Cardiff moved to the top of the Championship table with a 2-1
victory at Oakwell that heaped more misery on struggling
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
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