The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

JOE MA­SON may be gone, but two goals from Peter Whit­ting­ham and one from new boy Lex Im­mers helped pa­per over the cracks for Cardiff as they beat Hud­der­s­field.

Blue­birds boss Rus­sell Slade ad­mit­ted be­fore the game that the club had been forced to sell star striker Ma­son to play-off ri­vals Wolves for fi­nan­cial rea­sons, hav­ing al­ready seen Ken­wyne Jones de­part ear­lier this month.

That left Slade with the strike part­ner­ship of a half-fit An­thony Pilk­ing­ton, PSV loa­nee Im­mers – on his full de­but – along with sub­sti­tute Fed­erico Macheda, who has not scored since March.

Thank­fully, Im­mers sup­ple­mented Whit­ting­ham’s dou­ble to see off the Ter­ri­ers, but Slade’s pri­or­i­ties are clear in the last two days of the trans­fer win­dow.

Slade said: “You can see why Lex has scored goals in Hol­land. He ar­rived in the box at the right time and tucked it way con­fi­dently.

“To be fair to Pilks, he was a real doubt. He had his fit­ness test at 10:30am and was prob­a­bly re­stricted in his run­ning by about 20 per cent.

“He gives you know-how but he prob­a­bly didn’t give us that men­ace and pen­e­tra­tion that he’d given in the pre­vi­ous two games.

“He did his hour and then Kiko came on and played with nice en­ergy and helped stretch the game out.

“But I’ll be dis­ap­pointed now if we don’t get what we’ve worked so hard to get. We’ll be right up to the wire on one or two, but I’m con­fi­dent we can bring two play­ers in.”

De­spite the score­line this was not a thrilling match, and it took un­til the 37th minute for any­thing of note to oc­cur, with Whit­ting­ham find­ing the net with a low shot af­ter a good pull-back from for­mer Hud­der­s­field man Pilk­ing­ton.

That seemed to wake up the pon­der­ous hosts and they were able to catch Fabio out of po­si­tion down the Cardiff right, with Nahki Wells plac­ing the ball into the bot­tom cor­ner from the edge of the box.

Wells went through again straight from the kick-off af­ter the break, but dal­lied long enough for Fabio to re­cover and block his shot.

Ter­ri­ers winger Harry Bunn was sim­i­larly waste­ful when given plenty of time by Kyle Dempsey’s cross, shoot­ing wide of the post.

Cardiff put an end to that good Hud­der­s­field spell on 61 min­utes, with Fabio and Sammy Ameobi link­ing up to good ef­fect down the right be­fore squar­ing for Lex Im­mers to tap home.

Hud­der­s­field were fu­ri­ous with ref­eree David Webb five min­utes later af­ter the ball clearly struck Matthew Con­nolly on the arm in a packed penalty box, an in­frac­tion the of­fi­cials ig­nored. Cardiff goal­keeper David Mar­shall de­nied Wells once again

15 min­utes from time, leap­ing to tip away the Ber­mu­dian’s bounc­ing scis­sor-kick. Whit­ting­ham gave Cardiff a two- goal cush­ion in the 79th minute with

a per­fectly flighted free-kick from right on the edge of the 18-yard box, ren­der­ing Bunn’s in­jury-time strike noth­ing more than con­so­la­tion. Hud­der­s­field man­ager David Wag­ner said: “It was a clear penalty. To be hon­est dur­ing the game I wasn’t sure but af­ter watch­ing the clips it’s very clear. “We al­ways try to stay in the game and scored a se­cond goal in over­time, but we did make too many mis­takes against a very strong Cardiff team.

“If you con­cede three goals at home it’s not easy to win, but nor­mally if you score two goals at home you have to get more than no points.

“We made too many er­rors in our de­fence and if we can be more clin­i­cal in our of­fence we should be able to score more than two goals.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

FIRST BLOOD: Peter Whit­ting­ham scores the open­ing goal for Cardiff City

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