Wolves 1 Cardiff City 2: Bluebirds remove millstone

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The Independent Online

The irony was not lost on Dave Jones. Cardiff City had not won for 13 games and they had to go to Molineux without their travelling fans. And then, thanks to Jason Byrne's first goal for the club, two minutes from time, the Bluebirds won and removed a millstone from round their necks.

"There were none of our fans and it was a dead atmosphere," said Jones, the Cardiff manager, who enjoyed this return to his former club. He took Wolves up to the Premiership and was still in charge when they were relegated but did not survive long thereafter and the bitterness he felt at the time has perhaps only just begun to dissipate.

His current chairman Peter Ridsdale was alongside him in the dugout, which was another twist to a faintly surreal day. Jez Moxey, the Wolves chief executive, was behind the decision to ban the away fans, and Jones said: "We rejected all Wolves' hospitality. But I told Peter if he said a word he was out."

If it was an uncomfortable but ultimately satisfactory day out for Ridsdale, Moxey must have been squirming in his better-upholstered seat. He was on the receiving end of abuse from his own fans throughout the game. Having handled Graeme Souness' bid for the club badly before rejecting it last week, he has also decided to turn the main end of Molineux over to West Bromwich Albion's visiting fans next week, for their FA Cup fourth-round tie. Moreover, the displaced Wolves support will have to pay more money for their different seat.

One of the chants encouraged everyone to stand up to show their displeasure with Moxey. Jones, evidently in cheeky mood, said there had been lots of standing up in the visiting dugout.

Having seen Byrne's late winner, a first goal for the man who has just signed from Shelbourne for £100,000, Mick McCarthy was a deeply disappointed manager. His comment that Byrne's goal "should have been a consolation for Cardiff", summed up the fact that Wolves had dominated most of the first half and all of the second half.

Twice the home side hit the post, as well as having a Craig Davies goal disallowed in the ninth minute for a challenge on the goalkeeper. McCartney's mood darkened further when they fell behind to Chopra's 27th-minute effort, a well-taken lob over Matt Murray - it was the striker's first goal in seven games.

Wolves drew level half an hour later, however, after prolonged pressure. Michael Kightly ran into the area and found Davies, whose cross was tapped in by Seyi Olofinjana.

Davies then hit the post as Cardiff were forced to soak up pressure before they hit Wolves on the break. Chopra appeared to have missed his chance when up against Murray but, from the rebound, he found Byrne, who made no mistake from six yards.

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