"Chelsea, Chelsea, here we come," chanted a jubilant, capacity crowd at Ninian Park as Cardiff tightened their grip on the Championship's top spot. This was an impressively fashioned win, only marginally diminished by the red card shown to the Wolves defender Gary Breen for a forearm smash on Steve Thompson midway through the first half.
"A great victory for us," Car-diff's manager, Dave Jones, called it, while welcoming the imminent international break because of injuries and the smallness of his squad. Even with tough fixtures coming up, Cardiff have laid down a strong marker when you take into account that Wolves had conceded only six goals until this game.
Cardiff had been building for this resounding success, having gathered 10 goals and seven points from their three previous matches. Mick McCarthy had clearly devised a plan for his Wolves team, an attacking one, and with their flying wingers Jemal Johnson and Rohan Ricketts looking dangerous, Cardiff suffered early anxious moments.
"They were crawling all over us, they had set their stall out," said Jones. "We had to work hard for this win, we had to be patient." The need for patience diminished with the dismissal of Breen, though. Thompson was certainly guilty of backing in, but the arm into the face he received was excessively foolish retaliation. Breen sought, and received, a handshake from Thompson, who appealed to the referee, Pat Miller, on Breen's behalf and later admitted his own foul.
For his actions, Thompson received McCarthy's thanks. "I have admiration for him," he said. "There are too many arse-holes diving and going down like dying swans."
Strangely opting to continue with three at the back, Wolves suffered bookings to Johnson and the Nigeria midfielder Seyi Olofinjana but looked capable of holding out until Matt Murray needlessly conceded a corner. This was taken from the right by the excellent Paul Parry and aimed to the far post, where Ricardo Scimeca soared above everyone to score with a fine, downward header.
It did not take Cardiff long to cement this lead in the second half. Darren Potter gave the ball away near the halfway line and Joe Ledley sent Parry racing down the left for a perfectly delivered cross which Jody Craddock turned into his own net, the ball just evading the flailing lunge of Murray.
Wolves removed their wingers and beefed up the midfield, to little evident improvement. Urged on by a crowd who sense a return to better days, Cardiff rampaged, with their top scorer, Michael Chopra, several times being unlucky not to add to the six goals he has already clocked up this season.
A third arrived after 70 minutes. The right-back Kerrea Gilbert slid an inviting ball through the centre of Wolves' defence for Malvin Kamara, a first-half substitute for Kevin McNaughton, to shoot home.
Wolves kept plugging away, and came close to reward until Neil Alexander produced a stunning save to deny Olofinjana's clever lob. Immediately, fighting erupted behind that goal as visiting fans responded to ceaseless goading. Order was eventually restored by a battalion of helmeted riot police.
However, there was no calming Cardiff, and they added a fourth with 11 minutes left. Parry, whose left foot had done such fine work, employed his right for a change to strike an excellent shot past Murray before being taken off with Wales's upcoming internationals in mind.Reuse content