Cardiff tighten title grip as Mason delivers historic win
Birmingham City 0 Cardiff City 1
Tuesday 01 January 2013
Cardiff extended their lead to seven points at the top of the Championship table with their first victory at Birmingham in 46 years.
Recalled striker Joe Mason scored the only goal of the game in the 41st minute, following up from close range after Jack Butland's parried save from Craig Conway had taken a fortuitous bounce.
Cardiff, now with nine wins in their last 11 games, entered the new year holding a five-point advantage at the summit and knowing the team leading the pile at the same stage in each of the last seven seasons has been promoted.
"It has been a tough period but we have momentum and consistency," said manager Malky Mackay.
"To come away with the 10th clean sheet for the season was outstanding and we were very comfortable in the second half."
Despite a creditable performance from Birmingham, they have won just twice in their last 11 games and are four points above the relegation zone with big names in danger of being sold to ease the club's financial struggles.
The hosts started with no out-and-out striker on the pitch due to severe injury and suspension problems which worsened in the pre-match warm-up when midfielder Hayden Mullins pulled out.
The opening quarter was lively, Birmingham's Nathan Redmond testing David Marshall from the edge of the penalty area in the 20th minute.
Yet further injury misery arrived for Birmingham manager Lee Clark just after the half-hour mark as Callum Reilly, a late replacement for Mullins, was also forced off. The move disrupted the team's rhythm, and Cardiff took the lead in the 41st minute.
Conway's strike from long range was parried downwards by Butland and the ball took an unfortunate bounce off his arm before Mason tapped in. Clark said: "We deserved something from the game. The goal we gave away was very unfortunate. It is horrible all the performances were very good, against a team which is going to get promoted.
"The only point I made to the players was that in the second half we didn't pull the trigger as we tried to walk the ball into the net."
Birmingham City Butland, Packwood (Hancox, 77), Caldwell, Davies, Robinson, Hall, Spector, Reilly (Gomis, 32), Elliott (Jervis, 70), Redmond, Morrison. Substitutes not used Doyle, Ibanez, Burke, Gomis, Jervis, Henry-Francis.
Cardiff City Marshall, Connolly, Hudson, Turner, Lappin, Conway, Gunnarsson, Mutch (Cowie, 51), Kim (Noone, 67), Mason (Gestede, 70), Bellamy. Substitutes not used Lewis, McNaughton, Ralls, Helguson.
Referee R Madley (West Yorkshire).
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Arsene Wenger 18th anniversary at Arsenal: His WORST signings XI during his time with the Gunners
18 things Wenger has still never done at Arsenal
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
FC Basel vs Liverpool: Champions League match preview
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol