THE VER­DICT: CARDIFF 0 TOWN 0 Shock­ing ref de­ci­sion de­nies Town vi­tal vic­tory


Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - Gia Nts 56 Bradford Bulls 12 - By MEL BOOTH @ex­am­in­erHTAFC

ISAAC MBENZA: (Pritchard, 73) Didn’t get a chance to stretch his legs 6 LAU­RENT DEPOITRE: (Mounie, 87) No chance to in­flu­ence things 6

NOT USED: Ben Hamer, Tommy Smith, Ter­ence Kon­golo, Chris Lowe, Jon Gorenc Stankovic. REF­EREE Lee Ma­son pointed to the spot when Flo Hadergjonaj ap­peared to be tugged down in the box by Joe Ben­nett 14 min­utes from time.

But the Bolton of­fi­cial then changed his mind and awarded Cardiff a free-kick after con­sult­ing with as­sis­tant Stu­art Burt.

It was the only real talk­ing point in a low-qual­ity clash, but Town com­peted re­ally well and de­served to end their nine-match los­ing streak. They, and their fans in a crowd of 30,725, left the Cardiff City Sta­dium feel­ing hard done by – es­pe­cially after the heartache of the penalty de­ci­sion be­ing over­turned.

Wag­ner made two changes from the team which played the last league fix­ture against Burn­ley, bring­ing in loan sign­ing Ja­son Pun­cheon for his club league de­but and Erik Durm for Ter­ence Kon­golo and Isaac Mbenza.

Win­less in their pre­vi­ous 13 out­ings against Welsh op­po­si­tion, Town had Tommy Smith (ham­string) back on the bench ahead of sched­ule and went with a start­ing for­ma­tion of 4-2-3-1.

Neil Warnock made three changes to his Cardiff team beaten at Tot­ten­ham, bring­ing in Nathaniel Men­dez-Laing, Ju­nior Hoi­lett and Joe Ben­nett for Bobby Decor­dova-Reid, Joshua Mur­phy and Greg Cun­ning­ham.

For­mer Town play­ers Alex Smithies and Lee Peltier were on the bench for the Blue­birds, who were look­ing for a sev­enth straight home win over the Ter­ri­ers in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Cardiff made a fast start and Flo Hadergjonaj had to charge down a first-minute shot from Harry Arter, while Town re­sponded with an Alex Pritchard free-kick which prompted a scram­ble in the box be­fore be­ing cleared.

Then, on eight min­utes, Pun­cheon went close to giv­ing Town the lead with a rak­ing low 25-yard drive which had the beat­ing of keeper Neil Etheridge but skimmed inches wide of his left-hand post.

Christo­pher Schindler was then booked for bring­ing down Men­dez-Laing, this time Ma­son made sure the Town man had seen the yel­low card, and there was con­fu­sion from the en­su­ing free-kick, with a sus­pi­cion of hand ball by Durm, but the Town de­fence hacked the ball clear.

Town were for­tu­nate to es­cape in the 15th minute, fol­low­ing a Men­dez-Laing break and cross, with Hadergjonaj look­ing to catch Hoi­lett from be­hind as he went to turn the ball past Jonas Lossl, who gath­ered at the sec­ond at­tempt.

With Cardiff press­ing, Town weren’t mov­ing the ball quickly enough to put for­mer loan player Sean Mor­ri­son and his fel­low gi­ant de­fend­ers un­der pres­sure.

Town were giv­ing the ball away need­lessly, too, but Pun­cheon – who was play­ing well, show­ing a neat touch – set up a su­perb chance for Elias Kachunga, only for Joe Ben­nett to make a smart block.

A scuffed vol­ley from Steve Mounie caused prob­lems for Etheridge on the half hour, but he tipped over, and at the other end, Town de­fended stoutly at an Aron Gun­nars­son long throw.

Arter was booked for a late chal­lenge on Mounie as Town stepped things up a gear, and Men­dez-Laing had to re­act

Philip Billing looked de­jected at the fi­nal whis­tlePHOTO BY STU FORSTER/GETTY IMAGES

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