Cardiff City defeated Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at Cardiff City Stadium to go level on points with third-place Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.
Neil Warnock made four changes to the side that drew with Millwall last time out, with Lee Peltier, Kenneth Zohore, Jamie Ward, and Armand Traoré coming into the starting eleven.
The Bluebirds’ first opportunity came after six minutes, when Callum Paterson had a cheeky, left-footed attempt on goal from the right flank, which Ben Alnwick gathered.
City came close to breaking the deadlock eight minutes later, when Paterson produced a long-throw that Sean Morrison connected with at the back post. Although, Alnwick acrobatically dived to his right to parry wide of goal, and keep the hosts out.
The Bluebirds had another excellent opportunity after 19 minutes. Zohore utilised his strength to hold the ball up in central midfield, before threading a ball through the opposition defence, to send Yanic Wildschut through on goal. However, the ‘keeper rushed off his line, closed the Dutchman down, and denied the Bluebirds an early lead.
Neil Warnock’s men opened the scoring after 34 minutes, with Traoré converting on his home debut. A deflection in the area saw the ball fall to the left-back, who curled a left-footed effort into the right corner from a tight angle.
City almost scored another in quick succession, as Joe Ralls delivered a corner into the six-yard box, and Marko Grujić leapt to head just over - the Serbian international coming close to scoring his first City goal.
After 41 minutes, Zohore sent Wildschut through the Wanderers’ defensive line again. The winger sped down the right before cutting inside the covering defender. The 26-year-old directed a pass towards Paterson on the edge of the area, and the Scotsman smashed a first-time effort agonisingly wide of the right post.
The home side doubled their lead three minutes later, with Morrison scoring on his 150th City appearance. Wildschut won possession, before laying it off for Ralls, and he delivered a high cross for the skipper, who powerfully headed on target. Alnwick parried the first attempt back to him, and the 27-year-old made sure with the follow-up.
After the interval, the Bluebirds came out firing again, and won a free-kick just outside the left edge of the area. Hoilett whipped the set-piece high across the face of goal, and Ecuele Manga met it at the back post, heading onto the crossbar.
City continued to dominate play, although no real opportunities came their way until the 70th minute. Ralls found space in central midfield, and strode forward before shooting from around 25-yards, forcing Alnwick to dive to his left, and make the save.
Two minutes later, Grujić came close to adding a third. The 21-year-old produced a high, curling effort that went agonisingly wide of the right post. That was just before Ralls’ free-kick found its way to Hoilett at the backpost, and his strong strike was pushed over the crossbar by the ‘keeper.
As the game entered its final eight minutes, Hoilett craftily stole the ball and rounded Alnwick on the left flank, before his effort was cleared off the line by a covering defender.
The Bluebirds remained resilient for the remaining minutes, and secured a comfortable home victory over the Trotters. The three points mean that City go level on points with third-place Derby County, whilst also possessing a game in hand.
Cardiff City: Etheridge, Peltier, Morrison, Ecuele Manga, Ralls, Zohore (Pilkington 84’), Paterson, Grujic, J. Ward (Wildschut 13’), Traore, Hoilett (Bamba 87’). Subs not used: Murphy, Bennett, Feeney, Damour.
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Dervite, Beevers, Vela, Le Fondre, Ameobi (Walker 86’), Robinson, Osede (Clough 68’), Morais, Henry, Burke (Wheater 46’). Subs not used: Howard, Little, Taylor, Karacan.