Lam­bert strug­glers are on the right Trac

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By Gra­ham Thomas AND By ADRIAN STILES

DON’T put your shirt on Cardiff City stay­ing in the Premier League – un­less be­longs to Sol Bamba.

it

If he could pull this one out of the bag

dodge a yel­low card, then any­thing is pos­si­ble.

The Blue­birds de­fender whipped off his top sec­onds af­ter he had un­zipped Brighton – but man­aged to avoid a book­ing when he told a porkie so big that it would keep Mel­ton Mowbray pie-fillers in work for years.

Bamba re­vealed ref­eree Martin Atkin­son had asked him if he had re­moved his shirt and he de­nied it – a strange miss by the official given how ref­er­ees are nor­mally so quick to bran­dish yel­low cards, even if the mo­tive is a re­spect­ful mes­sage to a de­ceased owner.

Yet a week af­ter Leicester’s De­marai Gray was booked at the same ground – for re­veal­ing a tribute on his shirt to Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha – Bamba es­caped, a re­prieve as sur­pris­ing as the re­sult.

The vic­tory ap­peared highly un­likely un­til the Ivory Coast de­fender smashed the ball into the roof of the net as the clock ticked into added time.

Bamba has of­ten said his man­ager Neil Warnock is like an old-school fa­ther fig­ure, so it was fit­ting the Cardiff boss ad­mit­ted Bamba’s mis­take when Brighton took the lead made him an an­gry dad.

“In the old days, I’d have taken the cane out!” said Warnock. “But you’re not al­lowed to do that now.

“We worked on it every day this week – de­fend­ing from free-kicks – and then how long did it take? Six min­utes.

“But I’m so pleased for him. He’s come here on a free trans­fer and from day one, he and Ju­nior Hoi­lett have been su­per for me.

“I’m de­lighted for him, it’s no more than he de­serves. He’s so whole­hearted.”

Bamba’s win­ner meant Cardiff claimed only their sec­ond vic­tory of the sea­son – and it was the first time they had come from be­hind since win­ning at Brent­ford back in March.

Brighton’s opener for Lewis Dunk was soft but they con­ceded an equaliser to Cal­lum Pater­son and then lost Dale Stephens to a reck­less red card 11 min­utes be­fore half-time.

Cardiff’s laboured ap­proach play – with the ex­cep­tion of Kadeem Har­ris – looked as if it would mean a third suc­ces­sive draw in matches against op­po­nents re­duced to 10 men.

But then Bamba waved a big flip­per of a right foot af­ter the ball had pin­balled around the box.

Warnock said: “Har­ris has been our best player in train­ing for the last six weeks.

“I didn’t think I’d ever play him if I’m hon­est at the start of the sea­son but I’ve changed my mind

“He has just been an ab­so­lute breath of fresh air for us.”

The air was a bit staler for Brighton boss Chris Hughton, whose team gave up points from a win­ning po­si­tion for the first time this sea­son.

He had few gripes over Stephens’ send­ing-off – some you win, some you lose – but was an­gry that Bamba’s goal was not ruled out for off­side.

“I un­der­stand they’ve got de­ci­sions to make but what you want them to do is make the big de­ci­sions cor­rectly,” said Hughton.

“I un­der­stand the send­ing-off, some would give it, some wouldn’t. But on the win­ning goal he is off­side and for me that’s not a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion.

“We have a lines­man in a very good po­si­tion when the ball comes back in so I am more an­gry with the sec­ond de­ci­sion than the first one.”

Cardiff have moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone be­fore this sea­son, only to fall right back into it. But Warnock’s side have now taken six points from four games and the blue tide may be turn­ing. PAUL LAM­BERT be­lieves Ip­swich are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, de­spite let­ting the lead slip at Read­ing.

The Scot was taking charge of the Trac­tor Boys for only the sec­ond time and was six min­utes away from his first win.

And de­spite his side re­main­ing bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble, Lam­bert felt the first-half per­for­mance showed prom­ise.

“It was frus­trat­ing be­cause the first half was as good as I’ve seen. We were fan­tas­tic and we should have been three or four goals up,” he said.

“It never ma­te­ri­alised but I’m proud of the way they have per­formed, they’ve given me ev­ery­thing in the time I’ve been here.

“We were com­fort­able and then we lose a poor goal. We were sloppy.”

The game got off to a pul­sat­ing start with three goals in the first 10 min­utes. Ip­swich went ahead af­ter five min­utes when Gwion Ed­wards blasted home from the edge of the area.

Read­ing hit back two min­utes later when Yakou Meite volleyed home a Sam Bal­dock cross from close range. But the vis­i­tors restored their lead in the 10th minute when Fred­die Sears was quick to re­act to a mix-up in the Read­ing de­fence.

The home side of­fered lit­tle in the first half but Mo Bar­row forced Bar­tosz Bialkowski into a stun­ning point-blank save in the 53rd minute.

And the Roy­als lev­elled six min­utes from time when Meite headed in a Le­an­dro Ba­cuna cross.

Read­ing boss Paul Cle­ment said: “I think the point was fair. The first half we were re­ally bad.

“Ip­swich were fight­ing, run­ning, their spirit was great and we were like rab­bits in head­lights.

“In the sec­ond half the play­ers re­acted well to what I said and played with the right spirit.”

■HEART AND SOL: Bamba is ec­static af­ter hit­ting win­ner Read­ers Of­fer - just £17.00!

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