BLUE­BIRDS WAKE UP TO STING BEES

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jake Ba­con

CARDIFF boss Neil Warnock says he finds it hard to get him­self pumped up for games when there is noth­ing rid­ing on them.

But he would have felt the ex­cite­ment rush­ing back af­ter Cardiff’s sec­ond-half turn­around which saw them knock off Brent­ford.

Goals from Peter Whit­ting­ham and Sean Mor­ri­son can­celled out Sergi Canos’s opener to se­cure backto-back home wins for the Blue­birds in this mid-ta­ble clash.

Cardiff were way off the pace in the first half and were de­servedly a goal down at the break. But Warnock’s hairdryer treat­ment paid div­i­dends.

“I must ad­mit the first half might have epit­o­mised my­self. It’s very dif­fi­cult to get my­self up for a game when I know we are safe,” he said.

“I need an edge on my games as well. I told my as­sis­tant Kevin Black­well to give me a kick up the back­side if he thinks I’m slack­ing be­cause it’s easy to be­come com­pla­cent.

“Brent­ford had more pos­ses­sion but we cre­ated the bet­ter chances. It’s dis­ap­point­ing when you go a goal down but I was pleased with the turn­around.

“Fair play to the lads for tak­ing on board what was said and mak­ing a game of it in the sec­ond half.

“It’s quite easy at this time of the year to go through the mo­tions, but I want fans to go home and talk about the goals and saves.”

Brent­ford took the lead in the 42nd minute when Kon­stantin Ker­schbaumer’s clever back-heel found Canos, whose low drive beat Cardiff goal­keeper Al­lan McGre­gor.

The Spa­niard has re­ally shone since re­join­ing Brent­ford in Jan­uary for a club-record fee, be­lieved to be in the re­gion of £2.5m, af­ter a short­lived and frus­trat­ing spell at Norwich. It was the 20-year-old’s fourth goal in as many games.

And the open­ing goal had been com­ing with the Bees’ stylish foot­ball. Jota’s shot was de­flected inches wide and McGre­gor some­how man­aged to keep out Yoann Bar­bet’s bul­let header.

All of Brent­ford’s dom­i­nance in the lat­ter stages of the first half was un­done shortly af­ter the break when Mor­ri­son drew Cardiff level. The Blue­birds skip­per rose high­est to head home Whit­ting­ham’s cor­ner in the 47th minute.

In a sec­ond half where chances were lim­ited, Whit­ting­ham hit the win­ner in the 76th minute af­ter con­nect­ing well with Ken­neth Zo­hore’s knock-down.

Cardiff had Jazz Richards to thank when his slid­ing tackle stopped Alan McCor­mack from bear­ing down on goal late on.

And Warnock’s men suf­fered an in­jury-time scare when Lasse Vibe’s de­flected shot looked goal­bound but ended up in the side-net­ting.

This re­sult ended Brent­ford’s hopes of win­ning four suc­ces­sive Cham­pi­onship games for the first time since Oc­to­ber 2015.

Man­ager Dean Smith said: “I’m very frus­trated be­cause it’s a game that we were in to­tal con­trol of and could’ve scored a bit more in the first half. We scored a great goal and I ex­pected us to go on and win two or three nil.

“The game had a pre-sea­son feel to it, it was flat and there was no zip. Our build-up play was re­ally good but they de­fended deep and made it hard for us.

“Sergi Canos re­minded me that I put him on the bench when we played here last year. He’s a good tal­ent, but we’ve got a lot of play­ers scor­ing goals.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ An­drew Lewis

HOIL AND TROU­BLE: Ju­nior Hoi­lett avoids Rico Henry’s slid­ing tackle and, inset, Sean Mor­ri­son cel­e­brates scor­ing Cardiff’s equaliser

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