Cardiff 2 Barnsley 0: Chopra chop for Barnsley as Bluebirds fly high again

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The Independent Online

Cardiff moved to within a point of the Coca-Cola Championship automatic promotion places for at least a night as Peter Whittingham and Michael Chopra helped them to a 2-0 win over Barnsley at Ninian Park.

Whittingham's headed goal in the 11th minute and Chopra's excellent whipped free-kick gave Dave Jones' side a half-time lead which never looked in doubt in the 45 minutes which followed.

However, the mood was darkened by what appeared to be serious injuries to Joe Ledley (knee) and his replacement Kevin McNaughton, who lost consciousness and was taken for X-rays after landing on his head.

In the 11th minute the in-form Bluebirds edged ahead through a somewhat fortunate goal by Whittingham.

Chopra did brilliantly to win the ball on the right wing and work his way inside. His shot took a looping deflection off defender Paul Reid which allowed Whittingham at the far post to head home despite Nick Colgan's best efforts to claw the ball away.

City midfielder Paul Parry had produced the most impressive moment of the game to that point by cutting inside before firing narrowly wide and hitting the stanchion.

Barnsley midfielder Sam Togwell saw his shot deflected significantly off Simon Walton in the 27th minute, forcing Neil Alexander to tip the ball round the post.

Ledley was forced off with a knee injury towards half-time and replaced by McNaughton.

Then in-form Chopra, having been fouled cynically by Antony Kay to earn a free-kick, produced a sublime dipping effort from nearly 25 yards out which Colgan got nowhere near to as the Bluebirds doubled their lead with the former Tykes striker's 17th goal of the season.

Having already lost Ledley, his replacement McNaughton spent 10 minutes on the ground in added time with a head injury and followed the Welshman off - and to hospital - to be replaced by Willo Flood in a half which lasted 57 minutes.

It emerged McNaughton had briefly lost consciousness and was sent in an ambulance for precautionary scans.

Barnsley striker Daniel Nardiello fired towards goal from the right but Alexander pounced to fist it away, before Kerrea Gilbert blocked Marc Richards' shot on the rebound.

The visitors continued to drive forward. Richards forced Alexander into another save with a well-struck shot from range before Martin Devaney fired wide.

At the other end Flood missed with a fizzing shot in the 65th minute.

As Cardiff looked to wrap up the victory Parry broke forward on the left, unleashing another shot which failed to find the target in the 85th minute.

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