Cardiff rout Blackburn Rovers to romp away at the top

Blackburn Rovers 1 Cardiff City 4

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Superstition casts a shadow over many football lives to the extent that during his playing days Kenny Dalglish thought it mattered in what order he ate his pre-match milk and plain chocolate biscuits.

The decision by Cardiff City's owners to change their strip from blue to red was therefore as significant as if the government had ordered a cull of the ravens at the Tower of London.

This was Cardiff's 14th win of the season and all but one have come in red. The latest lifted them four points clear of Crystal Palace at the top of the Championship and suggested that Malky Mackay's side possess a momentum that would take some stopping.

Their progress was halted for five minutes by a Blackburn side that was humiliated on its own ground. Once Josh King, the epitome of a young, modern footballer – born in Oslo, signed up by Manchester United, loaned out to Borussia Monchengladbach – had equalised beautifully, one wondered how Cardiff might respond. By the end with, first, Joe Mason and then Kim Bo-kyung walking through a disintegrating Blackburn defence, the result was a rout.

The critical goal was the second. It arrived after the ball was flicked between the heads of Craig Bellamy and Heidar Helguson before the Welshman smashed it into the net behind which were draped five of his nation's flags.

There were to be more scares before the points were taken back across the border, notably when Mauro Formica, who with the goal gaping, somehow managed to strike the crossbar. It was the same bar that Bellamy, his arms pumping in a way Ewood would have remembered from his days under Mark Hughes, had hit earlier.

By then, Cardiff were already a goal up thanks to a header from Mark Hudson, a defender whom the Rovers manager Henning Berg thought lucky to stay on the pitch when he appeared to bring down Jordan Rhodes.

But in the end Berg was left to reflect on his eighth match in charge from which his return has been half a point per game. Just as crucially, he has failed to staunch the haemorrhaging of attendances at Ewood Park. This crowd – 12,460 – was the lowest since before Dalglish began Blackburn's great revival, but those few who remained certainly knew how to boo.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-1-1): Robinson; Henley, Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson; Formica (Nunes, 70), Etuhu (Rochina, 81), Lowe, Markus Olsson (Kazim-Richards, h-t); King, Rhodes. Substitutes not used: Kean (gk), Givet, Nunes, Pedersen, Rochina. Vukcevic.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Connolly, Hudson, Turner, Taylor; Noone (Kim, 69), Whittingham, Cowie, Conway; Bellamy (Mason, 80), Helguson. Substitutes not used: Lewis (gk), McNaughton, Kim Bo-kyung, Gestede, Gunnarsson, Mason, Lappin.

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire)