BLUE­BIRDS ON HIGH THANKS TO NOONE!

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Sam Gas­coyne

TWO won­der strikes from Cardiff’s Craig Noone helped slam the brakes on Wolves’ play-off charge in a con­vinc­ing 3-1 win which proved to be a much needed re­sult for Blue­bird’s boss Rus­sell Slade.

Slade’s side were handed a shock trans­fer em­bargo on Fri­day evening so the goals from Noone and Joe Ralls were a morale-booster for the Cardiff faith­ful.

Slade ac­knowl­edged: “We needed a re­sponse and that’s ex­actly what we got, it was a re­ally pos­i­tive re­ac­tion.

“We were the best team in both boxes and that’s what has won us the match. It’s been a re­ally good team ef­fort to­day to get us over the line, a re­ally wel­come re­sult.

“We’ll go away and build on this. We’re right in the play-off mix with two home games com­ing up, which is a real credit to he play­ers and staff who have worked tire­lessly to get it right.”

De­spite a quiet open­ing ten min­utes Wolves came the clos­est to break­ing the dead­lock af­ter Jor­dan Gra­ham found him­self in space on the left wing, his cross was met by the head of Conor Coady, al­though he could only guide it over the bar.

The vis­i­tors very nearly opened the scor­ing with 18 min­utes on the clock af­ter Stu­art O’Keefe’s long dis­tance curl­ing ef­fort smashed against the un­der­side of the cross­bar.

Wolves had a strong shout for a penalty turned down mid­way through the half af­ter Joe Ma­son shoved Kevin McDon­ald to the ground in­side the penalty area, ref­eree Dean White­stone sur­pris­ingly giv­ing noth­ing to the dis­may of the Mo­lineux crowd.

Strug­gling in mid­field, the home side suc­cumbed to the in­creas­ing Cardiff pres­sure on 28 min­utes af­ter Noone’s un­stop­pable 25-yard strike flew into the back of the net to put Cardiff ahead.

De­spite or­gan­is­ing them­selves and re­gain­ing a foothold in the game, Wolves were un­done once again by an­other fan­tas­tic strike from Noone on 36 min­utes, the Cardiff mid­fielder cut­ting in­side from the right wing be­fore curl­ing the ball into the top right cor­ner.

Four min­utes later new sign­ing Michal Zyro pulled one back for Wolves af­ter Cardiff keeper David Mar­shall par­ried Ra­jiv van La Parra’s ef­fort into the path of Zyro who made no mis­take with the eas­i­est of tap-ins to re­duce the deficit as half time ap­proached.

City added a third goal three min­utes into the se­cond half af­ter a quick counter-at­tack saw Noone un­selfishly let Ralls loose on the edge of the area to ham­mer a low driv­ing ball past Ikeme.

As the half pro­gressed Cardiff con­tin­ued to trou­ble Wolves, who found them­selves be­ing pushed deep into their own half.

They were given a scare on 59 min­utes when Pilk­ing­ton added to Cardiff’s col­lec­tion of long-range ef­forts by hit­ting a thun­der­ing 35yard shot nar­rowly over the bar.

The vis­i­tors piled men be­hind the ball and shut out Wolves, Matt Do­herty’s lack­lus­tre header late into the game the only real at­tempt trou­bling Mar­shall.

Man­ager Kenny Jack­ett was not im­pressed with what he saw.

“We’ve de­fended a lot bet­ter in the past and I’m dis­ap­pointed with the goals we con­ceded, we weren’t compact enough as a side,” he said.

“We didn’t rec­og­nize or work hard enough on dou­bling up on Cardiff’s play­ers, we didn’t rec­og­nize their strengths or work hard enough to negate them.

“But I’ll ac­cept there was a good at­ti­tude and spirit about us and if we had we have got­ten on the end of the crosses things would’ve been dif­fer­ent.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

GET IN: Craig Noone scores the first goal for Cardiff

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