Pilk­ing­ton makes up for own er­ror

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Gwilym

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.”

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