Cardiff cash in on Davies' dodgy week

Cardiff City 1 Birmingham City 0

Cardiff City Stadium

It's fair to say Curtis Davies has experienced better weeks. It was the central defender's outrageous deflection on Wednesday which left Birmingham on the brink in Europe and it was his red card yesterday which ultimately handed victory to Cardiff. One moment can be put down to misfortune, the other to plain clumsiness.

Chris Hughton certainly wasn't best pleased as he saw his side concede their fifth defeat in the Championship to drop to 14th in the table. Somewhat inevitably he sought to deflect the criticism despite the replays showing Davies was indeed culpable of bringing down the ever more impressive Kenny Miller as the last defender.

"I think there was enough doubt on the incident that you don't give a red card," he said. "Curtis got up knowing he had touched the ball. The game hinged on that."

The upshot is that Cardiff, the form horses of the League, are sitting so pretty in third, three points off the automatic spots following a weekend which saw the top sides both lose and with a Carling Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace awaiting. Any foreboding at the start of the season has been blown away in a gale of optimism whisked up by Malky Mackay's overhaul.

In the eight League games since losing by the odd goal in seven at Peterborough in mid October (when they fell as low as 12th), Cardiff have won six and drawn two – and this spell includes two Carling Cup wins. There isn't the panache of Bellamy, Bothroyd and co of last season, but, unarguably, there is a greater team and work ethic. The one concern for Mackay must be the depth of his squad. He lost Andrew Taylor and Stephen McPhail in the build-up, before kick-off and then saw Filip Kiss, Anthony Gerrard and Aaron Gunnarsson limp off with injuries.

In truth, there hadn't been much in a game of few chances, which some purists would call "intriguing", but everyone else would refer to as "deadly dull". It was definitely a day to be a defender until Davies struck in the 62nd minute. At least his influence on the loss to Braga at St Andrews was unfortunate (unwittingly redirecting a weak, long-range Hugo Viana effort past Boaz Myhill). Andrew Taylor was obliged to show him a straight red for his clumsy challenge on Miller, running into the area. "It was absolutely crystal clear," said Mackay.

Everything was connected in this scenario. Peter Whittingham thundered the resulting free-kick against the inside of the post and although it somehow stayed out, so the momentum built. In fact, Birmingham survived just six minutes with 10 men. Hughton was forced into a hasty rejig, bringing off the target man Nikola Zigic for another defender in Pablo Ibanez.

One of the Spaniard's first acts was to make a howler of a clearance which set up Miller to smash home his seventh of the season. The culpability of Ibanez apart, it was all traceable back to the error of Davies, who was on a yellow anyway.

Only the post stopped Cardiff winning by more, with another superlative Whittingham drive locating wood instead of the net.

Cardiff City (4-5-1): Marshall; McNaughton, Gerrard (Hudson, 54), Turner, Naylor; Conway, Kiss (Mason, 66), Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Ralls, 48), Cowie; Miller. Substitutes not used: Heaton (gk), Earnshaw.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Myhill; Carr, Caldwell, Davies, Murphy; Burke, Fahey, Spector (Wood, 75), Beausejour (Elliott, 71); King, Zigic (Ibanez, 64). Substitutes not used: Doyle (gk), N'Daw.

Referee: A Taylor (Cheshire).

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
film
News
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
PEOPLE
Arts and Entertainment
Kermit and his doppleganger Hyalinobatrachium dianae
film
Sport
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
All the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions