touch to give Russell Slade's side hope of a comeback.
GOAL!!! Norwich City 3-1 Cardiff City (Alex Revell, 61 mins)
The positive vibes ran throughout the Cardiff City team following this goal, and within three minutes there was only a single goal separating the teams once more as substitute Kadeem Harris composedly lifted the ball beyond Ruddy six minutes after entering the field of play.
GOAL!!! Norwich City 3-2 Cardiff City (Kadeem Harris, 64 mins)
It continued to be an end-to-end game with both Norwich and the Bluebirds aiming to score what could have been a crucial sixth goal, Tom Adeyemi created an opportunity on 75 minutes with a strong run against his former club but could only fire his effort from 18 yards just wide of goal.
Whittingham and Revell linked impressively for the first Cardiff goal, and that combination almost worked once again on 80 minutes with Revell rising highest to head the ball just inches wide. Despite a valiant second half performance, the comeback came slightly too late as the hosts secured all three points, keeping the ball well in the final few moments to quell the City threat.
FULL TIME: NORWICH CITY 3-2 CARDIFF CITY
Norwich City: Ruddy, Cuellar, Turner, Martin, Olsson, Johnson, O'Neil, Redmond, Jerome (Grabban, 89), Hooper (Hoolahan, 70), Lafferty (Murphy, 73). Subs Not Used: Rudd, Whittaker, Hooiveld, McGrandles.
Cardiff City: Moore, Brayford, Malone (John, 66), Turner, Morrison, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Adeyemi (Ralls, 89), Noone, Revell, Le Fondre (Harris, 57). Subs Not Used: Wilson, Fabio, Connolly, Macheda.