Cardiff City 2 Derby County 2: Barnes denies Ridsdale a dream start

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The Independent Online

Six years ago Peter Ridsdale's Leeds were beating Milan and Lazio in the Champions' League on their way to the semi-finals. His first match in the same role at Cardiff was never going to feature such glamorous opposition but the least he could have hoped for was a win. That it did not end in defeat was down only to Steve Howard's late miss.

Not that Dave Jones, the Bluebirds' manager saw it that way, dwelling instead on Michael Chopra's misses in the first half, which necessitated a change of boots by the young striker. He did score in the second half, a fine goal which would have been the winner had it not been for Giles Barnes' equaliser in the second minute of injury time.

But Jones was stoic in the face of this draw. The Welshmen have been top of the Championship for some time and their position had been strengthened before kick-off by Preston's defeat on Friday night and West Bromwich Albion's loss to Birmingham City. It was simply up to Jones' men to increase their lead.

The fact that they did so by a point and not three was something Jones wanted to view as a positive. He said: "If we had taken our chances we would have been out of sight. But Derby came to do a job. We pulled them apart and our second goal would have been worthy of any league in the world."

When the first goal came it was from an unexpected source but Cardiff merited their advantage. Seven minutes after the break Phil Parry swung in a corner and Glenn Loovens was allowed to head past Stephen Bywater from eight yards. It was his first goal for the club.

Derby had threatened intermittently to score and Howard was the man to quell the hosts' joy in the 66th minute. Richard Jackson lofted a cross in from the right and Howard used his height advantage to effect.

Chopra finally scored the goal he should have got in the first half. With 16 minutes remaining, Parry's low ball was flicked on by Thompson and Chopra rounded off the best move of the match and had Jones in raptures.

The scene was set for Ridsdale to celebrate Cardiff's first win under his chairmanship. However, Barnes denied him the start he would have loved. He hammered home a shot that flew into the net from a Jackson cross. It was Ridsdale who was cross, more like.

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