TOP OF THE LEAGUE ‘WE are top of the league,’ came the chants from the Canton End at full-time. Warnock was re­peat­edly asked to do the Ay­a­tol­lah and he duly obliged with a beam­ing grin, fac­ing the grand­stand and fist­pump­ing. It beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated the swell of good feel­ing around Cardiff City right now.

And though this vic­tory was hard-fought at times, it was also aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing too. That sums it up re­ally, Cardiff have got to the top of the Cham­pi­onship through grit and good foot­ball - it sim­ply can’t be achieved with­out the two to­gether.

The Blue­birds now head into the in­ter­na­tional break sit­ting pretty. They know there are 41 games to go, they know they’ll face hard­ships over the com­ing sea­son, but they can per­haps suf­fer a blip in form fol­low­ing this blis­ter­ing start.

Warnock knows the im­por­tance of such a start. That’s why his smile is as wide as the Taff right now. With Ip­swich’s 2-0 de­feat to Ful­ham leav­ing Cardiff three points clear at the top, you can’t re­ally blame him. HOI­LETT EN­JOYS RULE OF EX JU­NIOR Hoi­lett ar­guably played his best foot­ball at Lof­tus Road be­tween 2012 and 2016. Af­ter burst­ing onto the scene with Black­burn Rovers he be­came a proven Pre­mier League per­former, yet the lat­ter part of his QPR ca­reer saw the winger lose form.

Thank­fully he’s since been re­vived by Neil Warnock at Cardiff City, with the boss ad­mit­ting we’re watch­ing a vin­tage Hoi­lett right now.

The Cana­dian was sublime against Villa, solid against Sh­effield United and scin­til­lat­ing at Wolves.

And against his old side the Rs, he was even bet­ter.

Did the boo­ing from QPR’s away sup­port spur on Hoi­lett even fur­ther? It looked as much, espe­cially af­ter Hoi­lett’s charge down flew into the net to level the scores on 22 min­utes. His ‘shush’ ges­ture to the vis­it­ing fans cer­tainly raised a smile among the Cardiff faith­ful, and you couldn’t deny he de­served the mo­ment, even though a sec­ond Hoi­lett goal was strangely chalked off by ref­eree Si­mon Hooper just af­ter the break.

Mean­while, it was a tough day for for­mer Blue­bird Steven Caulker, ran ragged by the Cardiff for­wards but given a warm ova­tion by the home crowd. FIT­TER, STRONGER, FASTER GREG Hal­ford gave a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into Cardiff’s gru­elling pre-sea­son sched­ule af­ter scor­ing the win­ner in the 2-1 Carabao Cup tri­umph against Portsmouth ear­lier this month.

And while the ver­sa­tile for­mer Rother­ham man didn’t fea­ture against the Rs, it’s clear to see the work he has spo­ken about is pay­ing off

Cardiff’s front three of Hoi­lett, Mendez-Laing and Zo­hore wreaked havoc with their run­ning, most no­tably for the sec­ond goal of the game as the for­mer charged down Alex Smithies’ clear­ance.

Ru­mour has it that when the Du­ra­cell bunny grows up he wants to be Loic Damour. The French­man put in an­other tremen­dous shift as did the likes of Aron Gun­nars­son and Joe Ralls in the cen­tre of the park.It’s safe to say the Blue­birds are reap­ing the re­wards of their summer work. DO CARDIFF DE­SERVE BIG­GER CROWDS? CARDIFF’S 3-0 vic­tory over As­ton Villa felt like an enor­mous game, with 23,899 packed in­side Cardiff City Sta­dium, helped by a strong trav­el­ling con­tin­gent from the West Mid­lands of course.

Yet that fig­ure dropped to 18,520 against QPR de­spite the Blue­birds hav­ing won four from four in the Cham­pi­onship so far this sea­son. The at­ten­dance wasn’t helped by a mea­gre away fol­low­ing for Ian Hol­loway’s team, but Cardiff’s cur­rent per­for­mances prob­a­bly de­serve to be watched by more.

For­mer player Nathan Blake has re­it­er­ated his de­sire to see crowds of 24,000 at ev­ery game with Warnock’s side play­ing in this fash­ion. If it con­tin­ues they will surely. keep flood­ing back to CCS The 18,000 home fans who at­tended this one were treated to a breakneck start and a crack­ing game through­out. It’s en­ter­tain­ment like that which will hope­fully see the num­bers in­crease. GOAL­KEEP­ING BLUN­DERS THE de­bate as to who would be Cardiff first choice goal­keeper this sea­son was some­what taken out of Warnock’s hands fol­low­ing Lee Camp’s in­jury.

And up to now, Neil Etheridge has looked a re­li­able op­tion be­tween the sticks, mak­ing some su­perb saves to deny Wolves last week.

But even the for­mer Wal­sall man’s big­gest ad­vo­cate would have to ad­mit he was at fault 15 min­utes into this one. Luke Free­man’s teas­ing cross was a good one, but it should have been claimed. Etheridge and Sol Bamba got their bear­ings wrong and the colos­sal Matt Smith nod­ded into an empty goal.

Yet Etheridge wasn’t the only glove­man blush­ing in South Wales on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Op­po­site number Alex Smithies was equally em­bar­rassed when he fired Ne­dum On­uoha’s under-hit back­pass into Ju­nior Hoi­lett whose charge down flew in. It made for a shaky af­ter­noon for both ‘keep­ers.

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