The Bluebirds shared the points in an action-packed encounter with Rotherham United, as Anthony Pilkington netted twice for City in a 2-2 draw.
CITY IN CONTROL
City came out of the traps the faster of the two teams, winning a couple of early corners and keeping the play in United’s end of the pitch. Cardiff were clearly on top for the opening twenty minutes, despite not yet fashioning a clear-cut chance.
Half way through the first period, Joe Mason had a great opportunity to open the scoring. Peter Whittingham lofted forward a pin-point ball which was expertly flicked on by Anthony Pilkington into the path of Mason. However, the young striker could only stab his attempt inches wide of the post. Seconds later, City went even closer, Pilkington caught the Millers defence on the back foot but could only fire straight at Lee Camp in the Rotherham goal.
Cardiff’s pressure finally told moments later, when the heavily involved Pilkington latched onto the ball in the box before side-footing a shot that ricocheted off the inside of the post before nesting in the back of the net. While Cardiff, and Pilkington in particular, were enjoying their afternoon, there were signs that the Millers were growing into the contest. They had forced a couple of corners at CCS, and former City favourite Chris Burke was looking lively.
MILLERS DRAW LEVEL
Despite City looking relatively comfortable, just before half time, the opposition got back into the game. The ball was played through to Joe Newell just inside the Bluebirds penalty area, and the midfielder controlled the ball well before rounding David Marshall and slotting the ball past the despairing lunges of the City defence.
The second half began and City were looking to reassert their dominance. However, the Millers then won a corner and were able to take it whilst City centre-back Matt Connolly was receiving treatment on the side of the pitch. The ball was whipped in and unfortunately cannoned off Pilkington into the top corner. This was particular harsh on the winger, given the quality of his performance throughout the match.
United had their tails up now and were looking to add to their tally, Danny Ward fed Chris Burke who fired a low drive that forced a smart save from Marshall.
BLUEBIRDS REGAIN MOMENTUM
City had recovered from going a goal down and were gradually playing their way back into contention in and around the Rotherham penalty area. They got their reward around the hour mark, Pilkington was played through, following some good work from substitute Lex Immers, before delicately lofting the ball over Lee Camp and bringing the scores all square.
Immers was having an immediate impact on his debut and very nearly opened his Bluebirds account five minutes after coming on. Pilkington was once again involved as he played a deft reverse pass to set the Dutchman bearing down on goal, however his attempt was blocked thanks to a desperate lunge. Peter Whittingham then sent in a delicious curling ball that found the head of Lee Peltier, but unfortunately the full back could only power his header inches wide of the post.
The Bluebirds thought they had earned an opportunity to get back into the game, when Pilkington looked to have been brought down following a superb turn. The referee, however, showed the winger a yellow card for simulation.
City were still searching for a decisive strike, but their momentum was curtailed somewhat as Lee Peltier was dismissed for a second yellow late on, before the full-time whistle blew, with the score 2-2.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2-2 ROTHERHAM UNITED
Scorers: Pilkington 25’, Newell 44’, Pilkington (OG) ’49, Pilkington 60’
Cardiff City: Marshall, Peltier, Malone, Manga, Connolly, Noone (Fábio 85), O’Keefe, Ralls, Whittingham (Ameobi 76’), Pilkington, Mason (Immers, 59’)
Subs not used: Moore, Dikgacoi, Gunnarsson, Macheda.
Rotherham United: Camp, Facey, Broadfoot, Belaid (Collins 85’), Mattock, G Ward, Smallwood, Newell (Becchio 67’), Burke, Green, D Ward (Clarke-Harris 79’)
Subs not used: Cairns, Richardson, Rawson, Derbyshire.