Cardiff claim win at Barnsley

Cardiff moved to the top of the Championship table with a 2-1

victory at Oakwell that heaped more misery on struggling

Barnsley.

Cardiff, who went to the summit after Crystal Palace failed to

win at Leeds, controlled the majority of play and took the lead

when Ben Nugent headed home his first career goal in the 22nd

minute.

They doubled their lead six minutes into the second half when

they enjoyed more success at a set-piece, with Aron Gunnarsson

nodding in another Peter Whittingham delivery.

The win, which came despite a late dismissal for Simon Lappin,

ended Cardiff’s poor away run. It was their first victory in seven

games on the road and an automatic promotion challenge looks on the

cards for Malky Mackay’s side.

In contrast, things could not be going worse for Barnsley,

though they did at least make a game of it when Jacob Mellis tucked

home from close range in the final 15 minutes. But they are now

winless in seven and without a home win since September 1, with a

gloomy winter beckoning at Oakwell.

The Reds started well, with Jonathan Greening’s intricate

passing fitting in with their style and he was involved in a nice

move that saw Scott Golbourne cross for Craig Davies, but the

striker fired over from eight yards.

After a spell of three chances in two minutes, the visitors went

ahead midway through the first half. First Greening was

dispossessed in a dangerous position by Craig Noone, but his shot

went just wide of the post and a minute later Joe Mason was set

free only to be denied by a fingertip save from Luke Steele.

But from the resulting corner, Nugent got in front of his marker

and powered Whittingham’s delivery home.

Barnsley tried to respond before the break, but Matt Done

mis-kicked his shot when picked out by Marcus Tudgay and then David

Marshall produced a fine low save from Davies’ fierce effort from

just inside the 18-yard box.

In the second half, Martin Cranie was caught dawdling on the

ball in his own area, Mason stole it off him and pulled it back to

Heidar Helguson, but Steele somehow pulled off a miraculous save as

he flung himself across goal.

But Steele’s heroics were in vain as an unmarked Gunnarsson

headed home the corner to give Mackay’s side breathing space.

It could have got worse had Steele not kept out Rudy Gestede’s

palm-stinger and Kim Bo-kyung dragged the rebound wide.

Barnsley did at least make a game of it when Mellis converted

Scott Wiseman’s deep cross in the 76th minute, but, despite Cardiff

going down to 10 men and a late flurry, they could not find a

leveller.