Hudson's late strike spares red faces at Cardiff
Cardiff City 1 Huddersfield Town 0
Cardiff City Stadium
Saturday 18 August 2012
Mark Hudson's injury-time winner handed Cardiff a dramatic opening-night Championship win over newly-promoted Huddersfield Town. The club captain slammed the ball home from close range in front of the Welsh side's Malaysian investors, chairman Dato Chan Tien Ghee and billionaire businessman Vincent Tan.
Before kick-off a minority of Cardiff fans unfurled a banner reading "We bleed blue" to vent their feelings at the club owners' controversial summer decision to ditch their traditional blue colours, worn for 104 years.
However after the game manager Malky Mackay backed them to the hilt. He said: "The owners have been great. There was about 25 of their family over from Malaysia and it's important.
"It was the first game of the season, we've had all the ins and outs of the red shirt, but the owner has made a statement by coming over.
"They are doing an awful lot for the football club. [Vincent] has put £10 million investment into a new training ground.They were here tonight to support his football team and I'm just delighted we gave them that little present in the last minute."
City, with Craig Bellamy in their ranks for a second time, looked set to start the new campaign with a frustrating stalemate before Hudson shot past Alex Smithies from six yards in the first minute of added time.
Bellamy, now 33, who moved on a free from Liverpool only last week, saw goalkeeper David Marshall pull off a string of fine saves. But the late winner was tough on Huddersfield – minus in-demand striker Jordon Rhodes who was ruled out with a hamstring injury – as they looked the better side and deserved at least a point.
Simon Grayson, the Huddersfield manager, said: "It's very cruel to lose in the 90th minute. We're all disappointed, but if we perform like that for the rest of the season then we'll be fine. We frustrated Cardiff, but we had some great opportunities to win the game."
Mackay has been busy in the summer transfer market, making six signings, and three of those were drafted straight into his starting line-up in the form of veteran striker Heidar Helguson, England Under-21 international Jordon Mutch and Bellamy.
But it was Huddersfield who began the sharper and stronger. In fact, Cardiff needed Marshall's agility to keep them level early on with the Scotland goalkeeper twice beating away long-range efforts from Scot Arfield and Oliver Norwood.
Yet Cardiff almost took the lead on half-time: Peter Whittingham's deep corner was headed back across goal by Ben Turner and Helguson rose highest – but the ball cannoned off the bar.
Cardiff City (4-5-1): Marshall; McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor; Cowie (Mason, 79), Gunnarsson, Whittingham, Mutch (Kiss, 85), Bellamy; Helguson. Substitutes not used: Lewis (gk), Velikonja, Earnshaw, Conway, Blake.
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