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Football League

Peter Whittingham hat-trick against Wolves gives Cardiff reasons to be hopeful

Cardiff City 3 Wolves 1

Peter Whittingham scored a hat-trick to give Cardiff their first Championship victory since the opening day of the season.

Bakary Sako's free-kick put Wolves ahead after 10 minutes but Whittingham brought Cardiff level a minute later from the penalty spot.

He then scored his second shortly afterwards from the edge of the box to give the hosts the lead after 14 minutes, before completing his hat-trick in the 65th minute with a free-kick.

New signings Nicky Maynard and Craig Noone made their Cardiff debuts on an afternoon that indicated the Welsh club could be in for a successful season. They replaced Don Cowie and Aron Gunnarsson in the starting XI as Malky Mackay's side lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Another recent arrival, Tommy Smith, made his first home start.

Cardiff created the first chance as Noone's piledriver was palmed upwards by goalkeeper Carl Ikeme after Wolves failed to clear a Whittingham corner.

Sako deceived Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall with a curling free-kick to put Wolves in front after Whittingham pushed over Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in the inside-right position.

But the hosts were immediately level. Ronald Zubar was off balance and left a leg dangling for Noone to fall over. It was a clear penalty and Whittingham calmly stroked his kick low down the middle as Ikeme dived to his right.

Whittingham then struck from 20 yards as Cardiff completed a quick turnaround after falling behind. Only a fine fingertip save from Ikeme denied Whittingham his hat-trick early in the second half.

Wolves should have equalised when Zubar climbed highest to reach Stephen Ward's cross but he headed over the crossbar.

Whittingham made them pay, sending his free-kick into the top left-hand corner after Noone was fouled by Tongo Doumbia on the edge of the box.

Heidar Helguson, Smith and substitute Don Cowie all threatened to extend Cardiff's advantage, but were unable to add a fourth.

It mattered little, though, as Wolves, who remain in the bottom six of the table, were thoroughly disappointing and created little else. Goalscorer Sako had a late effort from just inside the area blocked by Matthew Connolly, but that was as good as it got.

Cardiff: (4-4-2) Marshall; McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Connolly; Whittingham, Smith, Noone (Cowie, 74), Mutch (Gunnarsson, 59); Helguson, Maynard (Mason, 68). Substitutes not used Lewis (gk), Velikonja, Kim, Nugent.

Wolves (4-4-2): Ikeme; Zubar (Stearman, 73), Johnson, Berra, Ward; Edwards (Nouble, 73), Peszko (Forde, 83), Sako, Doumbia; Doyle, Ebanks-Blake. Substitutes not used De Vries (gk), Elokobi, Batth, Davis.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Scorers. Cardiff: Whittingham 11 pen, 14, 65. Wolves: Sako 10