Pilkington makes up for own error
ANTHONY Pilkington went from hero to zero and back again as Cardiff missed the chance to edge closer to the Championship play-off places.
The Republic of Ireland international found the net three times at Cardiff City Stadium but only two of them were at the right end as Rotherham moved a point closer to safety.
Pilkington had expertly put Cardiff ahead in the 25th minute, but Joe Newell levelled for the Millers before the Bluebirds winger put through his own net early in the second half.
Pilkington made amends by calmly equalising but Cardiff could not find a winner as their hopes of a top-six finish were dented.
Manager Russell Slade admitted: “There are not going to be too many opportunities between now and the end of the season in games like that when you have created the greater chances. The opposition have not been a fantastic threat and you simple cannot waste situations like that, that’s a problem.
“I thought it was another excellent performance by Anthony Pilkington and he grabbed another couple of goals. He is finding pockets of space and was quite inventive.
“I thought he was unfortunate with the own goal. There wasn’t much he could do.”
It had looked like being so much better when Pilkington, playing just off striker Joe Mason rather than in his usual wing role, opened the scoring five minutes before the halfhour mark.
Mason flicked on Peter Whitting- ham’s cross and Pilkington controlled brilliantly before sliding the ball under Lee Camp.
Having taken the lead Cardiff took their foot off the gas and were punished on the stroke of half-time.
Danny Ward’s clever reverse pass picked out the forward run of Newell, who calmly beat the onrushing David Marshall to send the visitors in level at the break.
It only took four minutes of the second half for the Millers to grab the lead, although it was in rather fortuitous circumstances.
With centre-half Matt Connolly off the field receiving treatment, Cardiff failed to attack Newell’s corner at the near post and Pilking- ton could only slice his clearance over Marshall and into the net.
Chris Burke, making his Rotherham debut, could have made the game safe had he been able to beat Marshall and Cardiff made the most of the let off.
Pilkington latched on to Stuart O’Keefe’s pass to lift the ball over Camp but the hosts could not find a winner, with Lee Peltier heading wide from close range before being given a second booking for a needless foul on Jonson Clarke-Harris.
“For us to come here and be disappointed with just a point shows how far we have come,” said Millers boss Neil Redfearn.
“It was a good football game, although it took a while to come to life. We started slow and they got their goal which was disappointing.
“But we grew into it, we equalised just before the break and had a spell for 20 minutes where we were on top.
“We spoke about needing to start the second half fast and we came out and got the goal and looked like we might win it.
“But you cannot give quality players time in the box and they took their chance.
“We need to start stringing results together now because performances are definitely improving.”