REPORT: ROTHERHAM 1-3 CARDIFF
A second successful away trip in succession for the Bluebirds, defeating Rotherham United, 3-1, at the New York Stadium.
The hosts began strongly at the New York Stadium and almost capitalised on a defensive error inside the first minute. Matthew Connolly with a rare slip leaving Danny Ward of Rotherham with a clear sight of goal, Ward's first touch took him past David Marshall but was slightly heavy leaving the Bluebirds with a chance to clear their lines. The strong Millers pressure continued and as ten minutes approached, they did manage to hit the back of the net. Former Blackburn forward Matt Derbyshire with a turn and shot inside the area that beat Marshall, but was rightly ruled out by the offside flag.
Russell Slade's men grew into the game after these early attacking threats with forwards Kiko Macheda and Alex Revell combining to earn Cardiff City a corner kick. Macheda with a neat flick on for his strike partner Revell, and the former Rotherham man's cross was diverted wide before Conor McAleny could reach it at the back post. Joe Ralls took responsibility for this set piece, with a superb delivery met by Bruno Ecuele Manga who headed home on 23 minutes much to the delight of the 396 away fans at the New York Stadium. The Bluebirds support weren't made to wait long for a second goal, as Slade's side netted once again three minutes later. Federico Macheda with an accurate finish from an acute angle inside the penalty area for his sixth goal of the campaign.
The home side seemed shell shocked following these two setbacks, while the opposite could be said for Cardiff who were playing confident passing football and were rewarded as such with a third goal on 35 minutes. McAleny and Matty Kennedy caused the Millers trouble all evening and showed how dangerous they could be in a fluid attack. Kennedy impressive down the right side in the build up, with McAleny arriving at the back post to meet the cross, take his time and fire past Collin. A superb first half ended with former home favourite Revell slotting the ball home, only for the offside flag to deny for a second time in the match.
Faint Millers hope
Bluebirds goalkeeper and captain David Marshall was withdrawn at the interval as a precaution, with Simon Moore replacing him for the second half. The Millers also made a change at the break with Adam Hammill coming on to offer width in attack.
The Bluebirds had a good opportunity to extend their lead as loanee McAleny was played through with Collin pulling off a fine double save to deny the young Evertonian and Collin's former teammate Revell in quick succession. The two half time substitutes then collided with 13 minutes remaining, Moore with an outstanding save to stop Hammill's shot from the right side.
The home team did find a way past Moore with nine minutes remaining, as the lively Danny Ward headed home. While this could have brought about a final few minutes of panic, Russell Slade's men regrouped to ensure a confident and deserved victory at the New York Stadium.
FINAL SCORE: ROTHERHAM UNITED 1-3 CARDIFF CITY (Ward, 81) (Ecuele Manga, 23; Macheda, 26; McAleny, 35)
Cardiff City: Marshall (Moore, 45), Peltier, Connolly, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Kennedy, McAleny, Macheda (Doyle, 70), Revell (Jones, 86). Subs Not Used: Fabio, O'Keefe, Harris, Noone.
Rotherham United: Collin, Arnason, Broadfoot, Green, Newton (Hammill, 45), Pringle, Ward, Derbyshire (Sammon, 59), Fryers, Hunt, Smallwood. Subs Not Used: Thompson, Frecklington, Milsom, Richardson, Clarke-Harris.