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).

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea