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).

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash