Carson shown red for headbutt as Albion are sent crashing

West Bromwich 0 Cardiff City 2
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This was a good result for Newcastle United, who go to Coventry this evening with a four-point advantage and a game in hand at the top of the Championship after Cardiff City ended a six-match unbeaten run for Roberto di Matteo's side, who will also have to manage for a while without their goalkeeper Scott Carson, who was sent off for a violent attack on Cardiff's Michael Chopra eight minutes from the end.

Carson will be suspended for three matches after headbutting Chopra in a what appeared to be an angry reaction to a challenge by the striker. The referee Paul Taylor gave the visitors a penalty, even though play had moved to the other end of the field by the time the offence took place, and had no option but to produce the red card.

Di Matteo missed the incident but confirmed that Carson, the team captain, would face disciplinary action by the club. "I did not see what was happening, the game was being developed in the middle of the pitch, but if that is what happened, yes he will," he said. "It is disappointing and would be from any player, captain or not, because we will lose him for three matches. I haven't spoke to him about it yet, I need to see first what happened, then I will have a conversation with him."

In a further twist, substitute goalkeeper Dean Kiely's first action was to save Peter Whittingham's spot-kick, but the rebound ran kindly for the Cardiff winger who tucked it away for his 14th goal of the season as Cardiff moved up to third place.

Chris Burke had put them ahead before half-time and the points were well deserved after the home side, the highest scorers in the division, created few clear chances and lacked quality in the finish.

"The penalty took the pressure off us because we had been in a rearguard action," said the Cardiff manager, Dave Jones. "But we had frustrated them and not let them get in behind us. We caught them on the hop a bit in the first half and might have scored more goals. In the second half we knew we were going to have tired players, with some who have been out a long time. I felt they were always concerned that we would break on them and they didn't commit as many players forward."

Jones, who had the on-loan Manchester City forward Kelvin Etuhu making his first Championship start in place of the suspended Jay Bothroyd, and Gavin Rae deputising for the injured Joe Ledley in midfield, had hinted at a conservative approach but Cardiff instead attacked from the outset.

Their reward came in the 18th minute, after an opening spell in which Carson had tipped a rising drive from Rae over the bar. When Burke, covering considerable ground in a right-to-left diagonal run, unleashed a left-foot shot from just outside the 18-yard box, he was well beaten.

Albion's best chance to draw level came early in the second half, when Graham Dorrans found himself in space on the left. But he dragged his shot across goal and wide. At only a goal down, Albion might still have salvaged a point but that chance disappeared with Carson's rush of blood which gave the visitors their first victory at The Hawthorns since 1957.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Cech (Kiely (gk), 83); Brunt, Mulumbu (Teixeira, 36), Jara, Dorrans; Cox, Bednar. Sustitutes not used: Mattock, Wood, Reid, Martis, Thorne.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Quinn, Hudson, Gerrard, McNaughton (Kennedy, 84); Burke, Scimeca (Wildig, h-t), Rae, Whittingham; Etuhu (McCormack, 58), Chopra. Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Taiwo, Matthews, Magennis.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).