Ardley's strike keeps Cardiff's hopes alive

Leicester City 1 - Cardiff City 1
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The Independent Football

Cardiff gave themselves a glimpse of survival in the Championship by snatching a precious point at the Walkers Stadium last night to leave Leicester still with work to do before they can rest easy about which division they are in next season.

Cardiff gave themselves a glimpse of survival in the Championship by snatching a precious point at the Walkers Stadium last night to leave Leicester still with work to do before they can rest easy about which division they are in next season.

The home side threatened to overwhelm Lennie Lawrence's team in a one-sided first half, going ahead through David Connolly after the Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Alexander had kept his side in the match with a string of saves. But the veteran Neal Ardley scored the vital equaliser in the second half and Cardiff finished in the ascendancy after Leicester had Nikos Dabizas sent off for a second yellow card 10 minutes from time.

Leicester began with conviction. Ian Walker was the first goalkeeper in action, tipping Peter Thorne's shot against a post, but his opposite number, Alexander, came to Cardiff's rescue three times in the first 23 minutes. He ensured that strikes by Danny Tiatto and Connolly earned only corners and blocked with his feet from Stephen Hughes.

Leicester's reward came after 32 minutes, Connolly pouncing to score his 11th goal of the season. There was a touch of good fortune, Darren Kenton's shot running kindly for the forward after striking a Cardiff defender, but the finish had too much power for Alexander.

Despite the urgency of their predicament, Cardiff had offered little to suggest they could make amends for the heavy defeat suffered at Preston last Saturday. But 12 minutes into the second half Leicester's comfort was suddenly disturbed by an equaliser from the experienced boot of the former Wimbledon winger Ardley.

Leicester invited trouble when Hughes conceded a free kick inside the D of the penalty area for a foul on Richard Langley. Despite a well populated wall, Ardley applied enough dip and bend to his free-kick to hit the net with Walker rooted in the middle of his goal-line.

The goal raised the hope of a precious point for the Welsh side and left Leicester with still something to do to secure only a seventh win in 23 home games this season, although Dion Dublin went close to restoring their lead with a header that hit the Cardiff bar.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Walker; Kenton Stearman, 82), McCarthy, Dabizas, Maybury; Hughes (Gillespie, 86), G Williams, Nalis, Tiatto; Connolly (De Vries, 89), Dublin. Substitutes not used: Moore, Herschel (gk).

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Alexander; Vidmar, Collins, Gabbidon, Barker; Ardley (Ledley, 90), Langley, Boland, McAnuff; Thorne, Jerome (Lee, 63). Substitutes not used: Margetson (gk), Parry, D Williams.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).

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