Cardiff City 2 Bristol City 1: Whittingham trips up Bristol on the rebound

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There's no "big four", no leagues within a league and Grand Slam weekend is when none of the pacesetters foul up ... a Championship celebrated for its evenness but vilified for its quality continues to enthral and bemuse.

The leading quartet just infiltrated by Hull City have managed three victories between them in 26 League games, with Bristol City's stumble the most pronounced, winless as they are in five after a heated derby that brought Cardiff City ascendancy as sole weekend winners among the FA Cup semi-finalists.

Defeat leaves Bristol with six matches to secure the five victories Gary Johnson believes they need for automatic promotion. That now looks a little further off, as the pitch soon will to the manager unless he escapes a touchline ban after being banished for knocking the ball out of the fourth official's hands in his haste to get a late throw-in taken.

Cardiff's manager, Dave Jones, accused by his opposite number of being too friendly with the technical area sentry, has offered £1 towards Johnson's likely fine. The two are good friends and their sides played in commendable spirit, given the incessant vitriol from the stands.

Lee Trundle bore the brunt after he displayed an anti-Cardiff flag at Swansea City's Football League Trophy final win in the city two years ago and there was an ugly skirmish near the end among visiting fans.

They could not have known that Steve Brooker was marginally offside when heading Bristol into what would have been a 78th-minute lead. Within 60 seconds, Stephen McPhail was floored by Marvin Elliott and Adriano Basso's fine spot-kick save from Peter Whittingham was in vain as the rebound sat up kindly for the taker.

Cardiff remain play-off contenders. as they prepare for their semi-final. "The Cup is nice but I want to get out of this division," said Roger Johnson, who put them ahead only for Dele Adebola to level briefly with a header. "We're all focused on the two games we have before the semi-final."

Goals: Johnson (43) 1-0; Adebola (73) 1-1; Whittingham (79) 2-1.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Enckelman; Blake, Loovens, Johnson, Capaldi; Whittingham (Ramsey, 80), Rae, McPhail, Ledley; Thompson, Parry. Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), Purse, Feeney, Sinclair.

Bristol City (4-4-2): Basso; Orr, Carey, asko (Fontaine, h-t), McAllister; Sproule (Brooker, 69), Carle (Skuse, 73), Elliott, McIndoe; Adebola, Trundle. Substitutes not used: Weale (gk), Byfield.

Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).

Booked: Cardiff Thompson; Bristol Orr.

Sent off: Johnson (82).

Man of the match: McPhail.

Attendance: 16,458.